YOKOHAMA, Japan — One of Nissan's newest technologies, the go-cartlike e-Pedal, is pitched as an ecofeature in the company's greenest car, the second-generation Leaf electric vehicle.
But e-Pedal, which turns the car's gas pedal into a combined accelerator-brake, actually began life as a performance-enhancing technology prototyped for sportier driving in the Maxima sedan.
And it shows. Even in the mild-mannered Leaf, e-Pedal turns the car into a wheel- squealing cornering artist. That wasn't the original goal, but it is a pleasantly surprising bonus.
"It's great for performance, not just eco-energy savings," said Naoki Miyashita, the engineer who developed e-Pedal. "One of the Leaf's new characteristics is fun and dynamic driving."
E-Pedal debuted in the current-generation Leaf when the flagship EV was redesigned last fall. It allows convenient one-pedal driving.
Push down on the pedal, and the car speeds up. Lift off, and it slows — even to a complete stop, and even on hills.
Nissan says e-Pedal can cover 90 percent of a driver's needs, alleviating the stress of pivoting your foot between brake and accelerator.
That will serve drivers in stop-and-go traffic, but it also will boost the EV's battery because e-Pedal initially slows the vehicle through the grip of its regeneration brakes, not the friction ones.