Speed Governors

We were in France last year and the rental agency couldn’t provide the car we wanted (a Volvo) so they offered us a Mercedes. Needless to say, we accepted the offer. The best thing about the car was that in addition to cruise control it had a governor mode. You could set the top speed you wanted to drive, and it would make sure you didn’t go any faster than that so you never had to check if you were going faster than you wanted to. Even better, you could slow down simply by taking you foot off the gas - nothing to disengage. This is great going for slowing to go around a curve or approaching another car from behind. It’s much safer and way more convenient than cruise control, in my opinion. I can’t imagine why it is not an option on lots of cars.

We are about to buy a new car, and we have three requirements: 1) Luxury level 2) Some type of hybrid system and 3) Speed governor.

What are our possible choices?

(We want to drive our current car to New York from California, pick up new car, and leave the old car with my daughter.)

Thanks for your advice.

none here with a governor

I like regular cruise control on the highway with light traffic.
I get tired of manipulating the gas pedal.
I can relax my right foot and stop glancing at the speedometer.

In the USA, the market has spoken, and cruise control works just fine for most of us. Personally, I wouldn’t mind having both a governor and cruise control.

My first wife’s father drove for a feed company and furnished his own truck chassis. He had a governor on his truck to limit the rpm of the engine. Apparently this was a common practice. The U-Haul trucks I rented in the 1970s were equipped with a governor. I would take the truck up to the speed the governor would allow in a lower gear and then shift to the next higher gear. The governor was preset and there was no way to change it from the cab.
I think the cruise control has an advantage for highway use for most situations. In fact, I would like to replace the governor of my state with a cruise control–scratch that, we don’t need any more political debates on this board.

You can use cruise control as a speed governor almost all the time. If traffic is dense enough that you can’t use cruise control, it is unlikely that you can go fast enough to make a governor useful.

As far as which vehicle to buy, we need to know whether you want a car or an SUV. I’ll assume it’s a luxury car. Your choices are the Lincoln MKZ, Lexus CT200h, Lexus HS250h, Infiniti M Hybrid, and Lexus GS450h. Tell us if you are willing to spend over $60,000; the list grows. You might include a Chevrolet Volt, but it may not be your idea of a luxury car. It is based on the Chevy Cruze but may have enough luxury items for you. For instance, it does not have power seats. Since the list is short, you can drive every one and see which one you like best. Because Lexus shows up 3 times on the list, you should decide which one or two best meet your desires. For instance, the CT200h might be too small, or the GS450h might be too large.

There are cruise controls that slow you in traffic using radar.

I use cruise control as often as possible to help avoid inadvertent speeding. I would welcome this option on any of my cars. I do acknowledge that on some not to rare occasions, I want to speed away from an idiot tailgater.

Back in the 1970s, I shared the opinion with my dad that if a person wasn’t able to press the accelerator, he shouldn’t be driving the car. My dad was a competent driver, but my mother told me that his legs would bother him when he drove on long trips. She had heard about cruise controls, but said that my dad would never pay the extra money for a cruise control when buying a car. (Cruise controls were an option in those days). I made up some excuse to trade cars with him for a day–his car was a 4 door and mine was a 2 door–I told him that I needed to take some people on a short trip. I had a cruise control put on his car and he loved it. In fact, he bragged about it so much that my wife had one installed on our car. Now, I wouldn’t have a car without the cruise control.

The advantage of the governor is that you don’t have to “manipulate” the gas pedal, just lean on it a little, and the governor takes care of the maximum speed, and you can still slow down by just easing up.

Thanks for your recommendations. Do you think any of them can be fitted with a governor?

That’s pretty good for traffic, but it doesn’t slow you down for curves.

I would never try to speed a way from a tailgater. Especially if I was going at or above the speed limit, which is when I would be using a governor.

Does anybody know anything about aftermarket suppliers of governors to be fitted on a car?

That is not available here, and I know of no such unit in the aftermarket. I think the market for this would be extremely small, compared to an ‘intelligent’ cruise control.

Also, companies will likely not be very interested in selling software products that modify the ‘fly by wire’ throttle control - that would open them up to lots of liability.

According to Wikipedia, many Citroen, Mercedes Benz, Peugeot, Renault, and some Ford cars and vans can be ordered or fitted with variable speed limiters. I think they’ve got the right idea. Now I need to check if they can be supplied in the US.

The last time I test drove a Ford Fiesta, I was told that you can program the keyless go fob, whatever they call it, so that the car would not go faster than a certain speed if that fob is in the car when its driven.

It is not a luxury car, but a speed governor is there.

A year ago, I had a Ford Escape Hybrid on the road from my instituion’s fleet. It had a speed control that limited the maximum speed to 80 mph. A chime would go off and a warning message would appear that the speed was limited to 80 mph when the speed was greater than 72 mph. It wasn’t my vehicle, so I didn’t investigate how to turn it off–I had no intention of going that fast anyway.

Guess what - Lincolns have the ‘My Key’ feature standard on many of their cars, including the MKZ hybrid. With it you can set a maximum allowable speed for the car. Check out Lincoln’s web site for more info. Others may have a similar feature, I don’t know.

And the MKZ hybrid is great on gas, I’m averaging over 38 mpg lifetime on mine.