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One pedal to drive them all: next-gen Nissan LEAF development

Nissan LEAF e-Pedal Source: Nissan

Nissan will be installing a single, multi-purpose e-pedal in the LEAF’s upcoming second generation release.

The automaker responsible for the hugely popular Nissan LEAF has revealed a new feature to be installed when the EV is released in September. Nissan has been working hard to generate buzz for the LEAF and the e-pedal is sure to add to the hype. But is one-pedal drive really a good idea?

The e-pedal will be responsible for every momentum-based function apart from actually starting the car. Nissan is promising that its invention will be responsible for 90% of “driving needs”. The current LEAF sports range-maximising features, including variable regenerative braking, regulating speed and minimising rapid acceleration. Presumably, the 90% coverage comes from the e-pedal automatically engaging these features as far as possible. If so, the other 10% would account for driving style and situational issues.

The e-pedal will allow users to press to accelerate, press harder to speed up, release pressure to slow down, and release completely to stop. It will be capable of stopping and starting on hills without losing functionality.

Nissan is calling this invention a key milestone towards the company’s “ongoing commitment to bring accessible, advanced driver assistance technologies to the mainstream.” The e-pedal is part of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility blueprint which is aiming to integrate safe and enjoyable technologies into driving possibilities.

However, there is little information on exactly how the e-pedal achieves its levels of response. The most concerning problem is that there is no information on how quickly the car will be able to brake and accelerate. There is also no mention of how and where the e-pedal has been tested.

Nissan also describes the one-pedal system as “making the the process of driving more exciting…simpler and more engaging.” There is the possibility that, by limiting the amount of thought going into the driving process, drivers run the risk of complacency rather than engagement. Similarly, a multi-pedal system has been place for almost 150 years. Yet, Nissan hasn’t disclosed on whether or not it will be implementing driver re-training for those who are used to having a brake, accelerator, and clutch.

It is clearly important to Nissan to place itself ahead of the game, in order to maintain its position as an EV market leader. However, until it can clarify important safety and logistic details, Nissan needs to be careful of making the next-gen LEAF less of a marketing gimmick and more of a legitimate step forward for the future of EVs.

 

 

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