By George Polgar

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While Tesla 3 is getting all hype in the electric vehicle realm, a quieter technology innovation from Nissan — the e-Pedal on the new 2018 all electric LEAF — may more fundamentally move the mass market towards electric cars.

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And Nissan is in the position to know as it still holds the global electric vehicle sales record with nearly 400,000 LEAF models on the roads around the world since 2010, 110,000 of them sold here in the US.

The e-Pedal is an on-demand optional single control for acceleration and brakes. With the flick of a switch the new Nissan LEAF goes into e-Pedal mode from the regular accelerator and brake format.

This e-Pedal is ideal for urban and suburban start and stop traffic. Depress the pedal to speed up, ease up to slow down, and release entirely to stop.

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The e-Pedal also maximizes the LEAF’s regenerative braking efficiency, which recovers energy from deceleration to recharge the battery while the car is en route.

The other reason this relatively modest innovation is so significant is because it fundamentally introduces a new sensibility to cars that appeals to young people just reaching driving age.

While generations of Americans have grown up with the car being central to personal style, identity, and independence. Younger car buyers are more attracted by “appliance” and “utility” features they get in their smartphones, tablets and laptops.

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This e-Pedal on the all-electric LEAF is a major benchmark in that transition.