Calling it technology that could help drivers boost their real-world fuel economy by five to 10 percent, Nissan Motor Company has unveiled its revolutionary ECO Pedal system. To be rolled out in production vehicles during the next year, ECO Pedal utilizes special "push-back" circuitry on the accelerator to alert drivers when they exceed the optimum rate for maximum economy. The ECO Pedal package uses the vehicle's Electronic Control Unit to establish that value by calculating data on the rate of fuel consumption and on transmission efficiency. Cross the threshold point, and the accelerator will provide counteracting "tactile notification" to lighten up a bit -- or face the prospect of wasting gas.
The ECO Pedal system supplements its basic operating mode with a status window on the speedometer fascia that provides a driver real-time efficiency input. Accelerating or cruising in an optimal consumption range will illuminate a green ECO display that begins to flash as you move into a transition zone and finally turns amber when the system senses sustained excess pedal pressure. And yes, unrepentant lead-footers can simply deactivate the system entirely at the touch of a button. Nissan did not confirm which of its vehicles would be the first to offer ECO Pedal, only that it will "commercialize" this new technology during 2009.
ECO Pedal is the latest part of the Nissan Green Program 2010, an environmental roadmap that automaker has set forth aimed at creating new technologies and products that can help decrease CO2 levels, lower general auto emissions and improve the overall recyclability of passenger vehicles.