People familiar with electric cars or hybrids may also be familiar with the concept of regenerative braking, in which deceleration sends energy back to the car's battery. This in turn allows drivers to go longer distances before recharging the battery. Chevy has taken the idea of regenerative braking a step further, creating a system in the Bolt EV that in certain situations allows drivers to brake without ever touching the pedal.
Chevy is banking that people who are energy-conscious enough to buy an electric car are also willing to take on a whole new driving experience and add an estimated 5% to their battery life.
The Bolt EV has a Regen on Demand paddle behind the steering wheel that slows down the vehicle beyond that achieved by deceleration alone. Regen on Demand is not new to Chevy, the paddle is also available on the Chevy Bolt. The combination of a new Low gear and the use of the paddle is what brings drivers of the Bolt EV into new territory.
Bolt EV drivers have four options to choose from in order to regenerate power and send it to the battery. The first option is to leave the car in Drive and decelarate, which is standard in many electric cars. They can also keep the car in Drive and use the Regen on Demand paddle to slow the vehicle. The innovation on the Bolt EV is the availability of a Low Gear that uses less energy than Drive. This allows Bolt EV owners to keep the car in Low and decelerate to send even more power to the battery, or to use the Low gear in combination with the Regen on Demand paddle to maximize regeneration. Electrik Using the last three options, drivers in the right conditions can avoid the brake pedal altogether.
While some people may not be able to fathom skipping the brake pedal, according to Chevy Chief Engineer Josh Tavel, "Bolt EV customers who want an engaging driving experience will love the thrill of one-pedal driving. They will be able to tailor the vehicle to their preferred driving style and maximize their range." AutoGuide While it may take some getting used to, Bolt EV drivers in stop and go traffic can combine deceleration with the Regen on Demand paddle and avoid the repeated use of the brake pedal. This not only creates more energy to send to the battery, it reduces wear and tear on the standard braking system to prolong its life.
Not everyone who buys a Bolt EV will give up using the brake pedal, but for those who want to extend the life of their batteries and experience something new, the innovations on the Bolt EV give them a different option. Regenerative braking is not new, Chevy has simply taken it to the next level and given drivers the option to add up to 5% to its 200-mile range between charges. For those willing to take the time to practice using the paddle, driving the Bolt EV could mean leaving the brake pedal unless absolutely necessary.