2022 Chevy Bolt EUV Brake Energy Recapture Test- Mt. Washington New Hampshire
One of the best parts of living electric is the ability to use one-pedal driving and to recoup braking energy via electric regeneration (technically just generation). The all-new 2022 Chevrolet Bolt has a nifty one-pedal driving button to help make capturing the most energy very easy. Chevy puts the button in plain sight near the gear selector and it is locking, meaning you don’t have to hit it again when you reenter the vehicle.
We joined a GM-sponsored Chevy Bolt Electric Utility Vehicle (EUV) event in New Hampshire this week to learn every detail possible about the new Bolt EUV. We have a more comprehensive report coming once our images are ready for publication, but wanted to highlight the brake energy recapture in this story.
One Pedal Driving - What Is It?
One pedal driving is a drive mode where the EV you are in uses its electric motors aggressively to recapture energy when you slow down. You rarely need the brake the system works so seamlessly. If you prefer the old-fashioned feeling of a car that glides to a stop, the Bolt EUV has that mode too.
One Pedal Driving - Why Bother?
By enabling one-pedal driving you can capture more of the energy that would otherwise be lost to your friction brakes. And the amount is meaningful. We started up Mt. Washington with 248 miles of range estimated by the vehicle. Of course, that would be for normal driving. Gaining six thousand feet of elevation in eight miles is anything but normal. During our drive up, the Bolt’s awesome torque was on full display. We enabled Sport Mode and the Bolt EUV pulled like a coal-powered train. One of which still runs up and down the mountain every day. And boy can you smell the pollution from it at the top.
At the top of the mountain, our range estimation display was 190 miles. Heading down, we barely used the friction brakes, tapping them just twice when we were surprised by other drivers. When we got to the bottom, our range estimation displayed was 233 miles. All the way down we put energy back into our battery. There are signs all the way up and all the way down warning you to use low gear and to stop to allow your brakes to cool. And the signs are no joke. We could smell the friction brakes of the old-school gas-powered SUV ahead of us all the way down.
The amount of energy wasted by vehicles that don’t capture brake energy is staggering. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric vehicles all use this method to earn their amazing MPGe ratings from the EPA.
So, sure the energy savings are great. But what’s even better is not boiling the fluid in your car’s lousy CVT, smelling your brake pads fry, or feeling your brake rotors warp.
EVs have so many advantages they are hard to count. One of the biggest is the ability to put energy back into the vehicle’s energy storage unit (battery). When you shop for your next EV, be sure the one you check out has one pedal driving and a locking switch so you don’t have to enable it every time you drive.
Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin