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Bear Flat Dispatch: One pedal driving

Since being exposed to driving electric, it didn’t take me long to grow a real distaste for driving my fuel guzzling farm truck.
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Ken Boon: "When Arlene’s old clunker needed to be replaced a few years ago, we really wanted to make a cleaner choice but were leery of going fully electric due to various limitations at that time. So we decided that switching to a plug-in hybrid car would work better for us in the north."

With apologize to Don Pettit, who writes an excellent regular column in this paper, I am going to veer into his lane just a tiny bit to talk about one of my favourite features about electric vehicles, and that is one-pedal driving.

When Arlene’s old clunker needed to be replaced a few years ago, we really wanted to make a cleaner choice but were leery of going fully electric due to various limitations at that time. So we decided that switching to a plug-in hybrid car would work better for us in the north. Of the options that were available then, the Chevy Volt was the only one that had a long enough electric range so that most of our town trips could be solely electric with no need for the gas motor to kick in, so we went with it. It has proven to be a great car, and as all people I know who have switched can attest, driving electric is great. With the exponential increase in available fully electric vehicles with increasing range, I would now go fully electric if in the vehicle buying market today.

Since being exposed to driving electric, it didn’t take me long to grow a real distaste for driving my fuel guzzling farm truck. I have been jokingly telling people that jumping into a vehicle with an internal combustion engine anymore makes me feel like a Neanderthal, to which one of my friends said, “But Ken, you don’t need to jump in your truck to feel like that!” Yeah, who needs friends like that?

Living at the bottom of a big hill on Highway 29 as we do at Bear Flat means we often see and smell the aftermath of overworked brakes. With electric vehicles, that big waste of energy from braking is virtually eliminated due to regenerative braking. Even in town between stop lights, as soon as you simply lift your foot off the “gas” pedal in an EV, the vehicle is putting juice back into the battery by taking advantage of that mass rolling forward. When you do actually brake, most of the energy goes into regen instead of actually wearing on the brakes. 

Then, when switched into the one pedal driving mode, there is almost no need to even put your foot on the brake as the vehicle ‘brakes’ when you simply lift your foot off the gas pedal with 100% regen and no brake wear. Only in order to stop faster or come to a full stop do you ever need to apply brake. One pedal driving seems a little weird at first, but very quickly we got to where we only want to drive in that mode, and that is what most other EV drivers have told me too. I would also say that I feel like a Neanderthal when needing to brake, but my friend would probably ridicule me for that one too. So instead, let’s just say that I brake for Neanderthals and leave it at that!

BTW, I apologize to Neanderthals for these jokes. Science is telling us that they were a lot more advanced than previously thought. Who knows but perhaps if they had survived they would have skipped the whole knuckle dragging internal combustion engine thing and advanced to EVs long before us Homo Sapiens in the form of General Motors first killed the electric car 30 years ago? Just saying.


Ken Boon lives and writes at Bear Flat.

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