Posts: 17
Joined: Fri May 28, 2021 9:50 am
Location: Milledgeville, GA

Driving in L uses More Energy?

My 2020 Bolt seems less Energy efficient. :eek:

Despite my careful driving (I'm a former Driving Instructor), and a Technique of +53.5 (up from 34.5 when I first got the car), my average mpkW went DOWN from 4.9 (high was 6) to 4.3. And, not once, did I see the green bar indicating excess energy.

However, on the way back to my place from the store, I stayed in D, and used the Regen Braking Paddle (friction brakes to stay stop, or stop because I misjudged the distance), not only did my mpkW increase to 4.6, the green excess energy bar appeared.

Has anyone else noticed this?
Posts: 183
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:13 pm

Re: Driving in L uses More Energy?

Short answer, no, I have not experienced this.

Longer answer:
I can't really comment on why you didn't get regen while "going to the store" and driving in L. Regen depends on how you modulate the accelerator and the terrain. Also, your miles per kWh depend on a lot of things. Regen is one but there are many more. So there's no real way to answer your question of why your efficiency went down to 4.3.
Pulling the paddle is the most aggressive way to generate regeneration, but overall my guess is that you get the same amount of regen if you use L or the paddle. It's just that the paddle provides a lot of regen, quickly, but driving in L smooths things out.
Posts: 432
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:58 am

Re: Driving in L uses More Energy?

Your battery was fully charged and hence it would not activate regenerative breaking

To avoid this problem, I set my maximum charge at home to 93%

I always drive in L (sometimes use the paddle as well) and the extra regeneration gives me more capacity/miles per charge.
Posts: 79
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:37 pm

Re: Driving in L uses More Energy?

Yes, it can.

Every time you take energy in and out of the battery there is an inefficiency. To driver perfectly in Low you must perfectly reflect your intention in the pressure you put on the accelerator.

The most energy efficient way to drive is to actually coast in neutral, but you cant' do that long, or often. Coasting is more efficient than converting kinetic energy into chemical energy, because you always lose something in the conversion.

Driving in D is easier than modulating your speed in Low if you want to maintain a constant speed, and therefore is usually more efficient.

Driving in L is most efficient if you are constantly changing speed.

For the most efficient driving you would in theory be switching between N D L and L + Regen paddle seamlessly and your passengers would never notice or feel a thing, and you would never touch the brake pedal.

In general watch your instant consumption reading. Typical driving to hit the EPA rated range on the Bolt is to have your consumption around 25% of the Speed. If you are going 60 mph your goal is to be using less than 15kw if you want to hit your stated EPA range. Stated another way thats 4 miles per kwh, By slowing down and really watching consumption, assuming no one is on your tail, you can get 1/7th your speed as energy consumption (56 mph at 8kwh)or 7 miles per kwh on both freeway and surface streets if terrain is flat and weather is good. That boosts your total range in the car to 420 miles if you stick to that average.

Do do that you have to be in an area that isn't highly traveled or you will annoy others. I find it helps to track speed as if you were on a 10 speed bicycle in your youth, climb hills slowly, watch consumption, steady speed on the flats, and coast downhill.

I've averaged over 7 for several hours at a stretch - its not fast or sexy, but its possible.

I also inflate my tires to 48PSI.

I do NOT drive this way with my wife in the car - it annoys her. Thanks to the Bolt however I have not been pulled over in years, I just cruise along doing math in my head.
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:39 pm

Re: Driving in L uses More Energy?

Yes, in a vehicle designed to accommodate that style of driving.

No, it's not possible in a Bolt, but then it's very easy and intuitive "To driver perfectly in Low you must perfectly reflect your intention in the pressure you put on the accelerator."

Maybe, accept that the methods OP suggests are only possible if one is the only vehicle on the road and the only one in the vehicle, "or you will annoy others." and most telling, "I do NOT drive this way with my wife in the car - it annoys her."

jack vines, who inflates to 38 PSI, uses L at all times, other than slick winter roads and loves the precision of control.
My vehicles
2017 Bolt Premier Cajun Red
2011 Saab 9-4X
2005 Saab 9-5
1998 Saab 9000 Aero
2004 Ford F250 6.0 Turbo Diesel
1963 Studebaker Avanti
1956 Studebaker Hawk custom with a supercharged Packard V8
1955 Studebaker custom pickup with a Packard V8

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