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Nissan Introduces Eco-Pedal Intelligent Accelerator Pedal System

4 August 2008

Ecopedal
The Eco Pedal system. Click to enlarge.

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., unveiled the ECO Pedal system, a technology designed to assist drivers to become more fuel-efficient. When the eco-pedal system is on, each time the driver steps on the accelerator, a counter push-back control mechanism is activated if the system detects excess pressure, helping to inform the driver that they could be using more fuel than required.

Nissan plans to commercialize the ECO Pedal during 2009. Internal research conducted by Nissan has shown that by using the ECO Pedal drive system, drivers can improve fuel efficiency by 5-10%, depending on driving conditions.

Ecopedalmeter
The Eco Pedal driving meter. Click to enlarge.

An eco-driving indicator integrated into the instrument panel feeds the driver with real-time fuel consumption levels to help improve his/her driving behavior. The ECO Pedal system can be turned on or off according to the driver’s preference.

The ECO Pedal system is fed data on the rate of fuel consumption and transmission efficiency during acceleration and cruising, and then calculates the optimum acceleration rate. When the driver exerts excess pressure on the accelerator, the system counteracts with the pedal push-back control mechanism.

At the same time, the eco-driving indicator incorporated on the instrument panel indicates the optimal level for fuel-efficient driving. Driving within the optimal fuel consumption range, the indicator is green. It begins to flash when it detects increased acceleration before reaching the fuel consumption threshold and finally turns amber to advise the driver of their driving behavior.

Nissan is taking a “triple-layer” approach to CO2 emissions reduction that encompasses vehicle technologies, driving behavior and traffic conditions. The ECO Pedal supports the second-layer addressing driving behavior and is among a range of eco-friendly technologies being pursued under the Nissan Green Program 2010.

August 4, 2008 in Fuel Efficiency | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

So, now your car will be able to tell you that it is tired of being pushed around?

I want this. When can they make the navigation system tug on the steering wheel?

This reminds me of the 1970's gas-saving trick of putting a double spring on the accelerator pedal. The downside is that it conditions drivers into not using their vehicle's full power when they should (merging into highways, overtaking).
It would be good if Nissan could combine this feature with adaptive cruise control an automatically disable it whenever the car is travelling significantly slower than the flow of traffic. No fuel gets saved if a number of cars have to hit the brakes to avoid crashing into you.

In essence, this is an "anti lead foot system" correct?

Perhaps they could combine it with a rumble system to replace the visual gear shift indicator. For Europe that is.

I think a visual gear shift indicator has a limited benefit. It is safer to keep your eyes on the road.

Wouldn't this approach be more useful (though more complex) than the Nissan's ECO Pedal system above:

Have say 3 pre-programmed selectable modes of engine acceleration (or levels of aggressivity) - Economy (slowest and most economical acceleration), Normal (with some average accel parameters), and Sport (with fastest acceleration - Engine experts would need to clearly define it, possibly split it into Sport and Emergency or Max, that provides all fuel engine can accept, but not more)

And have an indicator (like 'Eco-P' here na slici, or like gear indicator) to show currently selected mode of acceleration.
In case of emergency (or overtaking or ...), when max acceleration is needed, driver must be able to momentarily switch to fastest acceleration mode, to quickly get out of trouble.
Or perhaps if driver floors the pedal, it would switch immediately to Max acceleration mode.

The lever (or two) to change acceleration mode should be easily accessible, best if around steering wheel.

This way driver would only need to select the acceleration mode, and the way they use gas pedal wouldn't affect much fuel economy - ECU would care about economy.
Of course if drivers more often accelerate and slow down, it would increase consumption.

For some faster cars, switch between Economy and Sport accel. mode would be like driving a different car.

I think currently in cars that offer economy and sport modes, sport mode holds lower gear for longer, but engine acceleration is the same (I may be wrong).
For automatic transmissions, it would make sense to integrate the engine acceleration mode with the transmission mode of operation.

Basically the mode I proposed would be based on indirect accelerator control, where gas pedal movement is measured by a sensor, then that input passed to ECU that controls engine.
Some (or many new) cars use that method, Porsche calls it 'E-Gas", but I haven't seen that they offer selectable acceleration.


I think the lawsuits will be rather large on this one.

The first people hurt in a crash because the system temporarily glitched out will have a huge class action claim.

I know lots of people that get bad gas mileage, I ask them not to be agressive drivers but they insist they are not.. until you ride with them and see for yourself. An indicator dial that analises your patterns of accelerating/braking would be handy.. all the way from economy to wasting fuel would come in handy. I think a dial would be better than leds for educating people.

Low hanging fruit...

They could also have a navigation system with real time traffic that calculates the most fuel efficient route.

The typical system, as I understand it, is
pedal travel
= pedal force
= fuel usage / engine revolution
~ torque.
There is no feedback for the driver.

Could modify this to be
pedal travel = torque
with the feedback being
pedal force = fuel usage / engine revolution
hence a disproportionate increase in pedal force as you push your foot down indicates the engine is becoming less efficient.

Such a system seems simpler for the driver - intuitive, relevant feedback without looking for LEDs on the dash.

@ Greenplease

I like your idea, though it raises an interesting question - if everyone has a nav system with traffic, what would happen? Would gridlock simply spread or would mpg and traffic issues be solved to some extent?

Light changing from green to amber is a bad choice for garden-variety red/green color blindness, which is quite prevalent among males (~5% I believe). They should either go to something like red/blue or don't use color as an indicator.

Why not just downsize the engine instead?

How about being able to push the gas pedal at least 3/4 of the way down before the da** automatic transmission downshifts!
If you would like to accelerate just a bit, you usually want to get most of the torque your engine has WITHOUT a down-shift - you presently cannot.
Unless the throttle is at or near max, the mixture should stay lean (most usually do) and the tranny should stay in the highest practical gear (most, or all, downshift at what seems to be about 80% of the torque available in the existing gear).
Most of the "paddle" shifter setups do not seem much better.
With the lockup torque converters and 6+ speeds in the AT, I think being able to control downshifts is one of the remaining big advantages of a manual transmission.

What could help most is a plug-in-hybrid system, but any kind of hybrid can help because a smaller lower friction engine can be used. Electric valves are now practical for automobile internal combustion engines; such engines can have built in air-hybrid operation. Support members for the car can be tubular to store high pressure air in addition to regular tanks. It is also very practical at the present price of cars to consider a steam hybrid operation to use exhaust heat. In this electronic world there is now no reason not to have integrated starter alternators and deep cycle batteries in every car. ..HG..

@Elliot

I would imagine that certain roads would experience less load while others would experience more. As a whole, traffic flow would be better as resources (roads) would be more efficiently used.

A synergistic combination of the Eco-Pedal and the Lotus ‘Safe-&-Sound” Ghetto Blaster system would be a marriage made in heaven. Instead of the ECO-P light, the Lotus G-B would make a water flushing sound to suggest high fuel usage, or a sputtering sound like you ran out of fuel or yell out that the driver is a jerk.
The possibilities are endless,- but I won’t be.

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