Category Archives: autos

Self-Driving Cars Will Run You Off The Road

I predict that there will be division / classification of roads which will shape and change our roadways and push drivers off the road. Here’s why:

Telsa is an amazing story in the otherwise lacklustre world of Automotive innovation. Elon Musk took on the entire industry in a way that was going to fail in many people’s eyes – he brought an all-electric vehicle to market, with success and then incrementally delivered a system that can now drive at level 5 (source: Tesla Ships with Level 5 Autonomy). The industry is still trying to work out how long it has until it really has to catch up – hint: that’s up to the vocal demand of the consumer.

The biggest risk of driving on the road is attributed to humans – drivers themselves are the biggest issue on the road; not everyone is capable at the same level in all conditions – and some would argue, even in the best conditions, some still struggle. Having that uncontrolled variable exposed to autonomous cars can be controlled for – in most situations. But there are still risks – a Telsa owner recently died when his car hit a tractor due to a combination of sensor “failure” and his lack of attention as driver (source : Tesla cleared of Driver Death)

Self-Driving will be costly

Imagine you are running an insurance business. Which would be the biggest risk for you: A self-driving car or a human driver? Human driving is significantly more variable than a logic program with active sensors – Insurers will start to increase premiums for drivers who insist on driving their own cars. Those logic programs will also control for speed and conditions and could even report them back to the insurance company to qualify the owner for “discounts”. As self-driving car ownership increases, human drivers will see increasing challenges such as increased premiums and / or the need to report their driving ability / history through devices like Progressive’s Snapshot (see: A review of Snapshot)

Uber and Lyft Aim to remove the need to own a car

Although the lift-share model currently uses self-employed people to drive cars, the long-term aim of these services is to provide self-driving cars to achieve the service levels desired. This provides mitigation of additional insurable risk and the variability of availability of drivers. Likely individuals will have the opportunity “invest” in self-driving fleets, and ensure their service levels are maintained and operate them through the Uber/Lyft networks.

Road Networks will be Divided

Long term this suggests that road networks will be divided into two or three models:

  1. Autonomous only : Level 5 cars will only be allowed on these roads; Cars on these roads will offer least insurable risk and can handle more capacity due to the predictable nature of the way they operate. They will also see least police interaction as likely speeds will be regulated
  2. Hybrid Roads : Level 0-5 cars (including human-operated) – ultimately these road types will serve as a stop gap and be removed until all autonomous cars are level 5
  3. Human Operated : As today; human operated and controlled vehicles. These roads will have the most insurable risk and have most police scrutiny for speeding, etc.

Ultimately it will be costly and prohibitive for many to drive their own car on a daily basis. This change in behavior commoditizes travel and will cause a shift in the way that vehicles are made and look. There are many implications to car manufacturers, dealers, insurers, fuel & energy providers and consumers. The automotive industry has not been known to move that fast but a shift in consumer demand to Tesla-like performance will force a shift which will be the catalyst for my predictions.

So would you want to own a purely autonomous car? Tell me what you think in the comments!

(this is a short-form version of my thoughts on this subject; if you would like to connect more on this or other automotive discussions, please connect with me via linkedin – paulmorgan)

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How to fix Mazda Tribute / Ford Escape fan only working on some settings

2008 Mazda Tribute photographed in College Par...
Image via Wikipedia

Having just discovered this morning that the fan on my Mazda Tribute only worked on setting 4 and 1-3 were doing nothing. This post resolves the issue for the Mazda Tribute, Mercury Mariner and Ford Escape 2008 but may very well apply to other models – probably 08-11.

I did the usual googling and found a few posts that said that it was the blower resistor causing the problem. Unfortunately none of them were really that great in their description of resolving the issue.

Obviously you first need to get the blower resistor from your fave car part store – The Tribute / Escape resistor was $21 + tax from Autozone.

Preparation: You’ll need a socket / wrench set. I used 8mm or  5/16th for the glove compartment & 9mm or 11/32 for the fuse.

  1. Remove the 3 screw bolts at the base of the glove compartment
  2. Open the glove compartment
  3. Squeeze the sides of the glove compartment and pull away
  4. The black plastic box you can now see is the blower unit
  5. On top and to the right is a connector with wires coming out – this is the connector to the blower resistor
  6. Remove the connector (depress the little catch and pull upward)
  7. Remove the 2 bolt screws that hold the resistor in place
  8. Pull out the old fuse unit & replace with the new unit
  9. Now just reverse the instructions!

Time to fix : 10-15mins. Hopefully this saves you time fixing your Mazda Tribute or Ford Escape fan / blower!

Audi, what ye reap, so shall ye sow

Audi TT Coupé
Image via Wikipedia

When a customer has a bad experience they complain. If the company doesn’t give satisfactory resolution what do they do?

In my recent post regarding my experience with Dell, I talked about how using social media can help the cause. I mentioned how a musician had posted a video to YouTube after an airline failed to compensate him adequately for damaging his guitar.

I now find myself in the position of having written an article almost two years ago about my experience with Audi after my Audi TT engine failed in a dramatic way having done only a reasonable amount of miles, costing lots to repair and all Audi could say was “Too bad too sad. If you had got your car serviced through us we might have been interested but as you didn’t we don’t want to know”

Well two years on and this little post has attracted almost 60,000 views! The article is found through people search for “common Audi TT problems” or its’ derivatives through search engines. Hopefully Audi might one day take note, as their devil may care approach to customer service has turned this into an example of how that now has potentially turned thousands of car sales into other manufacturers opportunities.

Of course, if Audi wanted to let me drive the new TT and give regular reports on it, I’d be more than happy to oblige 🙂

Mazda RX-8; What a great car / dissapointment

Mazda RX-8
Mazda RX-8

I have always admired the Mazda RX-8 for its’ looks and performance; I discounted the car as something I would own when in the UK as the MPG is terrible – between 15-18mpg average and 20mpg at best on the motorway/highway.

Now I’m in the land of (relatively) cheap petrol ($2.79 a gallon at the time of writing … but it went up to $4.44) and the discussion of what car to buy (primarily for me) has come up.

What’s great about the RX-8

  • It looks great
  • it’s got 4 doors for those that want to deal with more than 1-2 people (aka Rach)
  • it’s fast (enough)
  • mostly reliable (esp in the later models)
  • it’s got reasonably good residuals.

What things that aren’t so great

Otherwise known as “reasons I might not even get one”

  • Fuel economy – Yeah, you know you should expect this with any rotary engine
  • If you flood the engine it could mean the car has to go back to the dealer. Serious. Start the car on cold then turn it off after a few seconds. Because the way the Renesis engine works you’ve flooded it and you probably won’t be able to restart it – especially on 2004-2005 models – unless you get it carted back to a dealer or use a DIY method which involves squirting washer fluid in the engine (yes. i am serious).
  • Oil usage – check the levels every other fill up – Rotary engines.

So what next?

I’d be a fool not to test drive one… that’s one of the reasons I bought an Audi TT (yeah – let’s not go there right now).

Consumer Reports best used vehicles

Source : http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/used-cars/cr-recommended/best-used-vehicles-under-20000-406/overview/index.htm

$10,000 – $12,000 $12,000 – $14,000
Acura CL ’03; MDX ’01; RSX ’03
BMW M3 ’98; Z3 ’99
Buick LeSabre ’04; Regal ’04
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (2WD) ’01
Dodge Neon ’05
Ford Crown Victoria ’05; Escape ’04; Explorer Sport Trac ’03; F-150 ’01; Focus ’07; Ranger (2WD) ’04-05
GMC Sierra 1500 (2WD) ’01-02
Honda Accord ’03; Civic ’04; Civic Hybrid ’03; Civic Si ’03-04; CR-V ’03; Element ’04; S2000 ’00
Hyundai Elantra ’06; Santa Fe (V6) ’04; Sonata (4-cyl.) ’06
Infiniti I35 ’03; QX4 ’99
Kia Optima ’06
Lexus ES ’00; GS (6-cyl.) ’00; LS ’98; RX ’00
Lincoln Town Car ’02
Mazda B-Series (2WD) ’05-06; MX-5 Miata ’02-03; Tribute ’04; 3 ’04
Mercury Grand Marquis ’04-05
Mitsubishi Endeavor ’04; Outlander ’04
Nissan Altima (4-cyl.) ’05; Altima (V6) ’03; Frontier ’03; Xterra ’03
Pontiac Vibe ’05
Scion xA ’06; xB ’04-05
Subaru Baja ’03; Forester ’03; Impreza ’04; Impreza WRX ’02-03; Outback ’01
Toyota 4Runner ’01; Avalon ’02; Camry ’03; Camry Solara ’03; Celica ’03; Corolla ’05; Highlander ’02; Matrix ’04-05; Prius ’03;
RAV4 ’02; Sienna ’03; Tacoma ’01; Tundra ’02; Yaris ’07
Volvo S60 ’02; V70 ’02
Acura MDX ’02; RL ’02; RSX ’04
BMW 5 Series (6-cyl.) ’02; M3 ’99; Z3 ’00
Buick LaCrosse ’05; LeSabre ’05
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (2WD) ’02; Silverado 1500 (V6, 2WD) ’03; Silverado 2500 (2WD) ’01
Dodge Ram 2500 (turbodiesel, 2WD) ’03-04
Ford Escape ’05; Explorer Sport Trac ’04; F-150 ’02; F-150 (V6) ’03; F-150 (V8, 4WD) ’02; Fusion ’06; Ranger (2WD) ’06
GMC Sierra 1500 (V6, 2WD) ’03; Sierra 2500 (2WD) ’01
Honda Accord ’04-05; Civic ’05; Civic Hybrid ’04; Civic Si ’05; CR-V ’04; Element ’05; Fit ’07; Odyssey ’03; S2000 ’01
Hyundai Elantra ’07; Santa Fe (V6) ’05; Tucson (FWD) ’05
Infiniti QX4 ’00
Kia Sportage ’05-06
Lexus ES ’01; LS ’99; RX ’01
Lincoln Town Car ’04
Mazda MPV ’05; MX-5 Miata ’04; Tribute ’05; 3 ’05-07
Nissan Frontier ’04; Pathfinder ’03; Xterra ’04
Pontiac Vibe ’06-07
Saab 9-2X ’05
Scion tC ’05; xB ’06
Subaru Forester ’04; Impreza ’05-06; Impreza WRX ’04; Legacy ’04; Outback ’02
Toyota 4Runner ’02; Avalon ’03; Camry ’04; Camry Solara ’04; Corolla ’06-07; Highlander ’03; Land Cruiser ’98; Matrix ’06; RAV4
’03; Sequoia ’01; Tacoma ’02-03; Tundra ’03
Volvo V70 ’03
$14,000 – $16,000 $16,000 – $18,000
Acura RSX ’05
BMW 5 Series (6-cyl.) ’03; Z3 ’01
Buick LaCrosse ’06
Chevrolet Silverado 2500 (2WD) ’02
Chrysler Crossfire ’04
Ford F-150 (2WD) ’04; Fusion ’07
GMC Sierra 2500 (2WD) ’02
Honda Accord ’06; Civic ’06-07; Civic Hybrid ’05; Odyssey ’04; Pilot ’03; S2000 ’02
Hyundai Sonata (4-cyl.) ’07; Tucson ’06; Tucson (FWD) ’07
Infiniti G35 Sedan (RWD) ’03; I35 ’04; Q45 ’02; QX4 ’01
Jeep Compass ’07
Lexus GS ’01; LS ’00; RX ’02
Mazda MPV ’06; MX-5 Miata ’05
Mercury Grand Marquis ’07; Mariner ’05; Milan ’06; Montego (AWD) ’07
Mitsubishi Endeavor ’05
Nissan Altima (V6) ’05; Frontier (V6) ’05
Scion tC ’06
Subaru Forester ’05; Impreza ’07; Legacy ’05; Outback ’03
Toyota 4Runner ’03; Avalon ’04; Camry ’05; Camry (4-cyl.) ’06; Camry Solara ’05; Highlander ’04; Land Cruiser ’99-00; Matrix ’07;
Prius ’04; RAV4 ’04; Sequoia ’02; Tacoma ’04-05; Tundra ’04
Volvo S60 (FWD) ’04; XC70 ’03
Acura MDX ’03; TSX ’04
BMW 3 Series Coupe & Conv. (RWD) ’02
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (V6, 2WD) ’06
Dodge Ram 2500 (turbodiesel, 2WD) ’05
Ford Crown Victoria ’07; Escape Hybrid ’05; F-150 (2WD) ’05
Honda Accord ’07; Civic Hybrid ’06; Civic Si ’06; CR-V ’05; Element ’06-07; S2000 ’03
Infiniti G35 Sedan (RWD) ’04
Lexus ES ’02; IS ’01; LS ’01; LX ’99; RX ’03
Lincoln Town Car ’05
Mazda MX-5 Miata ’06-07
Mercedes-Benz C-Class (4-cyl.) ’04
Mercury Milan ’07
Mitsubishi Endeavor ’06
Nissan Altima (4-cyl.) ’07; Frontier (V6) ’06; Maxima ’05; Xterra ’06
Subaru Forester ’06; Impreza WRX ’05-06; Legacy ’06; Outback ’04
Toyota 4Runner ’04; Highlander ’05; Land Cruiser ’01; Prius ’05; RAV4 ’05; Sienna ’04; Tacoma ’06; Tundra ’05
Volvo S80 (5-cyl.) ’04; V70 ’04
$18,000 – $20,000  
Acura TSX ’05
BMW 3 Series Coupe & Conv. (RWD) ’03; 325i Sedan (AWD) ’04; 325i Sedan (RWD) 05; 330i Sedan (AWD) ’03; Z3 ’02
Chevrolet Corvette ’99-00; Silverado 2500 (2WD) ’04
Dodge Charger (V6) ’06
Ford Explorer Sport Trac (V6) ’07; F-150 (2WD) ’06; Five Hundred (AWD) ’07; Freestyle ’07
GMC Sierra 1500 (V6, 2WD) ’06; Sierra 2500 (2WD) ’04
Honda Accord Hybrid ’05; Civic Hybrid ’07; Civic Si ’07; CR-V ’06; Pilot ’04; S2000 ’04
Infiniti M ’03; QX4 ’02
Lexus ES ’03; GS ’02; IS ’02; LX ’00
Mini Cooper Hatchback ’06
Mitsubishi Outlander ’07
Nissan Altima (V6) ’06; Frontier (V6) ’07; Maxima ’06; Xterra ’07
Porsche Boxster ’01
Subaru Baja ’06; Forester ’07; Legacy ’07; Outback ’05
Toyota Avalon ’05; Camry (4-cyl.) ’07; Camry Solara ’06; Prius ’06; RAV4 ’06; Sienna ’05; Tacoma ’07
Volvo S60 ’05; S80 (5-cyl.) ’05 XC70 ’04
 

Cars and automobiles

I wrote about buying cars a while back cause I am absolutely mad to get a car that I can say is mine (so to speak). Since then I’ve been doing a ton of research and wotnot – there are some cars that I’ve considered but are now off the list (BMW 3 series – I really like the current gen. look but it’s way expensive). The Audi A4 only makes an appearance as an outsider as I really like the new look… but again I don’t know if this isn’t out of the price range atm.

Also as a surprise is the Audi TT MK1 – introduced in 1999 it’s getting long in the tooth perhaps and also burnt my bum when the engine blew up on me when I owned one. That being said I would go for a 2003 onwards model which has more reliability … they really are great cars when they work! The A5 is aspirational.. still expensive but what a gorgeous car!

I’ve also marked down some SUVs which would be potential replacements for our current SUV – Rach likes the Ford Edge, which I have to agree is pretty funky, but I also like the Nissan and Infinit – the latter being a pricey number so unless we get a good deal is unlikely to feature.

I’ve also included the Civic Si – the Type R equivalent in the US – based on the fact I owned one previously, I continue to be impressed by the Honda’s quality…. Other outsiders are the Mitsi Eclipse – great car, pretty good performance, but when you pit it against the Civic Si… difficult one.

So here it is… the list so far….

Type MPG HW MPG TN BHP Cost/25m Notes
Audi TT (Mk1) Coupe 29 21 225 5.13
Honda Civic Si Coupe 29 21 197 4.68
Mitsubishi Eclipse GT Coupe 25 16 265 2009 model gets a facelift
Audi A5 Coupe 27 18 265 5.39
Ford Mustang Coupe 28 19 210
Nissan Maxima Sedan 25 19 255 4.3
Nissan Altima Sedan 23 32 198 3.26
Mazda 6 (6 cyl) Sedan 18 25 212 156bhp 28/21 MPG
Honda Civic Si Sedan 29 21 197 4.68
Audi A4 Sedan 30 21 200 4.49
Mitsubishi Lancer GTS Sedan 28 21 168
Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Sedan 235 Not avail until 2009
Nissan Murano SUV 24 19 240 4.51
Infiniti FX35 SUV 20 15 275 4.99
Ford Edge SUV 24 17 265 5.67
Lincoln MKX SUV 24 17 250 5.37

Tips for the Car Rental Person

IT’S A SALES JOB

If we can get you to pay more for an upgrade, insurance, gasoline, a GPS, even an additional driver, we get a cut of the extra charges.

I WILL CHARGE YOU FOR THE UPGRADE FOR WHATEVER PRICE I CAN GET AWAY WITH
AKA I LOVE BRITS

we love our UK customers which we affectionately call “the Brits”. When the Virgin and British Airways flights are in, the Alamo counter is full of agents. The Brits are fun folks and love upgrades. We Alamo rental agents have autonomy when it comes to the price of upgrades. There is a minimum which we must adhere to, usually $11 per day, but we can raise it to whatever we believe the customer is willing to pay. If the Brit wants an SUV instead of the midsize sedan reserved, we may charge him $11 more per day or maybe even $99 more per day. Even better, many Brits have long term rentals, 2, 3, 4 weeks or longer. The longer the rental, the better for us if the customer buys something. For instance, an upgrade of $49 per day for a 3-week rental equals a total of $1029. If the agent can average just one or two sales like this per day, he/she will get a 15% cut of the upgrade sales alone.

Always inspect the car you are renting with an employee before signing anything.

Car rental offices should have a vehicle inspection form that’s signed by you before the car leaves the lot. This limits the possibility that you’ll get blamed for damage that you didn’t cause. “Unfortunately, from my experience, many customers were blamed for damage they did not cause,”

Off-airport locations are often cheaper than airport locations.

The vehicles at airport locations typically cost more because of airport fees, which cover the car rental agency’s rental and transportation costs.

Make multiple reservations and play the system.

Most reservations can be canceled without penalty. My insider suggests making multiple reservations. “Look at rates online or call in for them,” he says. “If you’re not too picky, make a reservation for one of the small, cheap cars. Make another for a nicer car that you might like to rent. When you show up, use the reservation for the smaller car. Ask the rep how much it costs to upgrade to the nicer car you want to rent. If they rate ends up being less than what you reserved the higher-class car at, then do it. If not, use the other reservation. They have to honor reservation rates.”

Negotiate your upgrade.

Upgrade rates don’t exist. They’re made up by salespeople. “If you come in with a Ford Focus reservation and were interested in a larger car, I’ll charge an upgrade for you to get into a Ford Escape,” he says. “If you have a Ford Escape reservation and are looking for something more fuel-efficient, I’ll charge you an upgrade to a Ford Focus.

Timing is everything.

The largest expense incurred by a car rental company is depreciation. Basically, these companies are leasing all the cars in their fleet. They’re charged different rates for different types of cars. “It is very important for car rental companies to have as many cars on the road as possible, as any cars that are sitting are not making money, and are actually costing the company money in depreciation fees.” A customer who shows up after a busy holiday weekend can more or less name the price for a rental car.

Complain and you shall receive.

Car rental companies often go to great lengths to make customer happy — even when their grievance are not legit. “Like most companies, we want you to use again — and again and again,” says the insider. “Even some of the most ridiculous complaints that I’ve seen have been resolved by one of my managers. They offered a full refund and a free rental to a customer I knew was full of it. But we want you back so much that an occassional hit is fine.”

Source:

http://consumerist.com/345044/6-confessions-of-an-alamo-car-rental-agent

http://www.elliott.org.nyud.net:8080/blog/6-secrets-car-rental-companies-dont-want-you-to-know/

More Audi TT info

As many of you are visiting my blog regards my experience with the Audi TT, I thought I’d share some extra info.

Waks WWW Site is invaluable for TT owners, with articles on what to watch out for, what modifications are possible, how-to’s etc. I used this site almost as regularly as the TT Forum – the articles are well-written and east to follow. I also remembered when looking at this site that I also replaced the DV (diverter valve), which is supposed to have some marginal improvement in making the engine efficient.

Articles include What is VAGCOM & Coding ,VAGCOM Measuring blocks ,VAG-COM Coding Ross-Tech ,How to change a Battery ,Removing a fly ,Forge Dump Valve Servicing ,Changing Air-Filter ,Removing a door panel ,Removing a coupe boot trim panel , How to Check Hydraulic Power Steering Fluid , Fitting Mudflaps ,How to disconnect the MAF/AMM plug and so much more – well worth browsing Wak’s articles – and he’s a great bloke too!

There are links to some of the ECU modifiers on this site – REVO and APR – but I decided to go with AmD who were based in Bicester but have now moved along with some management changes, so I can’t comment on their products and services today; In the past they were a fair company to work with, even though they got thousands of pounds in repairs!…maybe that’s why!!

Finding the perfect (regular) American Car – Part 2 – Luxury

There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t have a car that fulfills your need to service as a family car AND is fun to drive. Manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, Mercedes and (for those who think this contentious) Infiniti and Accura get that.

BMW 3 Series

bmw-3-series-2005.jpgThis cars reputation in the UK is one of a salesman’s car – everyone has one it seems; In doing so, the 3 series has lost its’ image of a prestige marque that one aspired to.

The reputation in the US isn’t quite at the same level, and is considered still a car worthy of its’ badge; BMWs are renowned for their driving experience (very important to me), quality, performance, longevity – and price. A second hand BMW in good condition will be a lot more than you would expect to pay for many other marques of similar, if not better condition.

And there’s a reason for that; It’s all true.

I have fought the BMW desire for a long time – but I have to admit, there are certain 3-series models I would consider… and I’m not just talking the M3; anything other than the 316, 318 … the 320… not sure… Certainly from reading up it seems models from 2005 and on gain from some extra room as well as some other pre-2005 quirks:

back seat passengers were cramped, while the boot was small. The steering was heavy at slow speeds, and the ride could be harsh if the surface wasn’t perfect. The interior ventilation system wasn’t the best; when you needed heavy-duty action to clear the windscreen you tended to fry your face.” (source)

The rear space does seem to be limited, but I have seen my bro-in-law with child seats in his 2003 Beemer, so it can’t be that bad… That being said, I’ve witnessed BMW owners trying to drive through snow and ice in this lovely Chicago winter and they do struggle! An M3 owner in my street ended up digging his car out twice because the car couldn’t handle what other front wheelers could.

Incidentally, I’ve seen some spy shots of the next-gen BMW – bmw_3_v.jpg and bmw_3_h.jpg – Looks gorgeous!

BMW goes on the “could be” list.

Audi A4

Audi A4Many say that this is a great car – except Audi reliability issues in the past (see my Audi TT post), although the A4 has a better reputation that the TT. Forbes seems to rate the A4 extremely highly – see this link – and having driven in an A4 I was very pleased with the ride and feel.

The exterior look isn’t as compelling as the competition, but it has a lot going for it from a driver’s perspective – handling is apparently excellent. There is a front wheel and four wheel drive version too – the four wheel is compelling in the Chicago winter. It also can suffer from rear passenger space like the BMW.

BMW goes on the “could be” list.

Mercedes

I’m not a Mercedes fan, unless it’s the McLaren SLK! The top of the range CLS class looks great but the price matches it, so it’s out.

Infiniti / Accura

Aside from the Infinit G35 coupe and the FX SUV, I’m not really enamoured; Accura TL is a great car but the price doesn’t justify it’s glorified Honda role for my purposes.

Audi TT Mark 1 trick – Reset your throttle body

Quick trick here for Audi TT owners – when you drive your TT it learns about your driving habits and will adjust the throttle body accordingly; so if you’re a cautious driver it will not be so quick on the power when you want to drive hard all of a sudden. This sounds like a less-helpful feature but actually can help with your fuel economy.

So when you’re ready to get the best throttle response from your TT, simply wait until the car is cold, put your key in the ignition, turn until the dash lights are on then wait around 3 minutes – you may hear some clicking. After that just remove the keys and then you’re done! If you’ve not done this before you may notice the difference!

Not sure if it works on other Audi Models or the new Mark 2 TT… if readers know, please

UPDATE: This note on the TT Forum as to why this is good for some:

“there is no accelerator cable but everything is electronic. The accelerator pedal movement actually produces a variable voltage between 1 and 4volts approx which is read by the engine management system. The EMS then uses that information, plus info from many other sensors to determine spark timing, fuel injection timing/period and air flow volume into the engine, the latter being controlled by the real throttle – an air valve driven by an electric motor. Now if you use the car for lots of gentle driving in town, say, then you never get to the wide open throttle (WOT) stage, so the EMS makes the 1-4volt range of the pedal equal 0 – 75% of throttle movement…. makes pedal more ‘sensitive’ and is better for fine adjustment in traffic … TBR doesn’t actually change anything mechanical – it just tells EMS to reset and recalibrate the throttle so that pedal right down “