Better Accelerator Feedback For Better Fuel Efficiency

from the just-chill-out-now dept

As gas prices around the US continue to shoot up, there’s been at least some increased interest in more fuel efficient methods of transportation. Still, there are some who just can’t give up their gas guzzling SUVs, and DaimlerChrysler is working on a feedback mechanism in the accelerator to help drivers know when to ease off the gas pedal to better preserve fuel efficiency. The pedal will vibrate at the appropriate times as an indicator to the driver that they might want to let up. Tests showed such systems reduced fuel consumption by 11%. The system uses a variety of information sources to determine when you might need to slow down – and to make its recommendation to the driver at the right time. It uses a basic GPS system to note changes in road conditions or speed limits along with radar detection systems to judge the proximity of other vehicles. A computer takes all the incoming information and lets the driver know the “optimal” time to ease their foot off the pedal – though, they stress that it’s entirely voluntary. In tests, they found that the vibrating gas pedal saw drivers respond much faster than a visual indicator like a dashboard light – though, that could just be from the shock and confusion of having your gas pedal start vibrating (which, one hopes, would lessen over time as the driver became used to the system). The folks at DaimlerChrysler are worried that this system won’t sell, because the extra fuel efficiency won’t be included in the official stats – though, that sounds like it’s more of a marketing issue. They could easily advertise the technology in a separate notice, pointing out the “additional” fuel efficiency benefits.

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Comments on “Better Accelerator Feedback For Better Fuel Efficiency”

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Anonymous Coward says:

penny wise

An 11% savings in fuel consuption? That’s pathetic and statistally insignificant.

Do you drive an SUV? Please examine carefully your reasons why you ‘must’ have one, and watch any critical thinker boil down your statements to the one truth: arrogance.

You’re the leading edge in pollution, and you know it deep down when you allow yourself to think about it. It’s for the sake of your otherwise empty SUV that your president went to war, why the CIA continues to meddle in the affairs and lives of people in foreign lands, and you’re the primary cause of the increasingly unstable weather and potentially the destruction of the gulfstream.

What gives you the right?

I can’t wait for Peak Oil. The day when we have to decide between our damned cars and our very survival, why, that’ll be an interesting day indeed.

LittleW0lf says:

Re: penny wise

Do you drive an SUV? Please examine carefully your reasons why you ‘must’ have one, and watch any critical thinker boil down your statements to the one truth: arrogance.

Although I tend to agree here, a full size or mini-van isn’t much better on gas milage, and that is usually what these folks would have bought if they hadn’t bought the SUV. Most of the people I know who drive SUVs do so because they have several children, and feel their children are safer in a SUV than any other vehicle (though time and time again the industry has proven otherwise, such as the ease of flipping these high profile vehicles, which result in death.)

Personally, I cannot stand SUVs just like I cannot stand F150 drivers, both seem to think they own the road and are driving in a tank, and thus can menace other drivers on the road. Of course, I am perfectly happy with my 40+ mpg Ford Escort, but even I am getting uptight about gas prices as I put $20+ worth of gas into my 10 gallon car, though I do so less than the SUV owners do.

What kills me is I was driving to work one morning, which is about a 20 minute (10+ miles) drive, when a SUV (a Ford Expedition) pulled out in front of me from a gas station right down the street from my house (she actually cut me off and nearly collided with me, but that is another story.) As I followed her to my work (she apparently was going the same direction,) I read the bumper stickers she had plastered all over her car (which all had something to do with keeping the oceans blue and protecting the environment, and the like.) Right before I got to work, however, she pulled into another gas station!!! We went about 15 miles, and she apparently ran out of gas and had to stop for more. I’ve never heard of an SUV that got around 1.5 gallons to a mile…so obviously something else was going on here, but I got my laugh for the day. I wonder if the woman ever realized how much hypocrisy was in the protect the environment bumper stickers attached to a gas guzzling SUV…but more than likely the concept was lost to her.

Arrogance, yup, that explains everything. Her statement was “You protect the environment, so I don’t have to.”

jocknerd says:

Re: Re: penny wise

My wife drives a minivan. It gets 20mpg. Show me an SUV that comes within 5mpg of it. Outside of the Honda SUV, most guzzle gas like its going out of style. Now Chrysler is trying to get the consumer to save gas. How about building an efficient engine, Chrysler? Your Durango should be outlawed. Consumer Reports showed the thing getting less than 10 mpg. That is rediculous.

Alastair (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: penny wise

Well guys, wait until your “gas” costs $6/gallon, which is what it is over here in Europe. Then people will really start reacting. Anyway, we don’t miss out on the fun: I drive a diesel VW that does 54mpg and has more torque than the alternative 2.3l petrol engine. I’m always appalled at American cars whenever I go to the US.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: penny wise

I own a Cadillac and a Chevy Tahoe. Both have V8 engines. These vehicles are equipped with federally-mandated emissions controls. This means that these vehicles pollute about as much as anything else out there, save for the likes of a Toyota Prius and a Honda Insight.

For you diesel fans, you should know that _all_ the diesel engines are worse polluters than the catalyst-equipped gasoline engines. In Europe, they have the clean diesel cars, but they cannot be used in the United States due to the high sulphur content of the diesel fuel sold here. The lower sulphur diesel will replace the standard diesel in the U.S. in 2006 (if memory serves).

aNonMooseCowherd says:

Re: penny wise

It’s for the sake of your otherwise empty SUV that your president went to war, why the CIA continues to meddle in the affairs and lives of people in foreign lands

I guess those who chant this mantra figure that if they chant it often enough and loudly enough, people will believe it even in the absence of any evidence.

By the way, I don’t like SUVs any more than you do (and I don’t drive one), but throwing in red herrings does not advance your cause.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: penny wise

> Do you drive an SUV? Please examine carefully
> your reasons why you ‘must’ have one

Because last time I checked it was a free country and I can buy any product I feel like. Whether I MUST have one is MY choice, although people like you would like to restrict my choice of cars, if I can have a cigarette, consume liquor, eat veal (yum), have fatty foods, own a gun…the list seems to get longer every year on what you would like to restrict from your fellow Americans.

Ben says:

Re: penny wise

I so agree! How many massive SUV’s fly by with ONE person in it, break lights coming on every three seconds, tailgating, fast acceleration. Gobbling gas like it’s going out of style. Even some 4 bangers are no better. If I’m REALLY good with my WRX 2.0L AWD 5-speed it gets 24 around town (most of my driving). That’s not really great either. Even with 2$ per gallon prices people are still scarfing SUV’s up left and right. I do not get it. Here’s what should happen. NO tax breaks if you own a SUV. Tax breaks for vehicles that are rated for 25+ MPG or better. Excess fuel consumption tickets 15 MPH over the limit. Our country consumes 25% of the worlds Oil. 1/5 of that comes from the Middle east. Just think, if we tried, just a little, we would never need Middle East OIL!!!!

Fox News had a story that most Bush supporters drive mini-vans not SUV’s.

I will never own a SUV. My next car will be much more fuel efficient.

F.Baube says:

Smart Gas Pedal for Dumb Drivers

This idea seems absurd.
But then again, I guess the sad fact is that many many many drivers are totally clueless and are always pressing down on either the gas or the brake: there’s no middle ground (it’s called “coasting” and hey Clyde, it saves gas!)
Ternary logic for internal combusion engines: what a concept!

Dave Mackintosh (user link) says:

Efficiency vs Drivers

While the 11% improvement in efficiency is not that great, it exposes one of the great causes of inefficency — the monkey behind the wheel. We are all used to statistics which show that a 5-speed transmission is, all other things being equal, more efficient than an automatic by a few percent. However, the vast majority of drivers don’t know how to drive their 5-speeds in maximum efficiency mode, and so their cars end up less efficient than their automatic counterparts.

Anything which improves a driver’s ability to improve the efficiency of their transportation is to be applauded.

Ben says:


I think instead of cheap gimmicks like vibrating pedals and GPS systems, why not use the computer to limit the acceleration and speed of the vehicle??? I bet you it’s simply a software change. We don’t need to go 140 and we don’t need to get to 60 in 5.4 seconds. I own a WRX and stick to a 2500 RPM rule. I get 4 miles more to the gallon just by driving better. I love the AWD but it does hurt the gas mileage. Just some thoughts. Carbon fiber replacing metal will make all vehicles lighter. When coasting (foot off the gas pedal), it’s not necessary to put fuel into the cylinder. When you downshift the RPM’s go up the engine screams and gas is wasted. Use the engine like a jake brake saving some fuel and the brakes. For the most part a vehicle is most efficient from 35 to 55 MPH due to gearing. Bump the 30 limit to 35 or 40 or change the gearing. Most speed limits are very unrealistic anyway. Am I out to lunch??

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