Question: Wife HATES "regenerative braking" feature on Model S Test Drive...

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#1
Greetings! This is my first post and i'm quite new to the community. I do have a model 3 reservation and am located in Seattle, WA, not a Tesla employee, and have never owned a Tesla prior. I did reserve on April 1 therefore I have a chance to get a Model 3 as early as January! I am very excited!

I wasn't quite sure where to post this question so if i'm in the wrong forum, please let me know.

My wife had the opportunity today to drive a Model S and she texted me after: "Hate the way it drives. It autobrakes anytime you take foot off the gas which is suuuuppppper annoying..."

What she was actually experiencing, thanks for the clarification was, "regenerative braking."

This text broke my heart!

We are new to the Tesla community and I was aware of this, but has anyone else had this reaction to driving a Tesla the first time? Will the Model 3 drive similar? Do you get used to it? How can I keep her excited for our Model 3!!

Thank you in advance, I appreciate any comments and feedback. :)

PS - I'm not going to get a new wife :)
 
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skygraff

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#2
She was experiencing regenerative braking which is actually a great feature of electric vehicles and is very well done in Teslas. It allows for almost one-pedal driving (down to about 5mph) and doesn't take long to not only get used to but to love.

Model S & X (one presumes 3 as well) have a setting option called "creep mode" to mimic typical automatic transmission style ICE idle movement if she doesn't like regenerative braking but she should take a little time to get used to the single pedal driving. Many say it is less fatiguing and very intuitive. Basically, you gently reduce pressure (like a treadle pedal) which gives you minute control over motor/wheel speed.

Auto braking is a completely different feature.
 
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#3
Thank you so much for the reply and correction on what she was actually experiencing. I can see how it is beneficial and makes more sense. I know have some talking points for when she gets home from work after her lunchtime test drive. That is very interesting about "creep mode" too.

Thank you!
 

SSonnentag

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#4
Having driven hybrids and Volts for several years, I agree with your wife. I think the regeneration at light throttle (no brake pedal) should be an option, not mandatory. It's fun around town and is nice in stop-and-go traffic, but it gets fatiguing holding your foot so lightly on the throttle in an attempt to maintain speed, not reduce speed. I would like the option to turn regeneration off so that I could truly coast (maximum efficiency) when I completely let off the throttle. Then if I want to slow down I could use the brake to manually engage regeneration.

PS I know EV's don't truly have throttles, but it's entrenched in my brain. :)
 

Rich M

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#7
...the brake pedal on a Tesla only ever engages the mechanical brake. It does not add more regen.
This is great info. So taking your foot completely off the throttle gets you 100% available regen in any given situation? But this raises more questions for me, speaking for the RWD Teslas:
  1. If I spend most of the time driving non-aggressively and only use the brake pedal from 5-0 MPH, this means the rear wheels+tires are doing the majority of the braking while the fronts spin freely offering no resistance, akin to stopping a regular car with the parking/hand brake. With weight shifting forward under deceleration+regen this means the rear wheels unload as they do most of the braking. Wouldn't this accelerate rear tire wear?
  2. In slippery conditions (gravel, snow) I assume the ABS system detects any rear wheel slippage on trailing throttle and immediately kills regen to keep the rear end in line?
 

garsh

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#8
So taking your foot completely off the throttle gets you 100% available regen in any given situation?
No. All I'm saying is that the brake pedal doesn't control regen - it only controls the friction brakes.
Regen in a Tesla is somewhat configurable from the main display, but I'm not familiar with all of the possibilities. I know there's some control over the maximum regen it will exert when you lift off the accelerator.
If I spend most of the time driving non-aggressively and only use the brake pedal from 5-0 MPH, this means the rear wheels+tires are doing the majority of the braking while the fronts spin freely offering no resistance, akin to stopping a regular car with the parking/hand brake. With weight shifting forward under deceleration+regen this means the rear wheels unload as they do most of the braking. Wouldn't this accelerate rear tire wear?
I would think so, but we'd probably be better off asking an owner of a non-dual-motor Model S. Be sure to rotate your tires if you'd like even tire wear!
In slippery conditions (gravel, snow) I assume the ABS system detects any rear wheel slippage on trailing throttle and immediately kills regen to keep the rear end in line?
Again, someone who owns a rear-drive Model S could better answer that question.

Any volunteers? :)
 

Brokedoc

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#9
So this is my take on driving a Tesla and the regen.

My first test drive, My passengers and I felt like I were in a driver's ed class for me to learn how to drive a stick shift. Electric accelerates so much faster, the passengers would jerk back and lifting your foot off the accelerator to coast to a stop sign, the passengers would jerk forward and the car would stop 20 feet before the stop sign. It was embarrassing and annoying.

That lasted 15 minutes until you figure that you don't need to step on the gas as hard to accelerate and you almost never lift your foot off the accelerator unless you want to come to a complete stop or if you need to stop faster than the regen braking will slow you.

Two settings can be adjusted to make the car drive more conventionally but they both decrease energy.

As mentioned above, there is a CREEP feature where the motors pull a little as soon as the you lift the brakes a little. Based on my power usage meter, I see it uses a little power even before my foot is completely off the brake and before the car starts creeping.

The second feature is a selectable Brake Regen level. On the MX, you can choose LOW or STANDARD regen. Standard is likely what was on when your wife did the test drive. Low is similar to driving a regular ICE but doesn't recharge the battery as much when slowing down. I was told by the OA that some people choose to set Regen to Low when they have passengers so they don't get carsick but flip it back to standard when driving alone. Personally, I feel that after a few days, I mastered the accelerator to the point that my passengers can't tell the difference.

And yes, use of Regen SIGNIFICANTLY decreases wear on your brake system and most drivers can drive with minimal use of the brake pedal.
 

Topher

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#10
It might help to think of it in two concepts:

1) Regenerative braking: that is simply that when braking, the engine is driven by the wheels creating power which is stored in the battery (the reverse of regular driving).
2) One pedal driving: The accelerator pedal has a section of the pedal travel, where it is accelerating the car, and a section where it is actively slowing the car.

All electric cars have regenerative braking which they use to slow the car to the largest extent possible given the engineering. Most of them put a bit of that braking on the accelerator at various levels (Tesla has two settings for the max amount of braking). Some cars also have regen braking on the brake pedal itself (Tesla is not one of those).

Thank you kindly.
 

KennethK

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#11
Also there is a position on the accelerator pedal about half way down that is a " neutral" position that neither accelerates or decelerates the vehicle. You will learn it quickly and will become very natural. One pedal driving, the best thing ever!
 

mig

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#13
Not sure if this is helpful, but I've driven both 2012 LEAF and 2015 i3. I found I *really* like single pedal driving in the i3, though it did take a little bit to get used to it. I would hate to be a creeper again.

The one thing that took longest to get used to was freeway driving. When you see brake lights ahead of you, the tendency is to lift your foot off the accelerator and prepare to brake. In the i3 this engages the brake immediately, so for the first couple weeks I must have looked like a pretty bad driver with one foot on accelerator and one on the brake! Now I am used to it and have really gotten to like it.
 
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#14
Brett, it takes getting used to. Maybe rent a Tesla for a day or two so you can both try driving for longer than a "test drive". And perhaps if your wife talks to other Tesla owners she'll get their perspective on how they got used to it.
 

orcinus

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#15
  1. In slippery conditions (gravel, snow) I assume the ABS system detects any rear wheel slippage on trailing throttle and immediately kills regen to keep the rear end in line?
There was someone in here (not sure which thread) mentioning their Tesla (and someone else’s Bolt) loses regen for a bit (half a second?) after going over a bump on the road. Since going over a bump is a condition similar to slippage (from ABS / traction control point of view), i’m guessing any detected slippage simply kills regen and gives ABS / traction control immediate priority.
 

garsh

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There was someone in here (not sure which thread) mentioning their Tesla (and someone else’s Bolt) loses regen for a bit (half a second?) after going over a bump on the road. Since going over a bump is a condition similar to slippage (from ABS / traction control point of view), i’m guessing any detected slippage simply kills regen and gives ABS / traction control immediate priority.
That would be nice if true.

My Leaf drops regen permanently once it hits a bump. You have to completely take your foot off the brake before regen will start working again. Quite annoying.
 

JWardell

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#18
My wife had the opportunity today to drive a Model S and she texted me after: "Hate the way it drives. It autobrakes anytime you take foot off the gas which is suuuuppppper annoying..."
While I am a huge fan of the idea of regen, I recently test drove the S as well and had the exact same initial reaction.
It will come as a surprise to anyone.

The real problem is that Tesla's 15-minute test drives just aren't long enough. It takes a few days to get used to a significant change to driver input like this.
Thankfully, Tesla lets you select different levels of regen. (I hope these are automatically switch with driver profile?)
But don't be discouraged. You can turn it down for her, and I bet she will get used to it over time, and maybe even dislike driving anything without it after a while!

As a longtime fan of stick shift cars, I can't stand automatics that don't engine brake and creep when stopped. Of course it's nowhere near as extreme as Tesla regen but I know a few days in to driving my 3 I'm going to hate any other type of car transmission!
 

orcinus

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#19
Ugh. I never drove automatics for longer than a few minutes.
And they drove me nuts. I'm almost 100% stick shift.

The only EV i drove was a 911 electric conversion by RUF (eRUF), but that was on a race track. Curiously, i don't remember anything really confusing me with it - might be it didn't have regen at all. I do remember the brake pedal was SUPER touchy and would stop the car dead at the lightest touch. Maybe they had a mix of brakes + regen on the brake pedal.

In any case, looks like i'm going to need a period of adjustment...
And since i've mostly been walking and using public transport for the past few years (dis/advantages of remote working), i guess i should use my time till early 2019 to get to grips with driving EVs.

PS: I mean, i know the basics of what to expect, and how an EV should behave, but knowing it, and feeling it are two different things :)
 

Rich Nuth

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#20
You can set the regen to standard or low. Low feels more like an ICE when you take your foot off the pedal, but you lose almost all of the benefit of the regen. Creep mode is another setting to make the electric Tesla behave more like an ICE in that it will start to creep forward like an ICE that is idling in drive.

I have my X set to standard regen and creep off. It was real easy to get used to the regen, and I like not having to keep my foot on the brake pedal at a stop light (creep off enables the hold setting on the brakes to apply more readily under normal conditions).