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What is Nissan’s e-Pedal system?

When the second-generation Nissan Leaf debuted as a 2018 model nearly four years ago, it came with a bunch of cool driver aids to help reduce the stress of your commute. One of them is e-Pedal, a system that teaches you how to one-pedal drive the car through all types of road conditions. You may be wondering, how does the system work? What allows it to bring the Leaf to a complete stop without using the mechanical brakes? Here’s a rundown explaining just that.

In the simplest sense, e-Pedal uses regenerative braking to slow the car down. The moment you ease off the accelerator your speed will start to drop. If you suddenly take your foot off the throttle, you’ll immediately get full regenerative braking. This will slow down the vehicle quickly because of how rapidly the battery is sucking up the kinetic energy and storing it as electricity. To balance the stopping power between regenerative and mechanical braking, the brake pedal gets slightly more resistance with e-Pedal active to get you used to one-pedal driving. That gives only a small amount of mechanical stopping power from the brake pads because of how strong the regenerative braking is.

Nissan’s e-Pedal also helps you accelerate smoothly from a standstill. When you turn the system on, the throttle response is slightly delayed, causing the car to move off the line in a relaxed manner. Torque output in the Leaf is also limited from a standstill to ensure maximum grip from the eco-focused tires. This teaches you how to modulate the throttle, enabling you to accelerate and decelerate with just the accelerator. On winding roads, the e-Pedal’s benefits become apparent because you don’t need to hit the brake pedal to slow down for a turn. All you need to do is lift off slightly, allowing you to maintain momentum.

Location of the e-Pedal activation button on Leaf. Photo credit: Nissan

Think of e-Pedal as a training tool, a way to teach drivers new to EVs how to drive as efficiently as possible. You don’t need to motor around under the speed limit on the highway when you’re behind the wheel of a Leaf or any Nissan model equipped with e-Pedal. This system helps you get used to all the little nuances of an electrified vehicle. Once you’ve fully adapted, you can turn e-Pedal off, allowing you to drive the car without the extra assistance it provides.

Although the Leaf is currently the only Nissan in the U.S. to feature e-Pedal, future electrified models are going to get it too. The upcoming Ariya compact electric crossover is going to get the system when it launches here in late 2021 as a 2022 model. Expect only all-electric models to get the system. Nissan vehicles with the e-Power hybrid system aren’t equipped with e-Pedal, likely due to the smaller battery size. Should Nissan offer plug-in hybrids with larger batteries than its self-charging counterparts, e-Pedal could be used on those applications too.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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