Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The 2018 Nissan Leaf gets rid of the brake pedal.

I'm not quite sure what Nissan are thinking, but their 2018 Leaf comes with what they call "E-pedal" which is single-pedal driving. One pedal accelerates when you push it, and brakes when you let it go.
Where to begin with all the problems this will cause?
The most obvious is that everyone pushes a brake pedal to stop. Now we have to do the opposite? There's the first lawsuit - people pushing the pedal because that's what you do to stop a car - only in the Leaf, pushing it will make it accelerate because it's actually the accelerator.
How do you coast? I barely ever use the brakes - almost all my slowing down (unless I'm coming to a total stop) is done by letting off the accelerator and coasting using engine drag. In the Leaf, letting off the accelerator will appliy the brakes so - I have to constantly 'wiggle' the single pedal to balance the car between accelerating and braking?
I just can't get my head around this at all. Nissan have apparently included a brake pedal too, but it's disabled by default so you have to enable it every time you get in the car. Even then the e-pedal does most of the work and you only use the brake pedal in an emergency. Again - the muscle-memory to do this is horrendous. You train yourself to brake by lifting off a pedal, but then when you REALLY need to brake, you have to press a pedal. But not the same pedal - no - you have to go back to regular car mode where the ACTUAL brake pedal is properly separate.
I just can't see this lasting much longer than a week after launch without a major software update to disable the e-pedal and permanently activate the brake pedal.


martinwinlow said...

I’m sorry but this is utterly ridiculous! All 4 EVs that I drive regularly (Vectrix VX-1, Aixam Mega City, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Tesla Midel S) can be driven 98% of the time using just the accelerator pedal/twist grip because they all work in a similar way. Stop agonising over the ‘horror’ of having to learn how to do something so apparently wildly different (yet actually extremely simple and completely intuitive) and arrange a test drive, FCOL!. You will discover what everyone who has tried drivng a modern EV finds - that they never want to go back to 19th centuary automobile technology again!

Chris said...

Martin - I've driven a BMW i3 that has this and I hated it. You can't coast. As soon as you take your foot off the pedal, it starts to brake. As much as I dislike Tesla's cars, at least in them you can take your foot off the pedal and coast, slowing down under engine drag. Same with the 1st Gen Nissan Leaf. But to have your foot on the accelerator pedal all the time is an unnatural way to drive, especially if it's now also the brake. I'm sure if you only drive electric, its less of a problem, but switching back and forth between an electric and an ICE it's a real problem.

Paul said...

Hey Chris, it seems you're not doing the blog or CarBibles anymore. Really sorry to hear/see this as I learnt a lot from your content. I also enjoyed some of the discussions we had on No, But Seriously.
I hope all is well and that you've just moved on with a new chapter in your life. Stay safe.

Best Regards