Daniel Susco
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Chevy Bolt to Offer One-Pedal Driving Modes

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Bolt information display

Photo: ©General Motors

Part of the appeal of electric vehicles is the fact that stop-and-go traffic actually “refuels” the car due to a nifty thing known as regenerative braking. This works by, rather than pressing pads to metal rotors and letting friction slow the car’s wheels, allowing the wheels to push back on the drive train and generate electricity which is stored back in the battery.

For EV producers, the question becomes “How much regenerative braking should we apply, and how much should be disc brakes?” Some do this with systems which calculate how hard the brakes are pressed and how strong the stopping force needs to be. The Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid made regenerative braking more of a personal choice by offering a Regen on Demand paddle behind the steering wheel to allow drivers to engage the regenerative brakes when they like and as strong as they like, while also offering driving modes that take over that function.

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For the new Bolt EV, though, Chevy decided that it would cover both sides of regenerative braking. On the one hand, it will continue to use the Regen on Demand paddle that was so popular on the Volt. On the other, the Bolt will feature four selectable driving modes that offer progressively stronger regenerative braking: regular Drive Mode, Drive Mode using the Regen paddle, Low mode, and Low mode using the Regen paddle. Drive offers the lease regenerative braking, while Low mode offers much stronger regenerative braking.

This offers drivers a very interesting ability in certain circumstances: one-pedal driving. In situations like heavy traffic, researchers found that modes with high regenerative braking could actually stop the car without pressing the brake pedal, allowing the driver to essentially proceed by only using the accelerator, while putting charge back in the battery at the same time.

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