FRANKFURT--Continental AG is working on an accelerator pedal that helps drivers reduce fuel consumption and cut carbon dioxide emissions without requiring a distracting light or an annoying sound.
The German supplier's Accelerator Force Feedback Pedal already helps reduce rear-end collisions by applying back force to the accelerator or vibrating the pedal to encourage the driver to slow down if there is danger of an accident.
Now Continental is testing whether the so-called active pedal can do better than lights on the instrument panel or a noise to help people drive more economically.
"The first studies show that using it as a gear-shift indicator led to a reduction in CO2 and fuel use of 5 to 10 percent," said Peter Laier, executive vice president of Continental's chassis components business unit.
"Therefore, we see 5 percent as realistic."
Laier predicts the fuel-saving pedal will be launched on a car in 2012 or 2013.
Continental is not alone in this field.
Last month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Nissan's Infiniti luxury brand showed a version of the M sedan with its so-called Eco pedal from Japanese supplier Mikuni Corp.
The pedal will be wired into the M's fuel management software and will provide slight resistance to foot pressure when the car is being driven too aggressively for maximum fuel economy.
"The driver can easily disregard the resistance or turn it off altogether," says John Weiner, Infiniti product planning director.
"But if you heed the signal and do as prompted, it can improve fuel economy."
(Source: Automotive News)