NISSAN wants you to forget about the brake pedal. For its next-generation Leaf electric car, the Japanese automaker reckons owners will rarely ever need to slide their right foot across to the brake thanks to something it calls the e-Pedal.
Using a lower-case ‘e’ as a prefix is a well-worn cliché, but don’t be fooled – there won’t be anything unusual lurking in the footwell of the new Leaf. The e-Pedal is, after all, a re-branded accelerator pedal, nothing more. The difference lies in the electronic gubbins that it controls.
In “simple terms”, or rather the kind of language that hasn’t been embellished by suit-wearing marketing types, the e-Pedal is actually a high-regen mode for the new Leaf’s electrified drivetrain. Flip a switch to engage the e-Pedal function, and the car will maximise the amount of energy it recoups from the car’s forward motion. The more you reduce your pressure on the accelerator, the faster the car slows down.
It’s kinda like a BMW i3 in its high-regenerative braking mode, or a battery-powered forklift, if you’re a little too blue-collar for BMW’s carbon-framed treehugger.
A conventional brake pedal will still sit next to the e-Pedal, but Nissan asserts the Leaf’s regenerative braking force is strong enough that you won’t need to touch the brakes 90 percent of the time. If you release the e-Pedal entirely, the Leaf will slow to a halt and even hold itself in place on steep hills.
If you’re the kind of person who rages against the gradual extinction of the clutch pedal, Nissan’s assertion that the brake pedal is about to become pretty much redundant should have you frothing at the mouth.
The 2018 Nissan Leaf will make its global debut on September 6.