With more big auto companies announcing each week that their future production will be all electric, it’s a good bet you’ll own an electric vehicle someday.
But there are inherent differences in electric vehicles when compared to vehicles running internal combustion engines. You don’t really need a break pedal on an electric vehicle (EV). Most EVs employ regenerative breaking, so when you take your foot off the accelerator, the car dumps its excess energy into regenerating electricity for future use.
At WIRED, Jack Stewart explains the one-pedal future.
To get the maximum benefit out of driving an electric car, the accelerator (you can’t call it a gas pedal anymore!) controls both the speeding up and slowing down. Pressing the pedal makes the car go, as usual, but lifting your foot makes the car slow down, hard, not coast.
It’s a quirk that takes some getting used to. At first, it can feel like the parking brake has been accidentally left on. But most drivers eventually prefer it because it makes inching forward in traffic much easier than swapping your foot back and forth between pedals.
In a conventional car, brake pads clamp onto a metal disc, with friction converting the kinetic energy of a speeding car into wasted heat. But when electric cars slow down, the electric motor runs as a generator, recovering some of that previously wasted energy to top up the battery. Depending on how much regeneration the software engineers allow when designing the car, the force can be powerful enough to slow the car most of the way to zero, meaning drivers only need to use the brake pedal to come to a full stop.
Nissan will become the first automaker to introduce full one pedal driving in the latest iteration of the electric Leaf, due later this year. It will have an “e-Pedal” option. The pedals will still look the same, but the brake will be pretty much redundant, and computer controls will give the traditional accelerator extra functions. Lifting off won’t just slow the car with regen, but will bring the car to a full stop, and will even hold without rolling backwards on hills.
“I think this is the logical next step,” says Jeffrey Miller, an engineering professor at USC. In a Tesla, owners can already choose exactly how much lifting off the accelerator slows the car on the giant touchscreen. In Chevrolet’s Bolt, drivers have a paddle behind the steering wheel to request extra regeneration, just as they’d tap to downshift and slow down with a sporty automatic gearbox.
Read more here.