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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

I just picked up a 2018 Volt yesterday. So excited. And now I am learning how to use the regen braking by driving in L or using the hand paddle.

I noticed that the hand paddle is quite sensitive. I mean once I pull the paddle just a little bit, I can feel the car slows down quite fast. But the movement is not smooth unlike the foot brake pedal where you can slowly press it to a smooth stop, without feeling this "jerky" movement (like back and forth movement you feel when you suddenly step on and off the foot brake pedal with some pressure).

If I am driving in L, I can do a little better in a sense that I can slowly press the gas pedal or release it, so far less jerky movements, but still not as smooth as the brake pedal braking.

How do you guys drive smoothly using regen? Or is this "jerky" movement expected whenever you are doing regen braking?
 

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Hi all,

I just picked up a 2018 Volt yesterday. So excited. And now I am learning how to use the regen braking by driving in L or using the hand paddle.

I noticed that the hand paddle is quite sensitive. I mean once I pull the paddle just a little bit, I can feel the car slows down quite fast. But the movement is not smooth unlike the foot brake pedal where you can slowly press it to a smooth stop, without feeling this "jerky" movement (like back and forth movement you feel when you suddenly step on and off the foot brake pedal with some pressure).

If I am driving in L, I can do a little better in a sense that I can slowly press the gas pedal or release it, so far less jerky movements, but still not as smooth as the brake pedal braking.

How do you guys drive smoothly using regen? Or is this "jerky" movement expected whenever you are doing regen braking?
The regen paddle applies full regen, you cannot control the level of regen using the paddle. The foot pedal can apply the same degree of regen as the paddle (the Volt's brakes are blended so there is always regen applied before friction braking is added). Driving in D provides modest regen when you let off the accelerator, driving in L applies approx 2X as much regen as D when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal. Driving in D makes for a smoother transition from driving to coasting and is more comfortable for your passengers. You can drive in D or L all of the time, even on the highway. This does not affect the Volt's gearing, only the amount of regen that is applied when coasting. I drove my Volt for a year using D, then started using L and now I prefer driving in L because I have less need to use the brake pedal to slow down. Most of my driving is local. My experience has been that I used the paddle more when I was driving in D, less need to use the paddle to slow the Volt now that I drive in L most of the time.
 

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Hi all,

I just picked up a 2018 Volt yesterday. So excited. And now I am learning how to use the regen braking by driving in L or using the hand paddle.

I noticed that the hand paddle is quite sensitive. I mean once I pull the paddle just a little bit, I can feel the car slows down quite fast. But the movement is not smooth unlike the foot brake pedal where you can slowly press it to a smooth stop, without feeling this "jerky" movement (like back and forth movement you feel when you suddenly step on and off the foot brake pedal with some pressure).

If I am driving in L, I can do a little better in a sense that I can slowly press the gas pedal or release it, so far less jerky movements, but still not as smooth as the brake pedal braking.

How do you guys drive smoothly using regen? Or is this "jerky" movement expected whenever you are doing regen braking?
The paddle is great for keeping your foot from moving back and forth from gas to brake, but there is no modulation. At some point you get used to the paddle and can anticipate a little better when to start using it when coming up to a light. But overall, smooth operation is achieved only with the brake pedal. And it's mostly regen, so you aren't losing anything except some extra calories from lifting your leg constantly.
 

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When I had a 12 Volt, I REALLY wanted the paddle.

After trading for 18 Volt and trying them at most maybe 3 times, I think they're only good for turning off the cruise control. I never use it.
 

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Welcome to the wonderful world of electric propulsion.

Regenerative braking is an electric car’s alternative to friction braking. Regen is a byproduct of the braking effect, not the primary purpose. There is no regen when coasting in Neutral. There is when coasting in D.

The paddle, and D, and L each use the energy of the car’s momentum to provide one particular level of braking power. At very slow speeds, friction braking will come into play as you stop your car. The brake pedal can modulate the stopping power through the entire regen level range, using regen only unless the pressure you put on the pedal is asking for more stopping power than can be provided by available regen, so friction braking is blended into the mix.

Consider your previous normal braking habits when developing your personal style of using the various levels of regen. For example, think of your paddle as a "hand brake" that can be used instead of stepping on the brake pedal hard enough to provide the same slowing down power (note they both provide the same amount of regen). A brief pull on the paddle is similar to a quick push of the brake pedal. A longer pull is similar to quickly stepping on the brake pedal and leaving your foot there.

If you find yourself driving in D in stop and go traffic and shifting your foot from accelerator to brake pedal and back as the surrounding traffic starts up, then slows down, then starts up again, shifting into L may allow you to duplicate that action merely by lifting your foot from the accelerator.

Using L while driving downhill will reduce the need to ride the brake pedal... and if you’re using Cruise Control, it might be enough to maintain your speed at the set level, i.e., no downhill creep in speed.

Taking your foot off the accelerator while driving in L will slow the car down faster than while driving in D. In L, the driver can anticipate when the rapid slowing will happen, but often the passengers can’t. My Volt salesman referred to driving in L as "seasick mode."
 

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You mean the motion sickness paddle?
 

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It makes my wife sick as well, I just modulate re-gen with the brake pedal. There is NO advantage to using the paddle vs pedal.
 

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hello
I get used real quick to the regen braking, but... to be honest I'm a little worry about how much wear they could do to the engine mounts, I've visually inspected the mounts and they look pretty regular, I hope they last enough :)
 
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Discussion Starter #9
I drive in 'L' anytime I'm not on the freeway and control regen by easing up on the pedal enough to get the desired amount of slowing. After 6 years driving BEV's, this is instinctive and allows me to forget about the brake pedal 90% of the time. In stop and go city traffic, when I need to stop, I ease all the way off the 'gas' to slow as quickly as possible using L and when I see that I'm not going to gently stop where I need to, I grab the paddle for max regen until I must touch the brakes. I also use the paddle when exiting the freeway and I need lots of regen to get me slowed or stopped

After 6 years in BEV's without a paddle, my #1 wish was always a max regen paddle and now I have one and I use it a LOT. Between D, L and the paddle, I love the way the Volt's engineers have handled regenerative braking. When you get used to where you will come to a stop with the paddle, you can grab it and not let go until the car has come to a near stop exactly where you want to every time

Yes, you can do much the same by modulating the brake pedal, but with regenerative braking, I've become pretty much a one pedal guy, not using the brake pedal at all until I have no other choice - Why waste power by friction braking when you have more efficient means to slow down?

Don
 

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I drive in "L" exclusively in the Gen 2 and did for the 3 years before in the Gen 1. I thought the Gen 1 was actually smoother in "L" in one critical area -- the transition from regen/deceleration to increased acceleration. I've been trying to find the smooth spot for the 8 months with my Gen 2 and am convinced it does not exist. It is not in every situation--just when you are coming up to a stop light and it turns green or traffic in front of you begins to move and you were decelerating. It tends to buck a little bit in this transition.

You'll eventually learn how to modulate the pedal finely enough to control your decelerations so they don't jerk you or your passengers around. You'll be able to come to an (almost) complete stop with just the pedal and the paddle with the final step as the brake to stop the car from inching forward. With enough distance, you can let up lightly on the go pedal, and then time the paddle for the last few car lengths for a more rapid stop.

Another thing I'll do is lightly tap the paddle one or two times to slow the car just a bit more than "L" can offer. Again -- practice, practice, practice. The paddle takes a second for its complete regen effect and there is a momentary buildup. You can learn to release the paddle just before its full regen effect so it's not the full "on/off" experience that most people notice--it would be more similar to someone tapping the breaks lightly.

I highly recommend practicing "L" and the "paddle" without passengers.
 

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Note: if you hit a substantial bump when using regen, the system is designed to kick off. Also, my '16 may be defective, but the regen power felt at 60 mph from the paddle is about nil, but increases steadily as the car slows down. Another design feature, I think.
 

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Lot's of good points here. I think some are a little extreme, but I do use the regen paddle and find it particularly useful for spirited driving and scrubbing off speed around turns. I also do a lot of city driving with a lot of stop/go and find the paddle particularly convenient for this because it cuts down my pedal kicking considerably.

In order to do what you want to do smoothly when coming to a stop, I've found that I need to apply the paddle at higher speeds, then add a little brake, slowly adding brake pedal with the paddle, and then release the paddle to finish the stop only with the brake. This takes some practice and develop the feel for it.

Recently my wife stopped cussing through all of this and I even got a "Wow, that no longer hurts and is kind of nice." comment when I used the paddle at a stop. ... It just takes some time.
 

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I mostly use paddles (two on ELR) for setting up for turns at lower speeds. For stop-and-go driving I use ACC. Apparently the ELR paddles have less regen than ‘17-‘18 Volts and is much smoother (but less effective) operation.

What I really want is for paddles to hold at a full stop rather than having to go to the brake pedal.

My future car will be full EV with one-pedal driving. No need for paddles.
 

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Driving smoothly is easy. Just leave it in D and stay off the paddles. The brake pedal modulates regen perfectly and efficiently. It also helps if you first coast if possible, then brake early and gently, both for efficiency and passenger comfort, something that is not possible with the paddles, and difficult in L.

Another advantage to using the brake pedal to stop is that you are maintaining the standard driving habits that transfer to other cars, like maybe your other family car or rental cars, etc. I'm not saying it is hard to switch back and forth, but maintaining consistent habits could conceivably save a fraction of a second in some possible emergency scenario, which might matter. It also means you will already be pressing the brake pedal if/when regen suddenly drops out due to ABS activation when driving over a rut, ice patch, etc.

I mostly use L for controlling speed downhill. It makes the cruise control work really well.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks guys. Definitely lots of useful tips and tricks. I will keep practicing. Yes, I will probably stick to D driving when I have passengers. I've been driving in L and it is getting a bit better and smoother in stop and go situations, but still I can feel it's not as smooth. I haven't used the paddle much, but will try to practice.
 

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hello
I get used real quick to the regen braking, but... to be honest I'm a little worry about how much wear they could do to the engine mounts, I've visually inspected the mounts and they look pretty regular, I hope they last enough :)
I'm confused. Why do you feel regen braking has anything to do with engine mounts?
 

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I'm confused. Why do you feel regen braking has anything to do with engine mounts?
well... applying braking force thru the axle to stop a front wheel drive car always make the engine and transmission struggle to keep in place, in normal braking the connection between the moving wheels and the body frame are the suspension arms, but in regen this goes rigth to the mounts, so in my opinion using so much regen may do some extra wear to the mounts D:
 

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well... applying braking force thru the axle to stop a front wheel drive car always make the engine and transmission struggle to keep in place, in normal braking the connection between the moving wheels and the body frame are the suspension arms, but in regen this goes rigth to the mounts, so in my opinion using so much regen may do some extra wear to the mounts D:
Except that the ICE isn't involved with regenerative braking on the Volt.

There are tradeoffs with ICE motor mounts ... too hard and they transmit vibration to the cabin; too soft and they allow too much engine movement (driveline lash) and can wear faster. I can see how aggressively downshifting a traditional car could possibly create some motor mount wear, but not on the Volt where the generator is not attached with extra squishy vibration-dampening mounts.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Also, my '16 may be defective, but the regen power felt at 60 mph from the paddle is about nil, but increases steadily as the car slows down. Another design feature, I think.
Mine will regen well in excess of 100 amps *instantly* when I pull the paddle at 70 or 75 - It's amazing how quickly the car slows

Don
 
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Discussion Starter #20
Except that the ICE isn't involved with regenerative braking on the Volt.

There are tradeoffs with ICE motor mounts ... too hard and they transmit vibration to the cabin; too soft and they allow too much engine movement (driveline lash) and can wear faster. I can see how aggressively downshifting a traditional car could possibly create some motor mount wear, but not on the Volt where the generator is not attached with extra squishy vibration-dampening mounts.
The ICE, generator, electric drive motor and differential are all one bolted together unit - I assume the same mounts that keep the ICE in the car also keep that 'unit' in the car

But the forces generated by regenerative braking are much less than the force generated by full throttle acceleration, so I'm pretty sure the mounts are up to the job

Don
 
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