We recently shared with you how the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV – the one with the updated 66-kWh battery that promises more range – performs in the cold. Now we want to show you how you can drive your GM electric car using only the throttle thanks to its clever regenerative braking system. It allows the electric motor to turn in the opposite direction to create resistance while sending electricity back into the battery. Here’s how it works.
While the Chevrolet Bolt EV is starting to show its age in its segment, it’s still holding its own in the EV game. More recent contenders like the updated Nissan LEAF offer what they call an e-Pedal, while the Korean trio of electric cars – the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV and Kia Soul EV – offers the possibility of alternating between three levels of regenerative braking. These systems slow the vehicle down so hard that they allow you to drive your electric car without using the brake pedal at all.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV has a different way of going at it. Some automotive outlets complain about the fact that the Bolt is rudimentary for not offering such a gimmick, but it’s actually possible to obtain similar results in the Chevy. Here’s how.By default, when the car’s transmission is set to D, releasing the car’s throttle will create mild regenerative resistance. This slows down the car somewhat, and sends an average of 10 to 16 kW of energy back into the battery. You nevertheless still need to use to car’s brakes in order to bring the vehicle to a full stop.GM also equipped the Bolt with a tiny paddle located on the left side of the steering wheel. Pull and hold it, and you’ll double that resistance, sending an average of 25 to 30 kW of energy into the battery. However, contrary to the LEAF’s e-Pedal, you still can’t control the entire car’s braking performance using only the paddle. You’ll still need to use the physical brakes. To achieve one pedal driving, set the Bolt’s transmission to the L position. This will engage maximum regenerative braking while sending up to 60 kW of energy back into the batteries. In this feature, the car can entirely be brought to a stop using no brakes at all. Additionally, one can still use the Bolt’s paddle for even more resistance. The 2020 Chevrolet EV can therefore be driven using only one pedal like you can in a LEAF or a Niro EV.
Such driving habits will not only increase overall battery range, but also ration your physical brakes, further extending their lifespan. However, it’s recommended to remove the regenerative system during long highway driving, as it adds negative resistance and decreases range over time.