Car Tech Spotlight: Annoying 'Eco Pedal' in the 2013 Infiniti M Hybrid
The accelerator actually pushes back against your foot if you're trying to goose it too hard.
In a market surrounded by relatively high gas prices, nearly every car on sale has an "eco" feature of some sort. From simple dashboard indicators to sophisticated engine stop-start systems, automakers are employing a wide range of technologies designed to help drivers squeeze every mile out of each tank of gas.
But none is as annoying as Infiniti’s Eco Pedal, which takes an overly aggressive approach to saving fuel. Parent company Nissan noted that with the Eco Pedal feature engaged, “Each time the driver steps on the accelerator, a counter push-back control mechanism is activated if the system detects excess pressure.”
In other words, as I found out while testing a 2013 Infiniti M Hybrid with the feature, if you push the accelerator too hard and the Eco Pedal determines you’re driving in a fuel-inefficient manner, it pushes right back.
According to Nissan, the Eco Pedal feature can improve fuel efficiency by 5 to 10 percent, depending on driving conditions. The supporting system behind the Eco Pedal analyzes data on fuel consumption and transmission efficiency and calculates the ideal rate of acceleration. Pressure on the accelerator to the point of inefficiency causes the pedal push-back control mechanism to kick in and lift the accelerator -- and the driver’s right foot.
Fortunately, the Eco Pedal feature can be turned off, and it can also be adjusted with two settings: Standard and Soft. Equally fortunate is that, although the feature has been available for several years on Infiniti vehicles, it hasn’t been adopted by other automakers.
My thought on this: Stupid!
1. Talk about removing any form of fun from driving. By the second time this thing pushed back on me, I'd be driving it into a brick wall.
2. Am I the only one who fears what all this "technology" will be like for the second, third or fourth owners? I can just imagine it now. Service advisor: What seems to be the problem? Customer: Well, I don't know really. It just isn't going like it should. S.A.: What do you mean? Can you explain it better? Cust: I don't know how to explain it. I had an opening in traffic and decided to hit the gas, but the car just seemed to stall and that pedal kicked back and now my ankle hurts and it's the cars fault that I got into the accident as I tried to merge. I'm going to sue this dealer and Nissan!
Where was this "technology" during the unintended acceleration debacle?
Perhaps Toyota could license it from Nissan.
Reminds me of a customer who used to come in all of the time complaining of poor fuel economy.
The boss finally got tired of his whining about gas mileage, and installed a very heavy return spring on the customer's carburetor. Needless to say, his gas mileage improved immediately.
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