One-pedal driving is exactly what it sounds like. The driver doesn’t need to touch the brakes to bring the car to a stop. In an electric car, or a car with an electric motor, the powertrain requests electricity for the motor to propel the car forward and accelerate. However, when stopping, it can do the opposite. The car uses its kinetic energy, turns that into electricity, and slows down in the process. All the while, it dumps those recovered electrons back into the battery. This is called regenerative braking.
Regenerative braking, as the technology Krieger used is now called, disappeared from road transport when electric power gave way to the internal-combustion engine. But, with sales of petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles peaking, and scores of new electric and hybrid cars appearing on the market, it is staging a comeback. Its principal advantage is that it increases the distance a vehicle is able to travel between charges.
The e-Pedal, which drives the car forward when depressed and brakes when pressure is released, should increase driving efficiency and be all that a driver needs to operate the vehicle for around 90% of urban driving. One-pedal driving combines conventional acceleration, using the right-hand pedal, with a much higher degree of deceleration than in a conventional car.
That means that when a driver lifts off the pedal, the car slows down more quickly than an internal-combustion-powered car would.
At the same time, this process lets the car come to a complete stop with help from the hydraulic brakes. In the Nissan Leaf’s case, the car can come to a complete stop in its “e-Pedal” mode. When the car stops totally, it engages the hydraulic brakes to hold it in place. This isn’t the case, however, with the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car, for example. The driver will need to leave their foot on the brake pedal to come to a stop, which doesn’t give it true one-pedal driving capability.
Should the driver need to make an emergency stop, the brake pedal works just like normal and will lock up the hydraulic brakes to come to a stop as needed. Also good to know: the brake lights still function when using one-pedal driving to let drivers behind the car know the vehicle is slowing down.
In the first Tesla Roadster, lifting off the accelerator produced strong regenerative braking, to recapture all possible energy as the car slowed down. Roadster drivers quickly learned how to modulate the pedal to slow their cars to just a few miles per hour without touching the brake pedal — and “one-pedal driving” was born. Tesla used it in the Model S too, giving drivers the option of strong regeneration or a more automatic-transmission-like feel that slows the car more gradually and adds idle creep.
Thinking of one-pedal driving as a replacement for the three-pedal experience isn’t entirely off base. Lifting off the accelerator of one of these enthusiast-friendly EVs feels kind of like executing a perfect heel-and-toe downshift heading into a hairpin turn — except the sensation is instant and repeatable. Some systems even allow the driver to vary the amount of regeneration or slow the car all the way to a stop. And by turning electric vehicles to generate high levels of regenerative braking, engineers have created a true win-win: one-pedal driving recoups more energy, thereby increasing range, while at the same time delivering a sportier, more connected driving experience.
Here are the best 5 cars that use one pedal
i) Nissan Leaf
ii) Chevrolet Bolt
iii) Hyundai Kona Electric
iv) Jaguar I-Pace
v) Tesla Model S