These Electric Cars Offer One-Pedal Driving
Your daily commute can be easier in an EV that both accelerates and slows down using one pedal.
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One-pedal driving is a side-benefit of many electric cars. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll appreciate how it simplifies your daily commute. Letting off the accelerator can provide mild to almost-aggressive slowing, depending on the vehicle and setup. Some models even allow you to select the intensity of the one-pedal effect.
One-pedal driving takes the near-instantaneous acceleration of a battery-fed electric motor system, and turns up the regenerative braking system used to recapture some of the energy expended to bring the car to a stop.
Nearly every hybrid and all EVs on the market offer regenerative braking, but a true one-pedal-driving mode usually allows you to fully stop the vehicle, in addition to accelerating, with just the accelerator pedal. Let up on the virtual “gas” pedal as you approach a stopping point, and the car slows with brake lights illuminated to let drivers behind you know you’re slowing as though you’ve applied your brakes.
While it’s convenient, especially for stop-and-go city driving, the one-pedal routine has some limitations. In an emergency, you’ll still have to stomp firmly on the traditional friction-brake pedal—yes, it’s still there—as the regenerative braking will be inadequate for panic-stopping.
The system is also not recommended when driving in snow or on rain-soaked roads, as those conditions may confuse the car’s sensors. You’ll also find one-pedal driving challenging to use while descending a steep incline, as the vehicle cannot coast while regeneration is active. You may have to disable one-pedal mode if you’re taking a scenic mountain drive, though you can still recharge your battery by lightly applying the car’s brakes.
Here’s an overview of some of the EVs offering one-pedal driving.
2023 Audi e-tron
The sleek and speedy Audi e-tron, starting around $72,000, comes with Quattro all-wheel drive and Audi’s tradition of Autobahn-worthy motoring. With 402 electric horsepower and a range of 226 miles plus a cool digital cockpit, you activate one-pedal driving through the MMI interface’s Efficiency Assist settings. Drivers can dynamically select a level of regenerative braking with the e-tron’s paddle shifters and the car’s three-level regenerative braking settings in manual mode. However, active foot-pedal braking is required to bring the vehicle to a complete stop.
2023 Cadillac Lyriq
The first step in an electrified future for Cadillac, the Lyriq SUV offers high-class amenities like an in-dash “jewelry box,” an ultra-wide instrument panel, and the new Super Cruise hands-free driving technology. Starting around $64,000, the Lyriq can get as much as 312 miles of range and can be ordered with all-wheel drive. One-pedal driving is standard. 2023 Lyric orders are full, but Cadillac will gladly accept pre-orders for the 2024 model today.
2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV
Chevy’s pioneering, mass-market Bolt helped introduce many people to the positives of electric motoring. It’s a pleasant but basic EV experience that dropped by almost $6,000 in price, making it the most affordable new EV at just under $28,000 with 259 miles of range. The Bolt EUV gains a few inches in wheelbase and length, giving it greater passenger and cargo volume with a starting price of just above $28,000. Press a button on the Bolt EV or Bolt EUV’s console to activate one-pedal driving or pull on the regeneration-on-demand paddle behind the wheel to help provide more foot-free braking power.
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
Praised for its practical application of EV technology built into America’s long-time best-selling pickup, the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning starts at just under $42,000. When equipped with the extended-range battery, it can deliver up to 320 miles of rip-roaring power – up to 580 horsepower, which is quite the kick in the pants for a full-sized truck. When activated, the one-pedal driving mode will methodically slow the vehicle to a completed stop when you let up on the accelerator pedal. More practically, you can use the vehicle’s battery and generator system to help power your home during an electrical outage or as a power source for contractors and construction projects.
2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Your parents may have never imagined an electric Mustang that was also an SUV, but the 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E (starting around $45,000) does an excellent job of mixing pony-car style and sportiness with up to 314 miles of electric range. A higher-output 480-horsepower system in the GT trim makes it a livelier ride with its distinctive full-cabin, glass, panoramic roof and Ford’s Blue Cruise hands-free driving system as nice features. Select “1-Pedal Drive” on the central input screen and Mach-E will also slowly come to a complete stop when you step off the accelerator.
2023 Hyundai Kona Electric
The compact Hyundai Kona crossover, already a solid player as a gasoline-engine vehicle, seems to offer the perfect size for a 201-hp EV, which starts around $35,000. Kona’s navigation system provides a helpful geographic map showing your total traveling distance within Kona’s maximum 258-mile electric range. You’ll need to pull and hold the left steering wheel paddle to engage regenerative braking for one-pedal driving.
2023 Kia EV6
Like its Korean sibling, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia’s EV6 brings the positives of all-electric driving in a comfortably sized and futuristically designed package. Priced at nearly $43,000, the EV6 will get up to 310 miles of range, and a dual-motor AWD version is good for 320 horsepower (a high-output, 576-horsepower GT version is also coming). Pulling the left steering wheel paddle four times activates the iPedal one-pedal driving system. Similar to the F-150 Lightning, you can use the EV6 to provide power to your home during an electrical outage.
2023 Nissan Leaf
As one of the originators of the EV revolution, Nissan’s Leaf continues to provide a low-cost, roughly $29,000 entry point for electric car newcomers. And with its e-pedal system, the vehicle is easily controlled by the accelerator only. The Leaf boasts a range of 212 miles on its SV Plus model, which features an upgraded 60-kilowatt-hour battery, and because of its small size, the electric boost can still help the car fly away at a green light.
2022 Tesla Model S
The ultra-speedy Tesla Model S (starting around $106,000) features one-pedal driving supplemented with mind-blowing power. The “base” model comes with 670 horsepower and a range of up to 405 miles. The 1,020-horsepower Model S Plaid version can do 0-60 in under two seconds but is also rated by the EPA with 396 miles of range, if you refrain from doing too many 0-60 mph runs. Known for its quirky features, Tesla’s Model S features an airplane-styled, two-handled steering yoke, plus a tilting 17-inch touchscreen in the cockpit.
2023 Volvo XC40
Volvo was the first legacy automaker to commit to an all-electric lineup. Starting at about $55,000, the 2023 Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric and the more coupe-like C40 Recharge SUV are its first models to do so – with 402 horsepower and approximately 223 miles of range. You may appreciate the leather-free interior, the Google operating system, and the air purifier. You can activate one-pedal drive via the center display, and the XC40 will use regenerative braking to bring the car to a stop.
2023 Polestar 2
For a more performance-oriented version of the XC40’s underlying technology, the Polestar 2 from Volvo’s sibling brand, priced at nearly $50,000, offers the same one-pedal versatility with simplified controls and displays, but with optional performance tires to maximize all that EV torque.