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2016 ELR
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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, i could spend hours reading post and tons of time trying to determine this myself but I would guess it's a lot easier asking forum members about the difference between the 2 driving modes.

The question is based alot on my experience driving an i3 for 4 years now, and how that relates to driving and charging the ELR through regen braking. I have to admit that I really love the way the one pedal driving works on the i3 - lift off the pedal and you slow down quick and it's very linear in it's feel.

So upon getting the ELR I drove it in Tour mode. I immediately notice that it drives more like a normal car. At first I couldn't even tell that there is some regen going on when lifting off the pedal. Today I found the screen that shows that indeed it is always switching back and forth and very quickly. Using the regen paddles the braking comes on with a delay (kinda weird to me) and is a bit more intense than the i3 full on foot off the pedal. Personally I would prefer that the car slowed down faster when lifting off the pedal. However the paddles certainly work, it's like do or die in their operation. Not a big deal but when you're turning it's a little harder to grab those paddles - almost wish there was a separate regen brake pedal!

So then, by using it in Tour mode, one gets lets say X-amount of regen power back to the battery. Common sense for me anyway would think that there would be a little more wasted energy by driving it that way...

So then I try driving the car in L mode. Instantly I feel the car now drives more like an i3, with regen happening when I let off the juice. Using the regen paddles helps deceleration even more. This kind of mode seems much more at home with me coming from driving an i3 for years. I would think then, that since it's always slowing down and therefore effectively applying regen, that more juice would be flowing back into the battery.

That being said though seems like the reverse of what is described in the manual and from very early newbie miles that is not the case and that you don't get as much for your storage power. All I can figure out is that driving in L is making the car more peppy and therefore it's using way more power the second you press on the pedal, bypassing efficiency.

Is that the way it works? I really want to drive it in L mode as that's the most natural for me to want to enjoy the car. If that is the case, I wonder just how much battery power you give up in percentage?

I thought I read a post back there somewhere where the OP stated that the engine turns on in L mode to assist but that's not happening in my car, I thought I read that only happens in Sport mode and only in certain conditions.

Anyway, sure love this car. As much as I love driving the peppy i3, looking around at the luxurious interior of the ELR is so far beyond the Beemer. Thank God Cadillac didn't use any Kenaf in the car like they did with the i3 - I really hate that stuff.
 

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Putting the shift lever in L makes regen more aggressive but does not add pep. And keep in mind, if the battery is fully charged, you will not get extra regen drag because the system has nowhere to put it. Nissan Leaf has a system that mimics the regen drag by applying the physical brakes when the battery is full so the driving dynamic is always consistent.
 

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2016 ELR
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213 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Putting the shift lever in L makes regen more aggressive but does not add pep. And keep in mind, if the battery is fully charged, you will not get extra regen drag because the system has nowhere to put it. Nissan Leaf has a system that mimics the regen drag by applying the physical brakes when the battery is full so the driving dynamic is always consistent.
That is interesting. It seems like the L mode is more peppy to me, but maybe I'm wrong. I will experiment with that today. Maybe it's just the fact that it drives so much more like a i3 in the L mode gives me the illusion that it's faster....

Regarding the "you can't put anymore juice in the car" - I read like every post on this forum before making the decision to buy the ELR. I don't know if it's true or not because I'm a ELR/Volt newbie but one poster said that the battery is only charged up to 80% and of course never fully discharged for buffer storage. He mentioned that he could prove that by having a full charge, and by going downhill the extra charge was essentially going to the last part of the battery not charged from home. He was getting high ranges because of that. Again, I thought that's what I read, whether it's true or not I dunno...:confused:
 

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On the ELR, regen is basically always available back to the battery. Only exception is at very cold temps, or for a long mountain decent. Unlike say Tesla which lets you charge to 100% before a long trip, GM was quite conservative with the Voltec system and there is big buffer. This is not available to the owner for more range, but it covers this regen scenario for a 'fully charged' battery, as well as extending the battery life.

Regarding D vs. L driving, that is your preference. The system uses blending braking, so you are doing that same regen when you apply the brake pedal. If you like the stronger instant control/regen experience of one-pedal diving, use L instead.

On the enhanced cluster, you can watch the ball on the left. If if dips like crazy you've exceeded the regen capability for that decel scenario and you are using the friction brakes as well as dynamic regen braking. For normal braking, it is nearly all regen - which is the same ultimate power reclaimed as lifting the throttle in 'L' mode or with the paddles - just a different method.
 

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Super Moderator 2011 CTS SportWagon
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I drive the Volt like using paddles in the ELR. D so it coasts, then pop it to L for max regen on corners and stops. Yes, the brake will do the same thing, it won't actually use the friction brakes until it needs it. Bottom line: if I had an ELR, I would use D and paddles to regen.
 

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2016 ELR
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213 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
All great stuff! So by your answers (if I got this straight), yes it is true that there is a buffer for more regen energy to be put back into the battery buffer on top, thereby essentially giving you the ability of even more range. I find it highly cool that you can drive this car in 2 different ways in Tour mode. And it acts completely different. I can see the majority of people liking the D mode, but for me, I'm so used to the i3 that I much prefer driving in L mode. And it acts almost spot-on like an i3 in that mode. But then you get the added benefit of the more aggressive paddles! SOLD! I didn't think I would ever get rid of my i3 but I am so spoiled by the ELR I won't miss it when it sells. The ELR has a much quieter generator and much less vibration so that along with that gorgeous interior makes me super happy I was able to score my 2016 for less than half the price of new, in excellent condition.

Already, the fact that I can at will turn on Hold mode is such a blessing. No biggie for you ELR and Volt owners but when you have an i3.... super maddening that we have never been able to do that (in North America that is, I think you can in the EU ones).

It's too bad that the car got a bad rap for the offering price alone. There's nothing wrong with these cars, they're awesome! The only good thing that came out of that (low production) is I get to drive around in a car that I will never see another around my neck of the woods! I may have to go up I-5 and drive around Camas Wa to terrorize NostraD and encroach on his "Territory" :want:

Thanks for the replies - D
 

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This is the first hybrid I have ever owned so I keep trying to apply gas engine rules. So I thought you were mainly to use low gear for stop and go traffic or sometime down hill. I do like drive in low, so my question is there a speed limit you should not exceed while in electric mode. Still have a lot to learn.
Thanks
Steve
 

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Driving in "L" mode is definitely what I prefer—much closer to full one-pedal driving. I feel like I have a lot more precise control of the car. I've driven in "L" 100% of the time in both my Volt and ELR. All it does it change what happens when you let your foot off the accelerator. In "L" mode, there's much more regen, so the car slows down much faster. It's like letting off the gas in a manual transmission car while you're in a low gear.

One thing to remember when driving a 2016 in "L": when you slow down, federal law requires your brake lights to come on automatically because the car is slowing down so much. Be careful that you're not driving the person behind you crazy if you're not a smooth driver and speed up/slow down a lot.
 

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Driving in "L" mode is definitely what I prefer—much closer to full one-pedal driving. I feel like I have a lot more precise control of the car. I've driven in "L" 100% of the time in both my Volt and ELR. All it does it change what happens when you let your foot off the accelerator. In "L" mode, there's much more regen, so the car slows down much faster. It's like letting off the gas in a manual transmission car while you're in a low gear.

One thing to remember when driving a 2016 in "L": when you slow down, federal law requires your brake lights to come on automatically because the car is slowing down so much. Be careful that you're not driving the person behind you crazy if you're not a smooth driver and speed up/slow down a lot.
 

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Thanks for your responses I did not know that the break light comes on when you decelerate in low that was one of the reason I thought I like it, I did not want to drive the person behind me crazy. Looks like they loose either way.
 

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2016 ELR
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213 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I thought I read that the brake light only comes on when you use the regen paddle. Kinda hard to see that one. It's totally understandable that regen braking in any mode should illuminate the brake light, and that was quickly learned on the i3 forums when I got my i3 as it acts the same way. If that's the case then I assume that the brake lights come on with both L mode and using regen paddle and just regen paddle in D (Tour) mode... Is that right? I do think it's annoying as hell for the person behind you. There's so many times when you coast and don't coast due to traffic or slight slope changes and your car is switching back and forth from taking power and storing power. There should be a time delay, after all, if you are really wanting to stop, you're using the actual brake pedal anyway. :rant2:
 

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2016 ELR
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Discussion Starter #13
I drive the Volt like using paddles in the ELR. D so it coasts, then pop it to L for max regen on corners and stops. Yes, the brake will do the same thing, it won't actually use the friction brakes until it needs it. Bottom line: if I had an ELR, I would use D and paddles to regen.
I see the method to your madness now jayoldschool! Within the first month or so, I was so used to driving the i3 that I wanted the ELR to drive the same way, one pedal driving. It was perfect for THAT car. But as time has gone on, I see the driving dynamics are a bit different with the ELR. The heavier Cad has now made me change the way I drive an electric car. I now see it's kinda cool just to use D mode for most uses and coast like a soapbox derby racer and use the L driving for what they intended (I read it in some Cad docs) which is heavy traffic, hills and cornering, etc. I feel like coasting king now, using every hill I see as "Free Money!" as one of my friends put it, all the while still getting some regen back into the battery. Which goes to show that the engineers who designed it got it spot on in my opinion. The coasting thing probably why I'm getting high electric miles without really trying. I'm sure if I was locked into the daily grind of getting on the freeway and going 60 to 70 everywhere that wouldn't be the case, but I'm semi-retired now so have the luxury to slow it down a bit.... my life now usually is 30 to 45 mph about 80% of the time with in town driving and not a lot of freeway driving.
 

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Here's an excerpt from a similar post I respond to a while back.

While I would not consider myself a "Technical Guru", I believe I'm (mostly) correct in stating that utilizing the Regenerative Braking Paddles generate the most significant amount of power back to the battery. I believe that heavier use of the "foot pedal brake" engages the hydraulic braking system, which actually expends battery power (which you can see visually by watching your floating green "Energy Ball" on the DIC).

The method I use to generate more power from the regenerative braking system is through a combination of the paddles and also driving the majority of the time (especially around town) with the shift position set to "L" (Low). As we know, this is not an actual low "gear", but actually a mode in which a heavier dose of regenerative braking is applied as soon as you remove your foot from the gas pedal... without/before ever touching the physical brake pedal and/or paddles. In this mode, it's also interesting and important to note that the brake lights are immediately engaged as soon as you remove your foot from the accelerator. It takes a little getting used to, as you'll want to perfect your technique of "feathering" your foot pressure on/off the accelerator, rather than completely removing it. However, after some practice and repetition, I believe you will find it to be a more interesting and easier way to drive your ELR around town... and regenerate more battery power in the process.

Hope this info helps!
 

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Super Moderator 2011 CTS SportWagon
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In this mode, it's also interesting and important to note that the brake lights are immediately engaged as soon as you remove your foot from the accelerator.
Unless the ELR is different than the GEN1 Volt, this is incorrect. No brake lights until you step on the brake.
 

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I really want to drive it in L mode as that's the most natural for me to want to enjoy the car. If that is the case, I wonder just how much battery power you give up in percentage?
The question I would ask myself is, does this cause the engine to come on more often (or at all) while I'm driving it?

The way I look at it is this... if the engine doesn't come on much or at all, I go ahead and hoon it.
I wouldn't really care what percentage of the battery I used unless it was all of it. Even then I probably wouldn't think too much of it.
 

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It is my impression that the brake only comes on when in L on the 2016 not the 2014. I had my wife stand in front of the house while I dove by in L and let off the gas, I was only going around 25 MPH at the time and was told the brake light did not come on.
 

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The brake lights come on when the brake pedal itself is pressed, as well as when the rate of deceleration is sufficient when using the paddles or releasing the throttle in L. Same brake light behavior on the Volt / ELR / Bolt. To confirm this yourself, on a dark night & road you can see it in your mirror from the reflected light off the center brake light - as well as the light thrown to the surrounding area. Or just have a friend follow you. Lots of info online about this too (rate a decel to trigger it, etc).
 

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2016 ELR
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Discussion Starter #20
The brake lights come on when the brake pedal itself is pressed, as well as when the rate of deceleration is sufficient when using the paddles or releasing the throttle in L. Same brake light behavior on the Volt / ELR / Bolt. To confirm this yourself, on a dark night & road you can see it in your mirror from the reflected light off the center brake light - as well as the light thrown to the surrounding area. Or just have a friend follow you. Lots of info online about this too (rate a decel to trigger it, etc).
That's one of the first things I confirmed when I got my ELR, after coming from the i3. I suspected the exact same, as in anytime regen is activated the brake light comes on too. I always wished I could change the functionality of that somehow in my i3 so that people behind you don't think you're a brake riding idiot when you're feathering the car for max electric miles. Or, ticking people off behind you because they think you're doing it on purpose as a call to "back the H off". I think it would be cool if it at least the brake light could be following a higher rate of deceleration than a gentle stop or feathering of the juice. Probably asking too much...

If that's not the case on a 2014, good to know, but High-tech guy is correct in regards to my car anyway.

I noticed one thing yesterday about electric miles left versus the engine start up. I was almost home in D and Tour mode. The electric range just turned to 1 mile left, and the instant that happened I punched it. The electric miles went to 0 instantly and the generator turned on and away I went. I was wondering what would happen, as in would it use the second or two of battery power left and then kick the generator in, or would it instantly decide that it was going to need more power for duration and kick the generator on. I'm going to keep doing that experiment for poops and giggle and keep moving up the range left before I punch it. I suspect it's as easy as the car just calculates the current demand it's going to need and makes a decision of what it wants to do.
 
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