Is It Possible To Drive A BMW i3 Throughout London Without Touching The Brake Pedal? – Video

AUG 27 2015 BY MARK KANE 8

BMW i3

BMW i3

If you ever wondered about driving an electric car without using brakes, and slowing down only through regenerative braking, here is an experiment.

Auto Express‘ Mat Watson and Rebecca Chaplin set the bar high rarely touching the brakes in London, although driving like this isn’t in line with the pace of other vehicles.

“In this video, Mat Watson and Rebecca Chaplin hit the roads of London in a BMW i3 for a challenge with a difference.
The pair took it in turns to drive some of the city’s busiest areas without pressing the brake pedal and attempted to get by just using the electric car’s regenerative braking alone.

Like many electric cars, the BMW i3 begins to recover energy as soon as you take your foot off the accelerator. When it’s accelerating the battery powers the wheels but when it’s braking the motor acts as a generator, charging the battery and gently bringing the car to a stop at the same time – if you’re on flat ground that is.

Each of would drive just over three miles and the person who used the brake pedal the least would win. Of course, they weren’t allowed to cause an accident by not braking so planning ahead and paying attention would be key!”

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8 Comments on "Is It Possible To Drive A BMW i3 Throughout London Without Touching The Brake Pedal? – Video"

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What a dirty move having a contest with someone who has never driven the car and then cheating to boot!


Congested cities is where these cars (evs) really shine. Imo the positives of evs in the most congested environments outweighs the negatives of shorter range.
More or less depending on how much city driving you do.


That was surprisingly entertaining. Maybe it become a new Olympic event!


Once I read the i3 was build for only using the accelerator (not for using the brake pedal), for comfort reasons. The stupid thing is: It means quite much regenerative braking in cases where you may actually don’t want regenerative braking. Because regenerative braking has a much lower efficiency than 100%, much energy is wasted by this.

-> I want regenerative braking only if I use the brake pedal. Otherwise: Keep rolling, only the air may slow me down a little bit (and some other things which I can’t avoid even when nobody is around me on the street)…



You know, you can “feather” the accelerator to achieve a near coasting ability. It takes practice and some level of coordination.

Many people drive EVs like regular automatic transmission cars — let your foot off the accelerator to coast. That works without regenerative braking, hence things like “B” mode on the i-MiEV and LEAF.

If you’re familiar with manual transmission cars, you can drive similarly (at low speeds) by driving in just 1st gear. Let your foot off the throttle and you’ll experience a strong reduction in speed. Slowly modulate the throttle and you can more calmly decelerate.

Regenerative braking is to keep from losing some of the kinetic energy lost with friction brakes. If they were going to have to slow down anyway, why not get ~30% of your input power back?

I like to drive in “B” mode all the time because it makes my reflexes faster. In an emergency situation, I’m not waiting for my foot to move from the accelerator to the brake to slow down, the car starts slowing down the moment I remove my foot from the accelerator. That may give me a fraction of a second more braking time.


love love love one pedal driving. I always use the ‘B’ mode of my Leaf.
It makes the daily commute so much more relaxing.


Look kids! Big Ben, Parliment!
Seriously though, my Mini E had amazing regen. I could drive it all day without using the brake pedal. Still haven’t found a car with as much regen as the Mini E had in 2009.

Mutwin Kraus

The i3s regen is the closest to the Mini E. I don’t use the brakes on most of my routes.

And to the other comments about coasting, that works great with the i3 as well when you’re used to it. Takes a week or so to learn.