How many pedals does your car have? If you drive automatic, it probably has only two. If your car has a manual transmission, you need three pedals. Electric cars typically have only two pedals – one for accelerating and one for braking. But Nissans thinks it is just one too many and its new upcoming Leaf will go around using just one pedal. How? And why?
Nissan Leaf is the most popular electric car in the world. But it had to be – it basically did not have competition when it came out. Now there are some serious contenders from Tesla, Opel, Audi and other brands, so Nissan has to keep pushing forwards to remain on top of the game. And it looks like it is serious about it. Nissan juts revealed that it will be possible to drive the upcoming Leaf using juts one pedal for accelerating and braking. The technology is called e-Pedal and you can turn it on at any given moment. What does it do?
Typically, you accelerate with the right pedal and brake with the left one. e-Pedal will allow you to do both tasks with one pedal. When it is pressed, you will accelerate. When you reduce the pressure on the pedal, slowly letting it go up, you will decelerate. And if you let go of the pedal completely, you will come to a stop. As simple as that. Your car already works a little bit like it, but you still have to brake when you want to stop quicker – letting go of the accelerator does not equal pressing the brakes. But Leaf is an electric car and it reacts differently to letting go of the pedal slightly. It has regenerative braking, which slows down the car quite a bit, e-Pedal technology just brings it that one step further.
Nissan says that 90 % of driving tasks can be reliably completed using the e-Pedal. It will even hold you stopped on an incline and will stop rapidly in a city. What is it for? Nissan says that e-Pedal is meant to increase enjoyment of driving.
Putting your foot on two pedals at the correct time is not that hard, really, but it may be tiring driving in a stop-and-go traffic. Leaving your foot on one pedal is just that little bit more relaxing, easier and, potentially, safer. However, Nissan says it is also more enjoyable and engaging. That remains to be seen, but drivers like doing manual tasks by themselves. Driving enthusiasts prefer manual gearboxes for that reason, so it is not clear if one pedal operation will not make it dull.
It will be interesting to see what the new Nissan Leaf is going to be like. It is obviously a very important car for the brand and could be an electric vehicle of choice, if price is right.