How do I drive an electric car with one pedal?

One-pedal driving is a brilliant additional benefit with electric cars. Instead of using the brake pedal (don’t worry, you still get one), simply lifting off the accelerator will cause the car to slow appreciably.

You can modulate this by not entirely removing your foot from the pedal, so you don’t get the full effect. Or, at traffic lights, you can coast to a complete stop without using the brake at all.

What’s the point of one-pedal driving?

One-pedal driving works by using the regeneration effect of the electric motor. It can run in reverse, switching from an electric motor to an electricity generator. The friction both creates electricity and slows down the vehicle.

So-called ‘regenerative braking’ can help recharge the car batteries, and offer you a bit of extra range. It won’t make a massive difference, but it’s something many electric motorists get used to and value – particularly for town use, where it also makes driving easier.

One-pedal driving doesn’t suit every situation. On a motorway, for example, you may not want a braking effect every time you lift off in the ebb and flow of traffic. And the ability to coast down a long motorway incline is lost, too.

However, there is always the option to switch the system off – and often vary the amount of braking. The Honda e, for example, has paddles behind the steering wheel that allow three levels of regenerative braking, according to your preference.

Nissan, meanwhile, has a dedicated ‘e-Pedal’ dashboard button for one-pedal driving.

Nissan Leaf e-Pedal graphic

Does every electric car offer one-pedal driving?

No, older and cheaper models don’t have this feature. But many hybrid cars do, incidentally.

Is it hard getting used to one-pedal driving?

It’s different, certainly, but even if your car is equipped with a one-pedal system, you can always switch it off and use the brake pedal in the traditional manner.

The reality, though, is that within half-an-hour most drivers will have acclimatised to one-pedal driving, and will view it as a benefit.

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