And when we say 'gas' pedal, we mean it...
There's been plenty of talk surrounding EVs at the upper echelons of the automotive industry, and most of the high-end automakers are working hard to make these soulless speedsters of the future feel fun to drive. For example, Porsche's electric replacement for the 718 will feel like it's mid-engined. Fortunately, not everybody is solely focused on an electric future; some are trying to save combustion. Others are working to make the most of what little time we may have left with gas-powered cars, including Bentley. CarBuzz has just uncovered patent documentation for a new innovation that seeks to improve the driving experience for all, regardless of what sort of driver you may be.
In documentation filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Bentley envisions an adjustable throttle pedal assembly. The idea is that, with varying degrees of resistance in a throttle pedal, one can more precisely control how the car behaves. In addition, you can select your ideal setting and assign it to a driver profile. How does all this work?
Well, the first benefit is that you could set the pedal to give increased force so that it acts as a virtual footrest. This is particularly useful when you have the cruise control set. There's a dead pedal for your left foot, but nowhere to rest your right foot but on the pedal. With the cruise control active, this pedal could now be less sensitive while still acting as a throttle pedal when you push harder.
The patent also suggests that a variable feedback system for the pedal would be useful in providing a virtual kick-down switch, thereby simplifying the pedal assembly.
A third benefit would be to use this increased force on the pedal as an "ICE force-indent, providing an increased force at the point which the vehicle will need to start the internal combustion engine." This would make it possible to cruise on electric power without accidentally starting the engine. In European cities where combustion engines will soon be outlawed, this is ideal. The system would be a perfect candidate for the upcoming Continental GT Hybrid, but we can see it being used on a regular Continental GT too.
Bentley says the customizable pedal feel could be assigned to a driver profile. This implies that you could decide how much resistance you want from the pedal depending on the scenario. For example, when cruising, you may wish for a light pedal. When on the track, you may want more resistance from the throttle so that you can more accurately mete out power. Whatever incarnation this system eventually arrives in, we think this idea is more than worthy of production in the current space. What's more, this system could be fitted to the delayed Bentley EVs that will inevitably come, thus enhancing the feel and experience of an otherwise boring car (relative to an ICE Bentley). Whatever will they think of next?