Making people push harder on brakes to get the desired effect sometimes results in fewer brakes and more accidents, as it becomes a habit. Do the same, but purposefully, on the acceleration pedal and you suddenly have gas savings, as Nissan remarked recently, and released their own ECO Pedal.
The car maker even announced their intention of licensing the ECO Pedal to Mikuni Corporation, who produces car components. Being the world’s first pedal that assists drivers in saving fuel, the ECO Pedal has been already embedded into the Nissan Fuga, first launched in 2009.
The ECO Pedal is not a set-and-forget system, but rather works with the central computer and provides a counteracting pressure each time the driver exerts an excessive pressure on it, making it harder for him to push it to the floor. This mod, Nissan claims, brings a 5 to 10 percent fuel efficiency improvement.
They will probably want to implement the ECO Pedal in the electric versions, as well, because it’s an area of very high strategic importance and where the smallest energy saving can bring huge marketing benefits.
I remember my father had an old Ford Sierra whose braking servo has failed one day. Until he fixed it, though, he drove the car that way, but he had to push much harder on the brake until it did its job. After a while, he probably got tired of pushing and I saw him preferring not to use the brake pedal, but slow down or use engine braking. The stiffness of the pedal even pushed my father’s habits to the limit and he only touched the pedal when he was very close to the car in front of him, thus decreasing the braking time and effort (and increasing the passengers’ prayers). Now he’s got another car, with everything working on it, and got his good habits back.
Having that in mind I am tempted to think Nissan may just have a clue of what they’re doing. Not only will they use the ECO Pedal on their own cars, but they will also license the technology to third parties for financial benefits.