Hello, Guys I just learned about new technology in electric cars, which allows one-pedal driving using just your accelerator. I will explain this technology to you guys which is called regenerative braking in electric cars.
While we are still arguing over three-pedal vs. two-pedal driving, electric car makers are making driving easier by using just one pedal the accelerator pedal, which we use more than 50% of the time (at least in India). Tesla Model 3, KIA EV6, Chevrolet Bolt, BMW i3 (Brake energy recuperation) and Nissan Leaf (E-pedal) are some of the cars with one-pedal technology. Though Regenerative braking is present in all-electric cars to gain some battery energy as you coast, not all electric cars allow one-pedal driving. One-pedal driving depends on the levels of regenerative braking, and at the strongest level, some electric cars will come to a complete stop.
What is Regenerative Braking?
In new electric cars, the accelerator controls both the speeding up and slowing down. Pressing the pedal will make the car move, as usual, but lifting your foot off the accelerator pedal will slow your car down just like hitting the brakes. This is called regenerative braking in electric vehicles. However, it depends on what level have you set the regenerative braking. For example, in KIA EV6 you have 6 levels, none, 1,2,3, i-pedal, and auto mode. If you set the regenerative mode to i-pedal in KIA EV6 you will have one pedal driving, other levels will slow your car down, but will not completely stop your vehicle.
At first, you will find it hard to adjust to one-pedal driving, cause it may feel like parking brakes have been accidentally left on. But it is really helpful in traffic where you have to move inch by inch. It is always better to control it with one pedal rather than swapping your foot back and forth between pedals.
Our regular internal combustion engine also has this technology, it is called engine braking. As you lift your foot off your accelerator pedal car starts to slow down, but it is not really strong enough to stop your vehicle to a standstill.
How Does It Work?
In our regular cars when brakes are pressed, the brake pads clamp onto the metal disc which creates friction converting the kinetic energy into waste heat energy. But an electric car runs like a generator, it recovers the wasted energy from the brakes and top-ups the battery. It depends on the regenerative capabilities of the designed car. These regenerative brakes will stop your car to zero, you only need to use the brake pedal in an emergency situation.
The accelerator does all the job, it depends on the amount of pressure applied on the pedal. For eg, from a stop, if you press the accelerator pedal the electric motor will send the power to the wheels and your car will accelerate. Continue to press the accelerator pedal and the car consistently applies forward thrust. Coasting can be achieved by removing some pressure from the pedal, it takes time to adjust to coasting mode. As you achieve the coasting mode it will be displayed on the screen. Releasing the accelerator pedal, even more, will initiate the braking and turn on the brake lights indicating to the car behind you that your car is slowing down.
Brake energy recuperation in the BMW i3 does not work strongly at highway speeds cause it is speed-sensitive. But it is strong enough at lower speeds to make your car completely stop. For higher speeds, you can use your regular brakes to stop your car.
Car technology is drastically changing day by day, with electric cars, autopilot, self-driving cars, and one-pedal driving. We expect more advancement in the near future.