Driving in L mode?
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Thread: Driving in L mode?

  1. #1
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    Default Driving in L mode?

    I'm sure i'm going to regret asking, but when do people use L on the gearing? I tend to drive in normal mode and D and not worry too much about sport or Low.. so I'm wondering how others use it and what the benefits are?

  2. #2
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    (L)ow provides much more re-gen to the battery pack, so I use it when I am driving in stop and go city traffic. Your brake pads will also last much longer, because you are not wasting that energy as heat.

    Sport mode just changes the feel of the accelerator pedal. There is more low end power, but you sacrifice CD mileage. But sometimes it is worth it!

    You have to play with the settings to see what you like!

    It is one of the real design advantages of the Volt, that you can change the parameters to suit your own driving style.

    C-5277

  3. #3
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    Low remaps the accelerator petal (gas) and decelerator petal (brake), so that even with your foot partially down on the accelerator, if the car is moving, it will regenerative power capture, and the decelerator petal has less "regen" before it hits to friction breaks.

    You can get equal regen using D and the decelerator petal.. just takes a different feathering of the petals.
    I find D makes its easier for me to "coast" (retain momentum) but L makes it easer to decelerate and recover power when I want to stop. I use it more like an engine brake when getting off the highway and use L most of the time, on street/stop/go driving. I'm getting more comfortable using L, but I find that if I'm not paying attention I pull off the accelerator strongly and "regen" too much. I used D going to work (down hill) and L coming back (uphill). But I do like the "down shift" into L, its a bit more sports car like.

    I agree with Jim.. experiment and see what works for you. Its not that one setting is more efficient than the other, its about how you can use them to get your own efficiency while improving your fun factor.
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  6. #4
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    Besides stop-and-go traffic, I use L whenever I want to slow down somewhat quickly (and finish with the brake pedal as necessary). I also use L when going down a steep hill where "coasting" in D would allow the car speed up and exceed the speed limit. So, I shift in and out of L frequently.
    Michael in New Mexico, Volt #1761

  7. #5
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    Red face

    I always use L, and almost always Sport. The D mode just makes this EV more like an ICE vehicle in feel. If you use Sport, it just means that more of the car torque is available with less lag. If they didn't provide some smoothing of the available torque, the car would be unmanageably brisk off the line.

    Give the combo a couple hours of trial an you'll never want to go back to the more boring settings.
    Volt #B1498 -Tuxedo C. Volt

  8. #6
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    I pretty much use Normal and Low all the time. I get more mileage using L than when I use D. I also prefer the more aggressive slowing it provides in a given distance vs. D. YMMV.
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  9. #7
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    The overriding reason why I like the L mode is single-pedal driving. Even when going down a steep hill, I can control the speed to be at speed limit with my foot finely modulating the Go pedal. It took a few weeks for me to get the adjustments right. In my ICE car, I have to use the brake to stay within limits. On the freeway during widely varying speeds at peak hour, I find that I am able to better maintain position within traffic in L-mode. In D-mode, I have to switch back and forth between the pedals and I find that this is not as smooth and seamless as just using foot position on one pedal.

    Not sure if anyone else has noticed, but the Volt does not have too much lift room when switching pedals. I end up hitting the roof or sidewall with my foot when moving between pedals. Another reason why I like the L-mode.

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  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim I View Post
    (L)ow provides much more re-gen to the battery pack, so I use it when I am driving in stop and go city traffic. Your brake pads will also last much longer, because you are not wasting that energy as heat.
    I don't think these statements are true. It's just remapping the pedals as tboult stated.
    Think of two scales:
    1. friction braking ---- strong regen --- light regen --- coasting --- acceleration
    2. brake pedal fully depressed --- brake lightly depressed --- both pedals released -- light accelerator -- heavy accelerator

    Shifting to low just shifts the second scale left with respect to the first one. You still get the same regen in "D", it's just you have to press the brake pedal a bit more. The regen is still saving your brake pads, until you press hard enough to actually engage them. Just because you are using the pedal doesn't mean you are using the pads. L just gives you more of an assurance that you aren't engaging the pads since you aren't on the brake pedal, but that's basically a mental thing. Maybe they should make the green ball change color or something more definitive when the pads are engaged.

    I'm pretty sure that the same efficiency can be obtained in both modes, at least any difference is way smaller compared to things like average speed, and climate control use. Less difference than I can measure anyway from inability to exactly match conditions from drive to drive. So it boils down to personal preference. For max efficiency, in "D", you just have to concentrate on braking early & gently, probably earlier than you are used to in a std ICE car (along with other std high MPG practices). In a std ICE, there's no particular advantage in braking earlier, since you are converting momentum into heat in any case. But with regenerative brakes you have incentive to brake early so you can do it gently, keeping the green ball mostly on the center target, not diving to the bottom, slowing down using the regen instead of the pads so some portion of the momentum can be recaptured.

    In "L", you have to fight any tendency to yo-yo your speed too much, which is inefficient. It gives you a bit finer control of the speed I think (accelerator is easier to finely control than the brake pedal), but over-controlling it is worse than maintaining momentum for efficiency.

    After trying exclusive "L" for a couple weeks, I've gone back to "D" mostly on the expressways for most of my miles, but switch to "L" in stop-and-go conditions and for controlling speed on downhills. Your preference may vary.

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheffield View Post
    I always use L, and almost always Sport. The D mode just makes this EV more like an ICE vehicle in feel.
    Exactly.

    I started out playing with L shortly after getting the Volt, and now use it exclusively. A few days ago, I needed to drive a few miles in 'D', and it felt like like an ICE vehicle.
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  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephent View Post
    L just gives you more of an assurance that you aren't engaging the pads since you aren't on the brake pedal, but that's basically a mental thing. Maybe they should make the green ball change color or something more definitive when the pads are engaged.
    That's the catch. We know that when stepping on the brakes, the regen is used, but it maxes out at some point and the friction brakes are used. Presumably, the 'L' mode maximizes the regen to the point just before which the friction brakes would kick in. In 'D' mode, there isn't any way to determine whether regen or friction brakes are being used. So either you'll err on the safe side (and only use regen, but not as much as you could), or end up using the friction brakes more than needed.

    Of course, my argument depends on the fact that 'L' maximizes regen, and I don't think we've seen anything definitive about that.
    B-2689
    Personal Best Charge: 57.2 miles
    Best Day: 71.3 miles, no gas (49.9 on full charge, 21.4 on ~4 hours @120V)
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