Nissan gas pedal pushes back to boost milege by up to 10%

Posted by: Adam Aston on August 6, 2008

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In a move that has already sent some gearheads into a foaming rage, Nissan has unveiled a bit of smart engineering that will help encourage smarter, more fuel efficient driving. The trick is a pedal that pushes back a bit whenever a driver accelerates very aggressively. Such “jackrabbit starts” push the engine into a zone where it’s least fuel efficient. So-called hyper-milers even chase such smooth acceleration as a sport — verging on obsession — the goal, to accelerate silky-smoothly to maximize efficiency. Nissan aims to make such behavior second nature with a bit of technology that senses hard, sharp starts and makes it proportionally harder to press down the pedal. This won’t effect top speed: one can still accelerate smoothly to the same top speed. And the system can be turned off. All the same, car bloggers such as at Jalopnik, are banging their fist that this technology is practically a threat to the American way. Such protestations are predictable: they echo the plaintive cries issued when cruise control (another gas saving technology) and unleaded gas debuted. But they’re overblown too: drivers genuinely need to peel out onto entrance ramps far less than some believe. There’s a similar mismatch between the growth of engine power (horsepower) and mileage: automakers have developed and marketed ever-more muscular engines, but most drivers rarely use the power. The real pity is this same innovation could have been be used to boost mileage. But till recently mileage hasn’t been valued as highly. That’s changing.

Read more here:

Motor trend explains.

and here,

Jalopnik dissents.

Reader Comments

Frank

August 22, 2008 11:46 AM

Models and Prices of the Top 10 Green Cars of 2008 is a related note I thought I'd shared here form buyingadvice.com
The Los Angeles Times has published the ranking of the top 10 green cars as listed by the Kelly Blue Book.

To decide the top environmentally friendly rides the vehicles were judged on factors such as comfort, utility, technology and performance as well as the obvious fuel economy and price.

The 2008 Mini Cooper was 5th on the list. This is fuel efficient vehicle offer one of the most distinctive designs on the road making it a smart choice for people looking to reduce fuel costs and drive a fun, stylish car. Suggested retail price: $18,050.

The 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid, which was 4th, uses hybrid technology licensed from Toyota to combine impressive fuel economy with a sporty character, making it one of the most fun-to-drive midsize sedans. Suggested retail price: $25,480.

In the 3rd place we find the 2008 Smart fortwo, a hybrid that in terms of its fuel economy the smart fortwo is without equal. Cool, cute, and economical, the fortwo is the future of transportation. Another plus: It can fit nearly anywhere, thanks to its tight cornering and small size. Suggested retail price: $11,590

Second place belongs to the 2008 Honda Civic hybrid. This car will burn around 30 percent less gasoline than his or her voltage-deficient counterpart. Its power train uses gasoline-electric technology and its battery recharges itself. Suggested retail price: $22,600.

The 2008 Toyota Prius, which occupies the first spot, combines exceptional average fuel economy of 46 mpg, seating for five and optional goodies like a rearview camera and navigation. Its innovative, environmental technologies make the Prius the most efficient and practical alternative to conventionally powered vehicles. Suggested retail price: $21,500.

Here are the other five cars that round-up this top-ten list:

6. 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid
7. 2008 Honda Fit
8. 2008 Mercedes-Benz E320 BlueTec
9. 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
10. 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

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BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.

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