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How much do you drive in Low Gear?

  • Always. I'm addicted.

    Votes: 358 44.1%
  • Never. I just don't like it.

    Votes: 60 7.4%
  • I switch back and forth.

    Votes: 265 32.6%
  • I'm still learning and experimenting.

    Votes: 129 15.9%

  • Total voters
    812
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I could not find a poll on driving in Low, so what the heck... Here goes!


And for your reading pleasure, this may be the best post I've ever read on the subject, because it has real data and great graphs:

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?12879-Percentage-of-max-regen-occuring-in-quot-L-quot-setting&p=136366#post136366


Here's a sampling of various threads on driving the Volt in Low gear.

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?13822-(-L-)-Drive-Question

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?13533-REALLY.........L-MODE-QUESTION

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?12879-Percentage-of-max-regen-occuring-in-quot-L-quot-setting

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?12354-Using-Low-gear

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?11113-Driving-in-quot-L-quot-Question

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?10930-Paranoia-About-Long-Term-Effects-Of-Driving-In-quot-L-quot

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?10624-Just-a-Review-For-My-Sanity-Driving-in-quot-L-quot

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?9404-Driving-in-L-mode

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?8322-Low-vs.-Normal-Bouncing-Ball-effeciency-feedback

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?8165-Driving-In-quot-L-quot-is-Dangerous-and-Will-Cause-Accidents

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?8074-Mod-to-solve-the-brake-light-problem-for-those-usin-quot-L-quot-for-normal-driving

http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?6049-Anyone-else-driving-their-Volt-in-Low-Gear


One of the most experienced Volt guys in the world is Tony Posawatz, often referred to as Volt Employee #1 (http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-20054356-48.html):

Chevy Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz has lots of practice eeking the most out of his Volt's 16 kWh battery, and says that even during Michigan's cold winter months he's achieved high mileage using battery power alone. While he won't share his actual fuel economy numbers, he did share a few of his battery-power maximizing tips.

By taking advantage of the Volt's technology features, driving in Low gear, and being smart about when and how they acclimate their vehicle cabins, drivers can get better gas mileage and go further on a charged battery before switching to extended-range mode.
 

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I use it all the time, because it's just like driving my Porsche that way. Once you get used to compression braking, there's no going back...

At first I would forget to put it in low and have that sinking feeling when the car was not slowing down when I lifted, but it's been a while since that's happened. Having the wife remind me a few times helped too. She took to it right away, she does a lot of stop and go in heavy traffic and finds it much easier, the increased reaction time is a bonus during rush hour.

This week our Volt is in the shop for the side pole intrusion upgrade, and she is driving our Honda Hybrid. The regen on those is really weak without pressing the brake, so I made sure she drove it Sunday to get used to the different feel. (I now have an Acadia sitting in the driveway, it's not going to get used till I go back for our Volt...)
 

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My last 4 vette were all manuals so I still have decades of old school in me. So I mix and match as conditions warrant.
 

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My last 4 vette were all manuals so I still have decades of old school in me. So I mix and match as conditions warrant.
Sometimes I really miss my old 4 on the floor
 

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I would just like to add that if the car gave a clear indicator of when you transitioned from generator braking to friction braking, I probably would not need "L" as much. I mostly use it in city driving just because I assume it is giving me something close to max available regen, something I couldn't identify by myself.
 

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I would just like to add that if the car gave a clear indicator of when you transitioned from generator braking to friction braking, I probably would not need "L" as much. I mostly use it in city driving just because I assume it is giving me something close to max available regen, something I couldn't identify by myself.
Actually, L gives somewhere around half to two-thirds of available regen, as you can see from the interesting frequency chart that popped up several months ago:
Opel_Ampera_Power-Speed-Histogram.jpg

The top half is regen, and in addition to the max regen line, you can see two lines of frequent color above the zero. The upper one is regen in L, the lower one regen in D.

We were talking in a suggestions thread today about the value of having a power/regen screen with thresholds, actually. The proposed version was to have it as a DIC screen, like Trip A or tire pressures. I think it'd be very helpful to those trying to wring the last bits of efficiency from the car. :)
 
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Amazing thread saghost- Brillant- Thank you for all you do....Can I buy you a hamburger or something! lol
 

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One pedal driving is awesome, easy and once you try it you'll never want to drive a gas gulper ever again.

After 4 months, I gave my Volt a wash, with literally no brake usage since I got the Volt, the front wheel rims had no brake dust, yet another benefit of the Volt, easy to wash and make it look like it just came off the show room floor.
 

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Much like Sport vs Normal mode is a remap of acceleration for the gas pedal, my assumption has always been that L vs D is just a remap of regen for the brake pedal. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

I only use L on rare occasions, as I find coasting to be needed more than the aggressive slowing when no pedals are pressed. But I do use it occasionally.
 

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What people seem to miss is you can coast with "L", its all done by feathering the go pedal

"L" just increases the regen amount as you feather off the position of maintaining current speed.

The only comments of people not liking "L" are just letting off the go pedal 100%, not feathering it. Takes a few trips to master the technique, but once you have a feel for it, its truly a great diving experience to never have to move to use another peddle for most driving situations
 

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I like using L, but in certain situations, it is not appropriate. It is most useful in heavy traffic. However, other drivers are so tuned into brake lights. If you slow down, even by feathering as approaching a stop, some people will still get close very fast before they realize you are slowing down. Everyone is not used to slowing unless they see brake lights. So, for that reason, I drive in D when there is a lot of traffic. You can still achieve the same results of not using the friction brakes until dead stop. Much like driving my manual transmission car, I hold the brake pedal to run the brake lights, but the majority of the stopping power is the engine.
 

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I may be wrong about this... (Someone please inform me if I am mistaken.) But I am under the impression that if you drive in low at speeds above 50 mph the engine will never direct couple to the wheels. I thought I read somewhere that the transmission stays in series mode when in low. If you are running on gas I was under the impression that you get slightly better milage in drive at freeway speeds. Am I wrong?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I may be wrong about this... (Someone please inform me if I am mistaken.) But I am under the impression that if you drive in low at speeds above 50 mph the engine will never direct couple to the wheels. I thought I read somewhere that the transmission stays in series mode when in low. If you are running on gas I was under the impression that you get slightly better milage in drive at freeway speeds. Am I wrong?
I searched hard both here and in various GM technical documents, and can't find anything to support this notion.

Since we are talking about two "hot" topics (coupling the engine, and driving in Low), wouldn't this have been discovered and highlighted in various places?

If you find a reference, please post it.
 

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I like using L, but in certain situations, it is not appropriate. It is most useful in heavy traffic. However, other drivers are so tuned into brake lights. If you slow down, even by feathering as approaching a stop, some people will still get close very fast before they realize you are slowing down. Everyone is not used to slowing unless they see brake lights. So, for that reason, I drive in D when there is a lot of traffic. You can still achieve the same results of not using the friction brakes until dead stop. Much like driving my manual transmission car, I hold the brake pedal to run the brake lights, but the majority of the stopping power is the engine.
I may be wrong about this, but I seem to remember mentioned a while ago on these forums that the brake lights never come on during regen, they only come on when the brake pads engage regardless of whether you used the brake pedal or let go of the acceleration pedal in L mode. So I don't think it makes any difference whether you use L or D, the lights will come on only when it's really needed. You probably don't have to worry about the brake lights not coming on, I think the rate at which the car slows down with regen is well within the allowable limit without needing to turn on the brake lights, like for engine braking in other cars and other things not related to regen. So I think most people are pretty used to slowing down a little without seeing brake lights in front. I didn't use to think so myself, but just the other day I was driving my Buick behind a Prius which was slowing down and while I had to use my non-rengen brakes, the Prius's tail lights never came on. Still, I had enough time to react to not rear-end the Prius.
 

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I may be wrong about this, but I seem to remember mentioned a while ago on these forums that the brake lights never come on during regen, they only come on when the brake pads engage regardless of whether you used the brake pedal or let go of the acceleration pedal in L mode.
I never read that and I don't think it is the case. I believe that the brake lights come on whenever you depress the brake pedal, even slightly,
 

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I may be wrong about this... (Someone please inform me if I am mistaken.) But I am under the impression that if you drive in low at speeds above 50 mph the engine will never direct couple to the wheels. I thought I read somewhere that the transmission stays in series mode when in low. If you are running on gas I was under the impression that you get slightly better milage in drive at freeway speeds. Am I wrong?
You're wrong. The engine will couple in L in the same speed and acceleration ranges that it will in D - which is pretty much any time over 35 mph except at very high power settings. The brake lights are tied to the pedal, and will light as soon as it is depressed, regardless of regen status.
 
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