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What is One Pedal Driving? (Driving an EV without using the brakes?)

One-pedal driving. If you are new to electric vehicles then this one is hard to get your head around. Driving around and barely using the brakes to stop, really?

One pedal driving enables your EV to slow down or come to a complete stop when lifting off the accelerator pedal. Your brakes are then used for emergency stopping only.

This works because of regenerative braking. This is what happens when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal. The coasting car then turns that momentum towards spinning the motors that propel the car. When the motor is forced to rotate, it creates electricity that is used to charge your battery.

What it also does is put a large drag on your driveline, effectively slowing down the car and in most cases to a complete stop.

It’s possible to set off on a journey, time it right, let off the accelerator, and then come to a stop at a light with never having to touch the brake pedal.

Cars of course differ in how aggressive the regen braking is. Some are even user-selectable like the brilliant way the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 add paddles where you would normally shift an e-gear transmission.

So, if you find it unsettling ( and let’s face it, if you haven’t felt it before, it really is an odd feeling ) you can reduce the effect, and the car will coast a little more freely.  You will give up some of that extra charge though.

But.. Once you get used to it, it will really start to grow on you. It’s a simplified way of driving. One that doesn’t suit that “late for work” road warrior that is trying to get to their destination as fast as possible. ( Me, unfortunately ) Though when I’m taking my time, it’s quite relaxing to just lift off the “gas” and coast to a stop. Then I just wait there till I’m ready to proceed again. Honestly, it changes the driving dynamic immensely, and for the most part in a positive way.

Not all EVs can come to a complete stop though, you may have to tap that brake at the last moment to actually stop the vehicle. Cars such as the Nissan Leaf with E-Pedal engaged will stop the car completely and they wait patiently for you to begin driving again.

How much extra range does one pedal driving add?

Depending on how and where you drive, one-pedal driving could actually help a significant amount. For example, I took 2 weeks of my daily driving in my Tesla Model Y and ran the numbers, and found I got just over 18 extra kilometers per charge due to regenerative braking. And again, I’m not trying to maximize my mileage. Some have reported over 30 Miles per charge is possible.

Model Y Regen Chart

Will my brakes last longer?

This one is a big deal. There are reports of people not changing their brakes for years. Since I said that, let me get this out now, service your brakes even if you don’t use them. When you need them, you want to be sure they work.

The great thing though is often the pads are rotors are perfectly fine. Lubing the sliders and checking the brake fluid is usually all you need to do. Due to the motors doing the majority of the braking of the vehicle, your brake system will last significantly longer than a traditional automobile. Saving you a good deal of money in the process.

Not for emergencies!

While you certainly can drive your EV with little to no activation of the brake pedal, don’t get too complacent. In an emergency, you WILL need to use your brakes to come to a  rapid stop. So don’t get out of the habit of using your brakes! But my car will stop itself if it detects an accident you say. NO! don’t let the car do all the work. Though I will admit, it saved my butt once.

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