Performance Model 3 test drive notes (quick review)

JeffC

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[Mods, I wasn't sure what forum to put this in. It's somewhat technical, so I put it in tech talk. Please feel free to move as appropriate.]


Here are some notes about my Performance Model 3 test drive yesterday. It probably needs some more edits, but I was eager to share. Original will be in my Model 3 notes at:


http://www.jeffchan.com/cars/ev/tesla/model-3/


Performance Model 3 test drive notes

2 August 2018

[Note that this mini-review was written before seeing Road & Track's excellent 3 August 2018 Performance Model 3 Track Mode review, but echoes some of its sentiments.]

I had the opportunity to test drive an early production Performance Model 3 (PM3) at my local Tesla store. Car had about 160 miles on the odometer, so had probably had been on about a dozen test drives. ~35 of the miles were from the delivery drive from the factory in Fremont. This multi-coat red car had basically all the options: white interior, Autopilot, Performance Upgrade option (PUO) with 20 inch wheels, upgraded brakes, 1 cm lower performance suspension, aluminum pedals. The Carbon spoiler included with PUO had not been installed yet. Battery was at about 60% charge, so not at full power.

First, some notes about the interior: the Premium White interior looked good. The white door panel inserts looked harmonious and tasteful, as did the white seats. (To be honest, I wasn't sure if I'd like them.) The white door inserts are soft Ultraleather like the seats and not the artificial suede-like Alcantara of the black interior. The white dashboard trim taking place of the wood veneer had a satin finish that did not cause glare. The resulting interior does feel a bit more special than the Premium Black. I liked it.

Also, since the interior was mostly black with white sections, the bright white was not as overwhelming as in mostly white Model S and X interiors. The mix of contrasting colors was refreshing. Aside from the black center armrest, the white interior matched the unveil prototypes, so this color scheme was on the minds of the interior designers originally. On a practical note, the white interior may have been a bit cooler in temperature than black on a slightly warm day.

Upon getting in any car, I always adjust the seat to be high, with a flat (untilted) bottom cushion and relatively upright back rest. I did not adjust the lumbar support since it felt ok to begin with. I adjusted the steering wheel to point at the center of my chest and have a <135 degree elbow angle when a hand is at the top of the wheel. Also adjusted mirrors, and cinched down seat belt to be low across the lap. All are standard racing practices taught at most racing schools, and are good ergonomics for driving in general. I was able to find a comfortable and largely ergonomically correct seating position, and Model 3 has lots of adjustments to allow further fine tuning.

Settings under the Driving control panel tab were:

Acceleration: Sport
Steering Mode: Sport
Regenerative Braking: Low
Slip Start: Off
Creep: On

I had several goals for the test drive: explore performance limits a bit, explore feel and response of controls and chassis, assess ride comfort versus performance tradeoff of performance suspension and 20 inch wheels with performance-oriented Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, test the upgraded brakes a bit and assess their feel and response, etc. Generally wanted to get a sense of how the Performance Model 3 felt to drive, how it responded to inputs, etc.

One of my lasting impressions from Model S P100DL, aside from the almost incomprehensibly rapid acceleration, was the ease with which it moved at low power. The latter is almost more important to me because I care possibly more about the quality of the driving experience than the quantity. P100DL has both.

I wanted to see if Performance Model 3 had some of that ease of low power movement, and whether it could possibly be attributed to the added front motor and AWD. I'm pleased to say that Performance Model 3 did move more easily than single motor Model 3, and it definitely had most of that ease of movement. It was not quite as effortless as P100DL, but the added front motor did seem to bring it much of the way there at low power. In short, AWD may move more easily and feel more effortless at moving than single motor. AWD spreads the work of accelerating over twice as many axles and wheels. Electrical engineers might say AWD has a better impedance match to the road, where the tires are like antennas in a circuit. Non-Performance dual motor probably captures most of that benefit at a much lower price. (One downside of dual motor is an apparent 12% lower EPA efficiency than single motor, perhaps due to the added front drivetrain mass and friction.)

At the speed limit on city streets, there was some front motor whine. Most likely it's actually reduction gear noise and not the motor itself, which spins in roller bearings. As predicted, whine was mostly auditorially masked (made hard to hear) by slight road and wind noise at higher speeds on the highway. There was some barely noticeable wind noise, probably from the glass roof lateral panel gap. (There are aftermarket kits to fill that gap, for example using an EPDM synthetic rubber tube stuffed into the gap.) PM3 with PUO acceleration from zero to 40 MPH was about 2 seconds, compared to about 1 second to 30 MPH from a rolling start in Model S P100DL. Performance Model 3 acceleration is merely insane and not ludicrous! All Teslas are quick. PM3 is noticeably more so than non-Performance Model 3s.

On both surface streets and highway, the ride was comfortable. The shorter sidewall PUO tires and slightly stiffer suspension may have let through a little more noise and vibration from road bumps and highway expansion joints than the softer standard suspension with Aero wheels, but the overall effect was still very comfortable. It takes much skillful development work to arrive at suspension tuning that is both comfortable and performs well. That ride versus handling compromise seems well attained in PM3 with PUO.

Ironically, the standard suspension and hard, energy efficient tires on Aero wheels may ride a bit harsher, due to stiffness of the tires themselves which are optimized for better energy efficiency than a soft ride. In other words, the stiffer suspension with performance tires of PUO versus softer suspension with harder energy tires of Aero wheels may offer somewhat similar overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels, but with slightly different frequency/time responses. Said another way, NVH may be roughly comparable between them, but may differ a bit in quality.

(As an aside, given that EVs have almost no NVH from their very smooth drivetrains, almost all that remains is probably from the suspension system including wheels and tires. Teslas actually have a small amount of noticeable NVH, but it's probably due to the slight performance bias, like BMW, Audi or Mercedes sporty sedans.)

My test route included some surface streets and a few highway miles, but most relevantly had the same highway onramp cloverleaf that I had tried in the Model S P85 a few years earlier. The cloverleaf is constant radius, banked and rising in elevation, which made it very easy and safe to drive at fairly high power. Also the curve leads into a protected straight where the merge lanes don't appear until several hundred meters ahead. There was lots of room to power out of the turn with no possibility of merging traffic, as we tried below.

There were no other cars at all in the area of the onramp, so I gave it moderately strong throttle going into the turn. The car responded well, so I increased power to the point where I got a little tire noise and may have started to tickle the stability control intervention, call it 0.7+ g: certainly harder than most people normally drive on the street. Key to doing that is to never lift off the throttle as that could lead to trailing throttle oversteeer. Always keep the throttle steady or increase it gradually in a below-limit turn, in order to keep the rear end planted. Said another way, this keeps load transferred onto the rear wheels, discouraging the back end from stepping out. Exiting the turn, I gave it full throttle, rolling into the accelerator smoothly and gently as the radius blended into the long, protected straight. Acceleration out of the turn was like a freight train, if freight trains could do more than a half g of acceleration at 60+ MPH. Very impressive and fast. On a race track this would translate into strong acceleration out of turns, something the non-Performance Model 3 (and really any EV) also has to a lesser extent.

(As a minor aside, it should be ok to call the accelerator on an EV a throttle. The motor controller limits the flow of current from the full battery pack voltage to the motor by chopping the DC into high frequency pulses of variable width. It is literally throttling the full pack voltage into an effectively lower voltage as seen by the motor; an EV motor controller, as commanded by the accelerator pedal, is figuratively and literally a fast-reacting throttle.)

Comparing the early Model S P85 to Performance Model 3 with Performance Upgrade option, while the early Performance Model S at moderately high gs did surprisingly well in this turn for a large and very heavy car, the smaller and 20% lighter PM3 with PUO did it much more effortlessly, gracefully and controllably. Throughout the turn, the throttle and chassis response was linear, predictable, consistent, and highly communicative. Feedback from PM3 with PUO was clear and immediate, and driving not too far from the limits was extremely easy. Anyone with performance driving experience could do it all day long with little stress and minimal effort. That is the mark of a great car.

It's worth mentioning here that some of the great steering feel is a result of the virtual steering axis front suspension design that Tesla and others use. Its purpose is to move an artificial steering axis around the tire contact patch in order to enhance the feel through the steering of the forces acting on the tires. It does this by clever arrangement of the suspension linkages and very careful tuning of the bushing responses for those linkages. The result is that forces acting on the contact patch in all directions are more clearly felt through the steering wheel as the car moves through direction changes. It sounds complicated, but the bottom line is that the virtual steering axis front suspension works superbly well in Performance Model 3, and makes the steering highly communicative about exactly what the front tires are doing.

Obviously we did not exceed any of the car's physical limits during a brief test drive on public roads. Doing so on a race track would be a good measure of how the car responds beyond its limits. However doing so would require either Tesla's beta Track Mode or Sasha's stability and traction control defeat tools. Sasha's track video was impressive and showed a modified Long Range Model 3 with excellent balance and driveability at the limits. Behavior beyond the limits with stability controls disabled looked good too.

Back to our test drive, friction braking at say 0.3 g coming to a somewhat unexpected stop at the top of an offramp was smooth and progressive, and brake feel was excellent. As with the suspension, steering and throttle, brake operation was linear, responsive and highly communicative. The brake pedal was firm, not over boosted, and had excellent feel and response. This is a very competently done braking system. That said, these are nearly racing brakes, and it would be more informative to try them on a race track, possibly with a pad upgrade if needed.

I did not do any high power braking as one might do in an emergency on the street or before every turn of a race track. For normal driving in traffic, brake operation and feel were excellent. Even with the Low Regen setting, there was some regenerative braking at low to medium speeds, which was similar to single motor Model 3s. All of my braking was with Low Regen, i.e., almost entirely the friction brakes. Please see my comments about why regen belongs on the brake pedal. I still wish Tesla would add a user-selectable option to have regenerative braking integrated with friction braking on the brake pedal. There are many reasons why this is ergonomically superior, and almost every other EV has regen integrated with the brake pedal, in addition to having some light regen on throttle lift to simulate automatic transmission drag. The latter is similar to Tesla regen set to Low.

Overall impressions are of a car that moves with great ease, has high limits, is very easy to drive, and is highly communicative and linear near its limits. Some of the cause of the preceding is surely the result of finding and reducing friction throughout the drivetrain and suspension. More important is starting from an exceptionally good mechanical design that includes a virtual steering axis front suspension similar to Audis, multi link rear suspension similar to recent Ferraris, and a very low center of gravity with the considerable mass of the battery pack far below the wheel centers. The electrical design is also excellent and world leading. For example, Model 3 is the first major EV application of highly efficient permanent magnet reluctance motors and Silicon Carbide motor controllers. Having all wheels driven with the dual motors seemed to add much of the the effortless movement at low power that I was seeking.

Performance Model 3 is a superb car. Being electric benefits the excellent chassis design and resulting handling by providing highly predictable, usable, linear and consistent torque instantly on demand. And the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It's not just that all the individual performance aspects are superlative, it's how they work together to make a car that's ridiculously easy to drive well from low through high power and offers telepathic feedback straight from the tires while doing so.

All evidence points to PM3 handily outperforming BMW M3 on race tracks, given that @Sasha Anis ' modified single-motor, non-Performance, Long Range Model 3 at 1:18.9 was 1.4 seconds quicker than BMW M3 admittedly on a relatively slow track. A much more powerful modified Performance Model 3 should devour BMW's M3 race track records easily, which would be kind of shocking, no pun intended. Anyone interested in a performance car must try Performance Model 3 if they want to be aware of all that's available.

Some areas of possible improvement: I plan to get lightweight racing wheels, probably 18 or 19 inch Enkeis and possibly stickier street tires such as RE-71R. The PUO Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires are excellent, but the 20 inch wheels are probably relatively heavy. Racing wheels may shed more than 1/3 of their mass. Lighter wheels make any car accelerate quicker due to lower rotational inertia and handle better due to having less unsprung mass to accelerate up and down, for example over bumps or through every turn. I may also change to a coilover suspension from Sasha's MPP or Unplugged Performance to further improve the handling, but only if they also offer relatively comfortable ride. The handling versus comfort compromise of the factory Performance Upgrade option was very good. It was developed on race tracks, after all.

Due to its combination of virtues, Performance Model 3 moves and operates so effortlessly and seamlessly that it's hard to imagine any combustion car able to move as competently. I liked how the very heavy and large Model S P100DL moves, but Performance Model 3 is so much lighter on its feet that it overachieves much more easily. Performance Model 3's communication with the driver is so much finer and more delicate that, aside from some family resemblance between the engineering architecture of S and 3, they're not directly comparable.

Comparing Performance Model 3 to Long Range single motor Model 3, PM3 is like regular Model 3 on steroids. Everything is faster, reactions are sharper, limits are higher, and communication is clearer. This is appropriate to a more performance-oriented car. My prior LR Model 3 test drive was on city streets, and I did push it hard in turns a few times, but did not have a high speed turn to try. What's perhaps most noteworthy is that both cars were comfortable to drive as normal daily driving cars. The ride/handling balance of Performance Model 3 is outstanding in that regard. The tuning was very well done by Tesla's development drivers and engineers.

Non-Performance, dual-motor, AWD Model 3 may be somewhere in between: quicker than LR, but relatively softer and less clearly communicative nearer the limits than Performance Model 3. AWD Model 3 probably adds much of that effortlessness of movement that I found so alluring in P100DL Model S. As a $4k option AWD may be worth it for that, and it may offer slightly better traction in ice and snow. A downside of both Dual Motor variants, including Performance Model 3, is about 12% lower EPA energy efficiency in MPGe. If energy efficiency is a high priority, get a single motor Model 3.

It helps that the Tesla chassis design is fundamentally excellent. Performance Model 3 clearly benefits from suspension tuning, and can be improved further through modifications such as those by Sasha or Unplugged Performance. Surely many more tuners will be joining the game since there should be much potential for improvement, all the way to full racing setups. Tesla got the basic suspension design and chassis architecture correct. All the resulting goodness is built on top of that excellent platform.

It's difficult to explain fully in words how well this car drives. You really need to try it for yourself. But don't test drive Performance Model 3 with the Performance Upgrade Option unless you want to be hooked into buying one.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!


P.S. If you have any doubts about your knowledge or skills at performance driving, please attend a performance driving or racing school, and practice on a race track, autocross course, cart track, etc. (I have autocrossed for a couple seasons.) It's fun and educational, and it will make you a better, safer driver, particularly in the event of any emergencies. I need more track time, and Model 3 should be an excellent vehicle for that, pun intended this time.

P.P.S. I studied Model 3 colors again at the Tesla Store parking lots and reconfirmed that Model 3 looks best to me in silver, particularly from the side. Silver really brings out the lines best. Red is pretty and very bright, but hides the curves somewhat. Model 3 is slightly odd looking from the front and front quarter, due to a slightly disproportionately large greenhouse and slightly small nose, and none of the colors improve those very minor arguable flaws much. The blue is definitely pretty, but quite dark and somewhat trendy. Everyone's perception of color is different though. YMMV.
 
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JeffC

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Nice write up Jeff, thanks for investing the time to tell it all in such detail.
Thanks much Mad Hungarian. I've edited the paragraph about AWD dual motor Model 3 a bit to take out some redundancy about PM3 and add some benefits of the more moderate dual motor version.

I'm sure some people might complain that I read too much into such a short drive, but I feel that I can evaluate much about a car from even a single, very long, fairly hard turn, executed well and with full attention.

I also cornered hard at low speed a few times. I think I still have a slightly sore neck from that, literally. It corners harder and more eagerly than one should drive except on a race track. Regular Model 3 is excellent. PM3 is in a different league. I'm going to need chill mode probably....

What I didn't do is string high speed transitions (turns) together to get a feel for more of the dynamic response of the chassis. That is something that could be done on twisty backroads, but would be safer on a race track. Based on what I experienced, I expect it's excellent.

Interestingly the Road & Track Performance Model 3 track review found many of the same things I did: sharper responses, higher limits, excellent feel and communicativeness, etc.

The car is phenomenally good.

I say that objectively as a fan of performance driving and sporty cars in general. The quality goes way beyond Tesla and EVs and into cars in general.



Public Service Announcement:

Not to be patronizing, pedantic or paternalistic, but this car is extremely fast and powerful. IT CAN KILL YOU if you don't know what you're doing or are careless with it. Treat it with care and respect, and take a racing or performance driving class if you'd like to explore its limits on a race track.

Very sadly, multiple careless teenagers have already killed themselves and their friends by crashing P100Ds. Teach respect for power and put your kids and yourselves into performance driving classes at a race track.
 
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PNWmisty

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[Mods, I wasn't sure what forum to put this in. It's somewhat technical, so I put it in tech talk. Please feel free to move as appropriate.]

Performance Model 3 test drive notes

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!
What brand of driving gloves did you wear?
 

RAS550

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Nice writeup Jeff! I'd echo most of what you said above, based on my test drive early last week. I also test drove a P100D right before the 3, and can attest that ludicrous mode on that car is noticeably faster then the sport mode in 3. Hopefully we'll get a ludicrous mode update at some point!

Were you at the Santana Row showroom? If so we may have test driven the same car!

Your point on your blog about suspension being lowered without the PU - I hope that's correct (I ordered the Performance model without the PU option), although the Tesla configurator clearly says that the PU option lowers the suspension.
 

JeffC

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Nice writeup Jeff! I'd echo most of what you said above, based on my test drive early last week. I also test drove a P100D right before the 3, and can attest that ludicrous mode on that car is noticeably faster then the sport mode in 3. Hopefully we'll get a ludicrous mode update at some point!

Were you at the Santana Row showroom? If so we may have test driven the same car!

Your point on your blog about suspension being lowered without the PU - I hope that's correct (I ordered the Performance model without the PU option), although the Tesla configurator clearly says that the PU option lowers the suspension.
Thanks much RAS. I was at Sunnyvale, but the Sunnyvale car was scheduled to go to Santana Row some days after I drove it, so it may be the same car.

Performance Model 3 without PUO may not get the lowering springs. Definitely recommend it, or aftermarket coilovers along with high performance tires to get the most from the car. Not getting those (especially performance tires) is sort of like Carl Lewis running an olympic event in clogs. (only half kidding) Of the two, tires are possiblye more important, since the standard Model 3 suspension is already excellent.

We have a long thread about wheel and tire upgrades above:

https://teslaownersonline.com/threa...e-happening-per-elon.6849/page-48#post-135144

At a minimum, upgrade to Michelin Pilot Sport 4S on the Aero wheels to be able to reach more of the performance and feel of the car, at the cost of a little range.

Regarding Ludicrous for Model 3, honestly Performance Model 3 is more than quick enough for me, and far beyond what most non-track-trained drivers can handle properly in anything other than a straight line. It's hard to say where any power limits in Model 3 may be, so it's hard to know where upgrades would happen in the power system/battery pack. Elon hinted the possibility of a little more power, but honestly, it's not needed. Even a single motor Model 3 is pretty quick.


P.S. If you haven't ordered a PM3 yet and would like to get unlimited free Supercharging on a PM3 (or S or X) ordered before September 16 be sure to use a referral code. See the latest Referral Program details at: https://www.tesla.com/support/referral-program
 
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RAS550

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Agreed on your points on the suspension and tires. The regular suspension as you said is already excellent, but the 18" LRR tires are designed with a different purpose in mind. I do plan to take the car to Tahoe so I may settle on UHP all season rubber (maybe Contis - extreme contact DWS) - not as good as Max Performance summer Pilot 4S, but much better than stock, and perfectly fine for any non-track use IMO.

I did use the referral - that's what tipped me over in favor of the performance model. Frankly the supercharging has limited monetary value since I would charge at work, and the real reason was that I wanted something more M3 than my 335i xdrive. To me, the model 3 performance is a BMW M3 from the future.

Can't wait for my VIN!
 

JeffC

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Agreed on your points on the suspension and tires. The regular suspension as you said is already excellent, but the 18" LRR tires are designed with a different purpose in mind. I do plan to take the car to Tahoe so I may settle on UHP all season rubber (maybe Contis - extreme contact DWS) - not as good as Max Performance summer Pilot 4S, but much better than stock, and perfectly fine for any non-track use IMO.

I did use the referral - that's what tipped me over in favor of the performance model. Frankly the supercharging has limited monetary value since I would charge at work, and the real reason was that I wanted something more M3 than my 335i xdrive. To me, the model 3 performance is a BMW M3 from the future.

Can't wait for my VIN!
Agree on all of the above, but you may want to look into the top-end Michelin all-season tires. They may be better than the Contis.

If you drive much in the snow, snow tires are definitely best, though it would usually mean having a second set of wheels. All seasons on Teslas may be workable in snow:

And on snow tires:
(Note that both videos are on their RWD car, which highlights how well Tesla's motor and controller work even with a single driven axle in the snow. Their digital control of the wheels is very precise.)
 
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RAS550

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Amazing videos! Thanks for posting. And these 3's are not even dual motor!

I had Pilot Sport A/S+ (All seasons) many many years ago - weren't quite as much of standouts as Michelin's summer tires. Contis are generally regarded as the better A/S performance tires in my experience but will definitely explore when the time comes.
 

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There are many reasons why this is ergonomically superior, and almost every other EV has regen integrated with the brake pedal
Agree on providing options but personally I don't prefer blended brakes; I prefer how Tesla has done it - for me. I don't agree with the strong statement on right vs wrong - I've driven a couple different pure EVs and Hybrids with various implementations.

Nice write up though :)
 

JeffC

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Agree on providing options but personally I don't prefer blended brakes; I prefer how Tesla has done it - for me. I don't agree with the strong statement on right vs wrong - I've driven a couple different pure EVs and Hybrids with various implementations.

Nice write up though :)
Thanks for your kind words @msjulie ! Sort of agree that it may be more productive to not frame it in terms of right and wrong, but feel there are very sound reasons why an option integrating regenerative braking with friction braking on the brake pedal is useful.

I do understand the attractions and benefits of "one pedal driving also". One of the major benefits of one pedal driving is that it allows people who don't use left foot braking to blend braking and acceleration more smoothly and efficiently after some practice, but the same can be done extremely effectively and to a much greater extent using left foot braking when regen is integrated with the brake pedal.

The reason it's more extensive with left foot braking is that the full power of braking is available on the brake pedal from full power friction braking through the lightest regenerative braking. Using one foot on each pedal allows the full range of full power braking through full power acceleration to be accessed smoothly and consistently, after some practice. With significant regenerative braking on the throttle, that becomes much harder to do than with left foot braking.
 
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PNWmisty

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The reason it's more extensive with left foot braking is that the full power of braking is available on the brake pedal from full power friction braking through the lightest regenerative braking. Using one foot on each pedal allows the full range of full power braking through full power acceleration to be accessed smoothly and consistently, after some practice. With significant regenerative braking on the throttle, that becomes much harder to do than with left foot braking.
It's not valid for a RWD EV like the LR Model 3 that putting regen on the brake will allow for more effective blending of braking and acceleration in a performance driving situation. Because regen braking is rear wheel only, and friction braking is both front and rear wheel. Putting all regen on the accelerator allows a driver who uses their left foot for friction braking to separate the two functions (friction and regen). While the Model 3 will warn you if you are on the accelerator and brake simultaneously, it allows you to apply the friction brakes without any additional regen braking on the rear wheels.

Yes, it's true that using both feet to blend regen with friction takes more skill than having all braking on one pedal but, with friction and regen combined on the same pedal, it is necessary to apply full regen on the rear wheels before any front wheel friction braking can be accessed. With no electronic traction aids, that lack of control would be unacceptable, particularly in low traction situations where maximum rear wheel only regen could overwhelm the amount of available traction before the front wheels could access any braking at all. With electronic traction aids this compromise becomes workable (and is indeed functionally similar to a RWD Model 3 driver who uses only right foot braking) but the reduced driver control of the braking bias front/rear (with regen on the brake pedal) is less than ideal.

An ice car, without any regen, does not have this issue (even though all braking is on the brake pedal) since a moderate brake application will apply the front and rear brakes simultaneously. Sometimes it's advantageous to have 100% rear wheel regen before any front brake is applied but, in other situations, it's advantageous to have access to a higher front wheel braking bias. Especially in traction limited situations whether that situation is caused by high corner speed or a reduced traction surface like sandy pavement, snow/ice or gravel road.

Putting 100% of regen on the brake pedal makes it impossible to apply a 20% braking force without it being 100% rear wheel braking force. AWD makes that a moot point but for us RWD owners, having the regen on a separate pedal provides more control when using left foot braking (which I know you are fond of). But, yeah, you would need to learn new braking habits to use this to your advantage.
 

msjulie

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Using one foot on each pedal allows the full range of full power braking through full power acceleration to be accessed smoothly and consistently, after some practice.
On this I'm unlikely ever to agree :) We have 1 remaining pure ICE car in the family, a small turbo charged engine with a 5 speed manual. Last thing I ever want to do is inadvertently train any family members to use their left foot for something other than clutch-on-gear-change; getting them not to (even lightly) rest that left foot anywhere near that clutch was an education event.

Also with that car, engine breaking is real and effective which is why I like regen in the Tesla - closest similar feel to driving a manual - pretty much the only cars I've ever owned prior to leasing/owning EVs

Blending the braking for folks that just want go and stop pedals is fine, not arguing that..

As matter of background, I used to be active in SCCA racing (not pro) and know all about left foot braking, heel and toe etc - I don't see the average texting-while-driving 'driver' ever learning the finesse of dancing on the pedals for maximum performance. I just want them to go when the light turns green, not rear end me because they're reading facebook, and more or less stay in their lane when piloting multi-ton wheeled weapons on public roads.

:)
 

JeffC

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On this I'm unlikely ever to agree :) We have 1 remaining pure ICE car in the family, a small turbo charged engine with a 5 speed manual. Last thing I ever want to do is inadvertently train any family members to use their left foot for something other than clutch-on-gear-change; getting them not to (even lightly) rest that left foot anywhere near that clutch was an education event.

Also with that car, engine breaking is real and effective which is why I like regen in the Tesla - closest similar feel to driving a manual - pretty much the only cars I've ever owned prior to leasing/owning EVs

Blending the braking for folks that just want go and stop pedals is fine, not arguing that..

As matter of background, I used to be active in SCCA racing (not pro) and know all about left foot braking, heel and toe etc - I don't see the average texting-while-driving 'driver' ever learning the finesse of dancing on the pedals for maximum performance. I just want them to go when the light turns green, not rear end me because they're reading facebook, and more or less stay in their lane when piloting multi-ton wheeled weapons on public roads.

:)
Sorry to be unclear. Left foot braking is only used on cars with no clutch.

Yes, definitely never rest a foot on a clutch pedal, as that can wear out the clutch. That's why most cars have a dead pedal left of the clutch to rest the foot there.

For cars with a clutch, the standard racing technique is called heel and toe. The left foot is used for the clutch and the right foot operates both the brake and the throttle simultaneously when downshifting. The ball of the right foot operates the brake and the side of the right foot blips the throttle to match gear speeds during a downshift. (Since you're a racer, you know all this; it's for the benefit of others who may not know.)

Totally agree driving skills are bad and getting much worse due to texting, Facebook updates, etc. I've seen people who drive like drunk due to texting. Not to mention simply bad practices like running stop signs, running red lights, etc. Stuff that can kill.

That said, left foot braking on a non-clutch car is excellent. Every racer I know uses it on the track and street.
 
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msjulie

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#16
For cars with a clutch, the standard racing technique is called heel and toe. The left foot is used for the clutch and the right foot operates both the brake and the throttle simultaneously when downshifting. The ball of the right foot operates the brake and the side of the right foot blips the throttle to match gear speeds during a downshift.
Yes thanks I know :) cause...

As matter of background, I used to be active in SCCA racing
My point was that folks who don't drive in that more competitive way don't need to be confused when moving between cars...

edit

I will add that to be more precise, left foot braking doesn't replace heel/toe downshifting which is really different (downshifting on enter a turn as example) where left-foot breaking can be useful ie light tap on the brake right before a turn-in with no intension of downshifting...

Anyway, off topic maybe? :)
 
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JeffC

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#17
@msjulie I edited my post after yours. Yes, it's a bit off topic, but relevant to how cars are driven in general. And why they should be set up in certain ways, particularly with respect to regen.

In my experience left foot braking is almost universally used by racers on race tracks, definitely autocross, short track racing, on any car that has no clutch.

Since EVs have no clutch, the potential use of left foot braking with them is relevant.

For cars that do have a clutch, heel and toe is almost always the way to go.
 

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Did you miss my comment that I used to do SCCA road racing? Just wondering.. maybe I wasn't clear :)

I agree with everything except left-foot braking on the street just because the car has only 2 pedals; I'm not connived that *most* folks really will ever benefit from trying to learn that and on the contrary, outside my racer friends, I've seen too many folks end up resting that left foot on the brake like all the time (ugh)
 

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Did you miss my comment that I used to do SCCA road racing? Just wondering.. maybe I wasn't clear :)

I agree with everything except left-foot braking on the street just because the car has only 2 pedals; I'm not connived that *most* folks really will ever benefit from trying to learn that and on the contrary, outside my racer friends, I've seen too many folks end up resting that left foot on the brake like all the time (ugh)
Actually missed it at first, which is why I edited my reply above.

Left foot braking on the street rocks, and it's not hard to do after some practice. Pretty much every racer I know uses it both on street and track on cars with no clutch. Agree it's not commonly used by non-racers. Their loss, IMO. It's much better for many reasons.

It's not hard to learn to not rest a foot on a brake or clutch that are not actively being used. But yes, anyone doing that will wear out their brakes or clutch. Maybe after paying for some replacements, they'll learn not to.