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GM Has a New One-Pedal Driving System, No Paddle Shifters Are Involved

GM’s new one-pedal driving system will bring more peace of mind for new all-electric buyers. The tide has officially changed in favor of EVs, and it will remain like this for years to come, so making these vehicles simpler and more intuitive is a target that American carmakers have set for their products. You may not believe it, but GM’s invention is very useful.
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Paddle shifters, paddle switches, or flappy paddles are used to describe the same thing. These two sometimes plastic, sometimes metal parts started life as means for shifting gears faster. The technology derived from Formula 1, but, after a decade, it made its way onto cheaper cars too. BMW, for example, offers this option on almost all its Steptronic Sport-equipped vehicles.

But with EVs that have no gearbox coming onto internal combustion engine architectures, some manufacturers decided it would be ok to keep them. Their original role was replaced with that of establishing how much regenerative braking the driver wishes to have. They’re still engraved with plus and minus signs. But on EVs, the flappy paddles just help you decide how strong you want the recuperation to be.

General Motors (GM) thinks the era of all-electric cars doesn’t need these paddle shifters put on the steering column. That’s why the American automaker patented a new one-pedal driving system that still has the adaptive regenerative capability. The company anticipates that “drivers might prefer a simpler interface for optimally controlling regenerative braking than the combinate of an accelerator pedal and a steering wheel paddle.”

GM doesn’t want to let its future cars feel, as they put it, “jerky.”

The carmaker’s new one-pedal driving system comprises one new sensor that can collect data and tell the computer what's happening. The machine can anticipate if you’re preparing to decelerate or brake. And, of course, there's a motor or generator that can generate traction torque (essentially helping you stop without using the braking system), and a processor that is programmed to execute different instructions based on what that new sensor tells it about the environment and the driver.

The particularities of this new system can be read in the attached USPTO filing down below, but what you need to remember now is that GM’s new one-pedal driving will eliminate column paddle shifters in favor of a computer that knows what you’re going to do and tells the electric motor to act accordingly. Data is analyzed extremely fast, and the decision to provide more or less traction torque is taken by the system, not by the driver. This system helps with navigating around town or on longer trips with ease. You’ll enjoy the maximum recuperation possible without having to manually set it up yourself.
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 Download: GM's Patent for Its New One-Pedal Driving System (PDF)

About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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