One-pedal driving can improve range by 5 percent, Chevy claims.
Paddles mounted to the steering wheel aren’t only for shifting your high-performance exotic. In the 2017 Chevy Bolt electric car, drivers can use a paddle to activate regenerative braking, and even switch to a special mode that lets them use just one pedal to drive.
Just like the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, the Bolt has a paddle that activates Regen on Demand. When drivers hold the steering wheel-mounted paddle, the car’s regenerative braking system is engaged. That slows the car and charges the batteries without activating the brakes. For more aggressive regen, which will slow the car so much that Chevy says owners can drive in stop-and-go traffic without using the brake pedal, drivers can put the transmission in Low and then activate the paddle.
Chevy officials like to tout this as a fun-to-drive feature for the Bolt, which must be the only time we’ve heard an automaker promise driving excitement from slowing down your car. But the much more important gain is in range. By following the ‘one-pedal driving’ method in urban traffic and using the Regen on Demand function, engineers estimate Bolt owners could improve their driving range by about five percent. The Bolt is estimated to have a 200-mile (321-kilometer) driving range on a single charge of its 60-kWh battery pack.
The 2017 Chevy Bolt goes on sale by the end of this year for $37,500, before any applicable tax credits. Chevy is also planning on offering autonomous versions of the Bolt for ride-sharing company Lyft; we’ve already spotted prototypes of those models testing in San Francisco.