If you’re keen on saving energy (and money) while driving, you’ve probably tried efficient driving techniques, like gentle acceleration and deceleration. But what if you could ease the strain on your car by avoiding the brakes altogether? In this article, we’ll cover what one-pedal driving is, which vehicles have it, some of its benefits, and potential safety concerns to keep in mind.
What Is One-Pedal Driving?
One-pedal driving is a feature on certain electric vehicles (EVs), mainly BEVs and PHEVs, which allows you to drive using just the accelerator pedal.
Most vehicles with one-pedal driving have a button you can push to activate the feature. This button is typically found near the gearshift.
To move forward, press down on the acceleration pedal as you normally would. As you lift your foot off the accelerator, your deceleration increases. If you keep your foot off the pedal, the car will slow to a complete stop. If you misjudge your braking distance, you can still use the braking pedal. Some vehicles allow you to adjust the braking period to make it longer or shorter.
This method of driving is possible because of the regenerative braking systems in EVs. Instead of a friction braking system like regular cars, regenerative braking uses electric motors to make the vehicle stop. This allows kinetic energy to be captured and transferred into the car’s batteries to help replenish it while you drive.
One-pedal driving doesn’t work when the car is in “park” or “neutral.” It also can’t be used simultaneously with cruise control.
Every EV in North America has regenerative braking, but they don’t all have one-pedal driving.
Which Vehicles Have One-Pedal Drive?
Many EV automakers are starting to offer one-pedal driving in their most recent models, including these:
- Audi e-tron
- BMW i3
- Cadillac Lyriq
- Chevrolet Bolt EV & EUV
- Ford F-150 Lightning
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Hyundai Ioniq 5
- Hyundai Kona Electric
- Jaguar I-Pace
- Kia EV6
- Nissan Leaf
- Tesla Model S
- Volvo XC40
- Polestar 2
Even though these vehicles have a one-pedal mode, you don’t have to use it. Every vehicle must have both an accelerator and a brake pedal, so you won’t be losing anything by opting for a vehicle with one-pedal driving.
Benefits of One-Pedal Driving
One of the main advantages of one-pedal driving is that it can extend your EV’s range. For those worried about range anxiety, anything that can help your battery last longer is worth trying.
Combine extended range with an extended brake life and you can really get the most out of your vehicle. Since you’re only using one pedal, you put minimal strain on your car’s braking system.
It’s also more convenient to use one pedal as you don’t have to switch your foot between two. You’ll have a bit of learning curve here, but it can lead to a less stressful driving experience once you adjust.
After you get used to how long it typically takes to stop with your particular one-pedal system, you can make much smoother stops than if you always had to hit the brakes.
Even if you become fully comfortable driving with one pedal, to prioritize your safety, you’ll still need to use both pedals in certain situations.
If you need to stop immediately, you can’t rely on one-pedal driving. Depending on the system your vehicle has, releasing your foot off the accelerator likely won’t bring you to a halt right away. Since the brake pedal remains active in one-pedal mode, press down on it when you need to make an emergency stop.
One-pedal driving is not advised in certain driving conditions, either. Avoid using the system in these situations:
- driving on slippery roads
- going downhill
- transporting heavy cargo
Switching to an EV
If you haven’t driven an EV before, one-pedal driving is one of many benefits you can take advantage of. To help you decide if you’re ready to make the switch, check out our blog for more information and tips on EVs.