Tested: Gasser Versus Tesla Model X Brake Application Time – Video

5 months ago by Steven Loveday 30

Yet another huge advantage of driving an EV!

This video is outstanding because it sticks right to the point. As you can see, cameras are zoomed in on the pedals of the Tesla Model X and the undisclosed ICE car, counting how many times the driver applies the brakes while driving the exact same route.

All variables aside, you should be able to travel three to four times as far in your Tesla Model X (or other EV) without needing to worry about a brake job.

All variables aside, you should be able to travel three to four times as far in your Tesla Model X (or other EV) without needing to worry about a brake job.

Now You Know assures that you know what they are discussing, with a brief but clear explanation of the exact nature of regenerative braking.

This is another financial gain of having an EV that many people don’t even consider.

If you are only applying your brakes in more dire situations, obviously they are going to last you longer. Not only will you save the money on brake jobs, but also the hassle of dealing with the service center, and your time (which for many of us is perhaps more valuable).

The results show that you will spend about $1,800 in brake work if you drive your ICE car 200,000. There are many variables, including which EV your drive, how you drive, where you drive, etc., but you should be able to travel three to four times as far in your Tesla Model X (or other EV) without needing to worry about a brake job.

Video Description via Now You Know on YouTube:

Welcome back for another episode of Now You Know! Today we have an ICE car vs. Tesla Challenge! We put Sparky in a head to head challenge against Jesse’s ICE car and we time how long each car uses their brakes while driving the same route. Watch can see who comes out on top! 

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31 responses to "Tested: Gasser Versus Tesla Model X Brake Application Time – Video"

  1. DJ says:

    I still say one pedal driving is a less safe way to drive for those of us who don’t live in the city or drive straight roads where one can see for miles.

    I don’t get how two pedal driving like the Volt, Prius, etc. can’t be as efficient and more safe but to each their own I suppose.

    1. dgate says:

      Trying to understand your remark of less safe on straight roads where one can see for miles, how so?

      1. DJ says:

        I drive on a lot of hilly and windy roads with blind corners. Keeping my foot on the accelerator just so that I can coast around the corner and then have to take it off to slam on the brakes because of another car, kid, dog, etc. is less safe than going around the corner with my foot off the accelerator and hovering over the brake pedal.

        I also don’t really see how single pedal driving is measurably more efficient. Coasting is the best use of forward movement and while the Volt, Prius, and others do regen a bit when coasting it isn’t like the Tesla or BMW offerings where you notice it. Sure you can keep your foot on the accelerator to “coast” but in at least my experience you seem to decelerate more than desired at times which wastes electricity. Trying to find the sweet spot is a PITA. It is one thing if you stomp on the brake all the time, that is probably the least efficient but if you brake early when needed how isn’t that the most efficient way to go? Isn’t that basically the same hard regen those cars have anyways??

        1. Will Davis says:

          Your comment demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding to how most EVs are driven. In most EVs with regenerative braking, there is a pedal position you can use for coasting. It’s generally mid-way between throttle and regen. With very little practice you learn where this spot is. Not all cars have this feature, but some also feature varying levels of regen the driver can select, potentially ranging from high to even none whatsoever.

          Choice is never a bad thing.

          By the way, coasting with your foot covering the brake when going downhill is great, but look at it this way: If the car’s regenerating to slow you down as you approach the bend, this isn’t generally a bad thing; the slower you tackle the bend, the more time you DO have to react if something is coming your way on the wrong side of the road.

    2. Mr. M says:

      I don’t know a single person that doesn’t live in the city or somewhere were you can see far.

      To me that covers the whole world of roads.

    3. JimGord says:

      But do you own an EV?
      Most people that I know quickly get used to it very quickly and get very good at judging the distance to a traffic light or stop sign at which point they can use regen to almost stop without brakes at all. This results in almost no brake pad wear.
      Most EVs have selectable regen pressure if uncomfortable with full regen.

    4. mx says:

      One pedal driving is MORE safe, as the deceleration starts sooner.

  2. Huhu says:

    Regenerative braking reduces braking response time and distance so it’s safer. Keep in mind the braking light comes on in regen. situations.
    The more one uses regen braking, the more one loves it.

    1. Ambulator says:

      I tried it but I didn’t like it – unless I was in heavy traffic. Apparently, some people do, but don’t assume it’s everybody.

      1. Francois Charland says:

        Try not to let go the Pedal completely at once. Rather, try doing it progressively.

        You ll find it very valuable once you re used to it.

    2. Foo says:

      Brake lamp behavior depends on the car.

      For example, the Tesla Model S automatically lights the brake lamps when significant regenerative braking is applied, even without the brake pedal being pressed. Just lifting off the go pedal.

      On the other hand, the Ford Focus Electric can brake quite moderately through regeneration alone (again, simply by lifting off the go poedal), but this is does not light the brake lamps. Only actually pressing the brake pedal will light the brake lamps.

  3. Mr. M says:

    Saving 1.800 is nice, spending 10.000 more compared to ICE is not. Prices need to go down way more. Around 5.000 i would say at least.

  4. Foo says:

    The brake savings estimates may be even higher than this article suggests.

    Some EVs don’t necessarily apply the friction brakes when the brake pedal is pressed. For example, the Ford Focus Electric “blends” regeneration and friction braking, only applying the friction brakes when increased braking is needed. Most light to normal braking uses only regenerative braking. Later models of the Tesla Model S, with iBooster, also use similarly blended braking.

    EVs with this type of braking system may not need any brake work (almost certainly not new brake pads) for their entire useful life.

    1. DJ says:

      Ya, why aren’t they all like this???? Teslas regen like they do but as soon as you hit the brakes it is friction braking right? If so that seems like a bad solution. The FFE and others I mentioned seem to have a better solution.

      1. Brent says:

        Having a decent amount of experience with 1 pedal driving, I would make the opposite assessment.

        The way that BMW and Tesla do it (regenerative breaking only from releasing accelerator and friction breaking only and always from break pedal) is best.

        Take the Chevy Bolt, for example, when you apply the break, they are doing blending, but you get a mushy spot in the middle when its doing a bit of both. Both the Bolt and the Leaf have an issue when trying to come to a complete stop that results in behavior that is unexpected and does not feel right, but they are tuned the opposite way. Getting this blending right appears to be almost impossible. (In either car, try to come slowly to a stop without a causing a head bob of anyone in the car when you come to a complete stop, its almost impossible).

        Driving both my i3 and Model S, I would say this video if anything overestimates break usage. I can drive quite a long time without ever touching the pedal, and when I do touch it, its more to prevent rollback on a hill than to actually apply breaking force.

      2. John in AA says:

        It’s not like regen stops in a MS when you put your foot on the brake pedal. You’re just adding additional braking.

        Have you driven one for a few hours?

        Coming from a stick to a MS I can say the braking experience is pretty familiar feeling in comparison to downshifting.

  5. RM says:

    I suspect it’s even more of an advantage for the EV as the brake application is mostly at low speeds (to come to a complete stop), which would result in less wear per unit time compared to ICE driving where break application begins at higher speeds.

    In other words, one second of brake application at 5MPH is not equivalent to one second at 40MPH even though they’re counted the same in this study.

    1. Will Davis says:

      They did actually say that in the video. You saw it, right?

  6. DL says:

    How is the ICE “undisclosed” when they show a picture of the Subaru right at the beginning?

    The Subaru driver does not seem to use smooth throttle application to begin with, so of course he’ll use more brake.

    Brake jobs aren’t that expensive nor that frequent in ICE vehicles to begin with. I put 20 track days on my last BMW and the brakes were still plenty meaty even after 45K miles.

    That being said, single pedal driving is less hassle.

    1. 3laine says:

      What? You did 20 track days and 45,000 miles on one set of pads? My 2500lb MINI is pretty easy on brakes, but no way could I do even 2 track days and 45,000 miles on one set of pads. Sebring is hard on brakes, but still. I mean, how long would your pads last with no track days? 100,000 miles? Maybe I misunderstood your post.

      1. DL says:

        I can’t say how long they would have lasted. The car was a lease and turned in after 3 years. But yes, I did all those track days and you could still see plenty of pad material left

  7. Michael says:

    I thought they’d quantify how much extra time it takes for the ICE vehicle to begin braking in an emergency.

  8. Wasserboxer says:

    They show the Forster, and the pedals of a BMW.
    The video is ok, the conclusions are not.
    At least because they did not even try to compare manual transmission “car” to electric car.
    Every car individually has its individual engine braking ability. Older Subaru (of course, manual) is ok. My new WRX is bad on that. My former Audi A4 B8 had no engine braking whatsoever, unless you are on the first gear, SOMEWHAT on the second, 3 to 6 were as bad as majority of autoboxes. SAABs – so-so.
    Nissan Leaf, before they introduced “B-mode” had NONE. In B-mode – so-so, somewhat better than 2015-17 WRX.
    So, I would not be that generic and show the Tesla is ideal in everything. BMW i3 and Volt are better on engine braking – test those to and report in the video. And don’t be that shy, which “ice” you tested.

  9. Steve says:

    The big benefit for me apart from wear costs is the lack of brake dust.

    The wheels and calipers stay clean much longer, in fact i don’t think i’ve seen any build up of brake dust before i have to wash car anyways.

    1. Will Davis says:

      There’s also a downside – I’ve heard tales (albeit rare) from Tesla owners who’ve used their mechanical brakes so rarely that they’ve seized or gunked up. Lack of use and winter grime building up on them.

  10. Phaedrus says:

    With one pedal driving, in an emergency stop, as soon as you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal, the system starts breaking via regen, while your foot is underway to the breakpedal to press it. It may save a few meters. This effect is overlooked imho.

  11. JimGord says:

    Perhaps the authors could have a look at other EVs and how they handle braking. My experience has been that when the brake pedal is applied, the dashboard gauges (Leaf and Kia Soul EV) indicate higher regen first before resorting to the mechanical brakes if even more pressure is applied. If true this results in even less brake pad wear.

  12. Ken Sides says:

    Thanks for thinking of, performing and posting interesting test videos such as this one.

    A lot of drivers tailgate and switch continuously between their brake and accelerator pedals as they alternately get too close and then brake to fall back. From the video, we don’t know if the ICE driver is one of them.

    It would be good to add a second video in which the ICE driver is in the lead (and not tailgating any vehicle).

  13. mx says:

    Not only that but Subaru Brake Rotors NOTORIOUSLY WARP, a hot rotor going thru a cold water puddle warps them like button on toast.

    So, there should be cooler brake rotors on the Tesla and less rotor warp. Of course, Tesla’s have higher quality rotors from the start.

  14. Inge A says:

    I live in Norway where most cars comes with a manual gear box. That means most of us is used to one pedal driving(as the left foot is used for clutching).
    That means EV’s reduse reaction time considérably, as regenerating kicks in as you réact.
    On the other hand many roads in Norway are salted during winter. When you use the brakes à lot less with a EV it’s also run the risk of brakes rusting intil it gets stuck…

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