When Nissan debuts its second-generation LEAF electric car next month, it will feature what the company calls e-Pedal, a one-pedal driving system the company says will be the first to allow the driver to stop the car without using the brake pedal.
One-pedal driving is not new technology: Tesla’s cars have it, as do the BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt and Hyundai Ioniq EV. But in those cars’ more conventional electric drivetrains, the driver must still use the brake pedal to stop the car. Nissan’s twist is e-Pedal’s ability to bring the car to a complete stop simply by lifting off the accelerator; it will also hold the car in place on hills.
The concept behind one-pedal driving is that as the driver lets up on the accelerator, the drivetrain’s regenerative braking system – which recharges the battery as the car slows – engages, just as it does under a light touch of the brake pedal.
Nissan says e-Pedal provides enough braking power for 90 percent of driving situations, the asterisk being that it’s not strong enough for emergency stopping.
We’re not sure about Nissan’s claim that e-Pedal will make driving more exciting, but we do agree when they say it will make driving the LEAF simpler and more engaging: in our experience, one-pedal driving forces you to pay closer attention to the flow of traffic and encourages the kind of driving that saves energy, no matter whether your car runs on electricity or gasoline.
Nissan also says the forthcoming LEAF will sport a more aerodynamic design aimed at reducing lift and, consequently, improving handling stability at high speed.
The second-generation Nissan LEAF is set for its official reveal on September 5.