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Paddle shifters for the Model S

Edit: seems this URL did not make it; spam filter how-paddle-shifters-have-new-meaning-electric-world-126978.html

I first noticed this in the Mercedes SLS Electric Drive video. And now it seems to be sort-of a new standard in EV's. I would really like to see Tesla adding this to the (2014) Model S. How it operates could be any kind of system, preferably user-configurable. I'd go for the Audi/VW mode, just on the left paddle. And have the right paddle be some other function that I can configure.

Even driving a 6-speed semi-automatic ICE (aged car), I already use the left paddle to downshift, and slow down.

Would you like this? What other uses could you see, now and in the future for the paddles?

@vgrinshpun, Brian & DTSea: thanks for the objective comments, appreciated.

Perhaps I need to edit the title to Paddle 'controls' so people move beyond thinking in terms of the ICE age. I guess some people just read the title and respond emotionally. I understand, they have the pleasure of driving the car, while I (and many non US citizens) can only wait, and need to get our Tesla-fix here.

So as DTsea explains, there would be a possible range improvement if one could easily switch between Standard regen and low. Since the commute usually involves slow traffic (suburban roads), fast traffic (highways) and slow traffic again (city), changing this setting might improve battery energy level? Does it also have an effect on the 'wear and tear', or the lifetime of the battery?

Or have the TM engineers actually taken these things into account and are changing the actual regen according not only the setting but also the speed you are going at? I would assume not (yet) as there is a manual setting in the center console.

I think the point missed by the non-owners is if you want less regen you simply let off the accelerator less. When you get your car you will understand.
If you want to cost you simple bump the shifter down and the car goes in neutral. Hit it down again and the car goes in drive.... very similar to a paddle shifter.

I don't see a problem with making it so pulling the shifter forward switches between regen levels. I just don't see the need for it.

I also want to reiterate. There would be no range improvement if you learn how to control the accelerator and not floor it then completely release the pedal every time.... altho I admit it is very hard to not floor it all the time.
If you only want 30kW of regen then only release the accelerator the amount needed. It becomes second nature after a while.

Well said Sudre_.

cost = coast

Sudre, completely agree. You get very good at modulating the regen to level desired from coast to full. after awhile it becomes second nature.

Well said, but the opposite:

Sudre_ | April 19, 2013
I think the point missed by the non-owners is if you want less regen you simply let off the accelerator less.

That would be "more". >;p

Doh; I got it wrong. Less regen is indeed less let-off.


I don't really get paddle 'shifters' in EVs. I think using the shift lever to set it and forget it would be fine.. In the Volt I drive in max regen (L) at all times and wish it regen'd even harder. In fact I wish there was no creep, max regen with Tesla style warning lights, and would stay still when off pedal (and in fact maintaining a standstill on an incline or decline).

I really am quite envious of Teslas support of owners vs. the business as usual that GM seems to be backsliding into. Early Volts have gotten none of the newer software features of later models, and that's a disappointment.

Sudre, thank you.

Someone asked if the Tesla engineers had considered this. Yes, it's the right pedal on the drivers side. And once you've had the car, you'll understand quickly.

I've also heard Prius owners talk about how well their car coasts. The Tesla will rarely coast because the motor is either driving the car forward, or extracting energy from the car's momentum, ie. regen. In practice, this is as smooth as silk. You might think you'd want to coast going downhill, but in reality, you want to go at the correct speed which might mean a little bit of power, or a little bit of regen, but very unlikely exactly coasting. In driving, all you do is modulate the pressure on the accelerator pedal and the car moves from powering to regen and back again with NO noticeable jerking at all. It is smooth effortless speed control.

BTW for those that like to go hard into the corners and are used to a manual transmission ICE that can downshift and use the clutch for engine breaking, the Model S can do the equivalent with its regen. Just lift off your foot more aggressively from the accelerator and you get up to 60 kW of regen braking which is just enough for hard cornering (if next year's model will allow up to 90 kW, it'll rival any 2 seater supercar in this regard).

"If you are not concentrating the old ICE behavior kicks in and you take your foot off the accelerator and move it to the brake getting unnecessary deceleration which then burns power when you have to accelerate again."

This is definitely NOT true for me. What does happen is that if I have to drive an ICE car, it takes me a few moments to adjust and change my behavior from my Model S habits, but I can adjust pretty quickly. Then again, I play too many video games and so I'm used to adjusting to different controls relatively quickly and internalizing them, and then forgetting about them later when it's no longer necessary to remember them.

The accelerator pedal gives you all the control over regen that you need.

@shop btw, I think the maximum regen braking is actually 120kW. As you can see on the guage, the major ticks increment exponentially (each tick is double the last). The last marked on the regen side of the gauge is 60kW, but you can see that the guage actually continues beyond that. If it follows the same pattern, the edge of the gauge on the bottom end, though it is not marked, should be 120kW.

Similarly at the top end, I think the maximum power draw is 640kW, not 320kW. (I'm saying that's what the gauge shows; I don't know whether it is possible to actually press the car that far).

Hate this idea of paddle shifters just for controlling regen amount.

First, it won't work like a manual gear shifter, it's going to be used only when decelerating.

Second, it seems to be unnecessarily complicated to operate a rather simple enough feature.

The reason the regen is limited to 60kW is not related to the limitation of the motor or inverter, but is safety related. This is rear wheel drive car and regen is fed by the rear wheels. Applying to much braking to the rear wheels on poor traction surfaces could lead to unsuspecting drivers performing spectacular drifting maneuvers in their Teslas while going to the local supermarket.

"There is a need to adjust the level of maximum regen to fit varying driving conditions and driver preferences."
There is no need to adjust it moment by moment other than with the accelerator. Tesla put in the lower regen setting because some people who drive automatics expect to be able to coast some. Others really are used to engine braking. So, set it and forget it.

"puzzled by the fury" Not fury. Just pointing out it is really not needed.

I also drive (and autocross) a 1999 BMW m-coupe. I choose the best gear for the situation. I live 1800 feet above Boulder, CO so when I go to town it is downhill. My m-couple will go down at a steady 45 in third gear for most of the way. Shift to second at the bottom where there are tight turns. No brakes used.

My Tesla will go down at a steady 45 with my foot lightly on the accelerator, and lifting almost all the way gets me around the tight turns at the bottom. Same thing.

Remember, with the electric motor you have 16,000 RPMs to play with,
six or seven gears worth. No shifting needed.

I have driven my MS over 7000 miles now and the regen is fine on standard for me. I like not having to use my brakes all thatoften. also helping me to keep my avg below 345 Wh/mi. But one thing I would really like is adaptive speed adjustment for the steering mode. I could use a paddle to shift the mode but would prefer the ability to set steering mode to change at different speed levels. Slower

0-30 mph = comfort,
30-55 mph = standard
55+ = sport


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