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GM announces Bolt EV’s ‘one pedal’ driving with regenerative braking

Chevy bolt EV energy screen

Today, GM officially announced the Bolt EV’s capacity for ‘one pedal’ driving with customizable regenerative braking settings. While the capacity to drive only or mostly using the accelerator pedal, commonly known as the gas pedal, is not entirely new in electric vehicles, GM is pushing the idea a little further in the Bolt EV with different driving modes to get the most out of the experience.

Regenerative braking, the ability to recoup energy during deceleration, is one of the coolest things about electric vehicles because it offers so many advantages. It’s great from an energy standpoint since you get energy from deceleration, which would generally be lost from friction on  your brake pads, but consequently, you are also preserving your mechanical brakes.

It’s also an interesting driving experience and while it may take some getting used to, from my experience talking with EV drivers every day, most find it to be more enjoyable than using the brakes.

The regenerative braking engages automatically when easing off the accelerator. But like in the Chevy Volt, the Bolt EV has a ‘Regen on Demand paddle’ on the steering wheel that significantly increase the capacity of the regen.

In the Bolt, you can combine the paddle with different driving modes to get what the Bolt EV’s Chief Engineer, Josh Tavel, calls “one-pedal driving”.

GM breaks the combinations down from the lowest level of regen braking to the highest level:

  1. Operating in Drive and easing off the accelerator.
  2. Operating in Drive and using the Regen on Demand paddle on the back of the steering wheel.
  3. Operating in Low and easing off the accelerator.
  4. Operating in Low and using the Regen on Demand paddle in tandem.

Depending on your timing and the driving conditions, you could drive only using the accelerator pedal and the ‘Regen on Demand paddle’ on the steering wheel with the modes 2 through 4. Of course, you should always be ready to use the brake pedal in case of an emergency.

chevy bolt regen

Tavel on the new feature:

“Bolt EV customers who want an engaging driving experience will love the thrill of one-pedal driving.  They will be able to tailor the vehicle to their preferred driving style and maximize their range.”

Through its own internal testings, GM found that the one-pedal driving can add “up to 5 percent of range to the Bolt EV in heavy stop-and-go traffic” compared to the regular regen.

The $37,500 Bolt EV is expected to achieve a range of over 200 miles on a single charge. It will go in production by the end of the year for deliveries in the US.

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