All You Need to Know About One Pedal Driving

One pedal driving is the ability to accelerate and stop using just one pedal, as opposed to two.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
If you drive an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), you’ll likely be able to utilize one pedal driving, which means that you’ll be able to stop and go using only the accelerator. You’ll barely have to use the hydraulic brake pedal at all (except in emergencies of course). 
Electric vehicles
and PHEVs are able to use one pedal driving due to the revolutionary technology of regenerative braking.
Because we know you’re curious like a cat, the
car insurance
has put together everything you need to know about one pedal driving!
rating reverse-full
"I’m earning
awesome rewards
every week, just for driving safe!”

Regenerative braking, explained

This technology allows one pedal driving to happen, so here’s how it works: 
  • Your electric vehicle’s forward motion (acceleration) generates kinetic energy
  • The vehicle’s motor takes that energy and converts it into electricity
  • When the vehicle brakes, this stored electricity is used to recharge the battery at the same time
  • During regeneration, the vehicle’s magnetic resistance increases, thus creating braking force
  • The increased friction in the drivetrain slows the car to a stop

How one pedal driving works

This cool little feature works just like it sounds—you use the accelerator to both accelerate and to stop the car. Only use this feature when the traffic is light or non-existent, as you’ll need some distance and a bit of time to safely stop as you ease your foot off the gas and allow the car to brake.
Most PHEVs and EVs have a push button that turns the one pedal driving feature on and off. Here are the mechanics of what happens when you turn on one pedal driving in electric cars:
  • As you ease off the gas, the vehicle will brake with the approximate force of 0.2g, which is roughly equivalent to 20% of the full braking force
  • The car will naturally slow down as if you’re applying the brake pedal
  • Once fully stopped, the vehicle’s hydraulic brakes kick in to keep the car stopped—just hit the gas again when you’re ready to accelerate

Getting used to one pedal driving

Becoming familiar with one pedal driving requires practice and time. You’ll need to get accustomed to judging whether you have enough distance and time to ease off the gas and let the car brake on its own. You’ll need to release the pedal at the right time to ensure you slow down and stop safely.
When in one pedal drive mode, your brake lights will light up when you take your foot off the gas.
Key Takeaway You’ll need practice and patience in order to master one pedal driving, so take it slow and only use this mode when there’s light or no traffic.

Use hydraulic braking system in an emergency

In an emergency, always use the hydraulic brake system if you need to stop quickly, even if you’re in one pedal driving mode. You can override the one pedal driving mode with the hydraulic braking system at any time.
During an emergency, you won’t have time to ease off the gas and let the one pedal braking system slow you down—use the hydraulic brakes to stop quickly. Knowing when to use your standard brakes can save your life.

The benefits of using a one pedal driving system

Using the one pedal driving system consistently can unleash a slew of benefits, such as:
  • Extending your EV’s range
  • Extending your hydraulic braking system’s life
  • Lessening the wear and tear on your hydraulic braking system
  • Reducing air pollution—less hydraulic brake usage means less brake dust in the air
  • Enjoying the convenience of one pedal driving without the annoyance of switching between the gas and brake pedals—unless there’s an emergency, of course
  • Smoother braking and stops 
  • With practice, one pedal driving is a much more relaxing way to drive
MORE: 4 things that impact your EV's range

Protect your EV or PHEV with Jerry

Driving a car with one pedal driving mode is a treat, so be sure to protect your vehicle with an expansive (but not expensive) car insurance policy by using
Sign-up takes just 45 seconds, and then this
trustworthy super app
compares quotes from more than 50 of the country’s best insurers for you. Once you pick your policy, Jerry will sign you up and cancel your old policy. Best of all, Jerry users save an average of $800+ per year on car insurance!
has amazing communication! And even better deals! Thanks to Jerry, I went from $327 to $182 on my payments. I’m so grateful!” —Kim T.
Make safe driving pay
Get rewarded for safe driving. Earn points and unlock benefits. Totally free.
Start earning now
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings