Sunday, May 15, 2011
Right or Left Pedal? Where Do You Want Your Regen?
This is something that most people would never even think of and really have no use for when driving an internal combustion engine vehicle. You've got all the energy you need squishing around in your gas tank waiting to be set on fire so it can release that energy and propel the vehicle. However electric cars need to be as energy efficient as possible since they can only store a limited amount of electricity without becoming prohibitively expensive and heavy, since the more batteries you carry the more the car will cost and the more it will weigh, and decrease the vehicles efficiency.
Most people I know are a bit apprehensive when they first drive a car with regen. If the regen is activated by the left(or normal brake) pedal then you probably won't too notice much of a difference. However if you drive an EV with right (accelerator) pedal regen than your initial impression is probably that it definitely feels wrong, especially if it has strong regen like the MINI-E does. After driving your whole life in a car that doesn't have it, it really seems unnatural.
However after driving with it for only a short while, I came to really love it. Now, when I drive a car that doesn't have regen, I feel like somethings missing. I have driven cars with both right and left pedal regen and I definitely prefer to have it actuated by the right pedal. I can really do about 90% of my driving with one foot and it makes the driving experience a bit more sporty in my opinion. Slowing down for a curve in the road or to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you only requires you to gradually back off the accelerator. If you need to slow down more quickly, then just back off the accelerator completely and the regen fully engages and slows you down pretty quickly while sending some juice back to the battery pack. Of course if it's a situation that requires you to stop really abruptly, you always have the mechanical brakes to step on and quickly come to a halt.
Most people I know that have EV's say they prefer right pedal regen, and BMW believes that having it on the right pedal is the way to go also, as the MINI-E and the soon to be released ActiveE both have their regen on the right pedal. There are some people out there that have stated their opinions to the contrary though and say they want EV's to be as much like their gas powered cars as possible, and want all the braking, regenerative included, on the left pedal.
I believe that most people, if given the opportunity to drive an EV with right pedal regen would choose it over left and most of the people calling for it on the left pedal simply haven't driven a car for any period of time with right pedal regen, because if they did, they would prefer it that way. Anyone care to chime in on this debate?