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ICE driving dynamics deterioration

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by sillydriver, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. sillydriver

    sillydriver Member

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    #1 sillydriver, Dec 21, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
    Last week I had my five year old range rover in the shop and was given a new mid-range Jaguar as a loaner, which is considered a nice car. This post is not about the huge difference between the driving my P85D and the Jaguar, which somehow felt ponderous despite being over 1200 pounds lighter than the Tesla. This post is about two "features" the new Jaguar had (and I had not tested before) which also appear in new Range Rovers and other new ICE cars thanks to government fuel economy regulations.


    The first is engine stop-start when stopping at a light or stop sign. I suppose I could get used to it, but I find it really annoying. Stop-start can be defeated by pressing a button, but it has to be done each trip after taking it out of park.


    The second "feature" is the eight speed transmission, also tuned to meet fuel economy regulations. Accelerate to 60 and it shifts into such a high gear that the engine rumbles along just over idle. Lift your foot and there is no engine braking at all: the car continues to rumble along at pretty-much undiminished speed. I love the feel of engine braking, which is one of many reasons I love the Tesla, and which is one reason I've always chosen the largest engine when buying cars. When you floor the 8-speed Jaguar, it feels like it takes about five minutes to shift down the six gears needed to get going. Putting the transmission in sport mode doesn't seem to help very much.


    The point is that continuously tightening government fuel economy regulations are likely to continue to make the driving experience of pure ICE cars worse over time, relative to what Tesla already delivers. Soon, stepping on it will probably yield a turbo lag on a tiny engine. I suppose hybrid technology would help, if it is tuned for performance as in a P1 or new NSX, but the Tesla advantage will increase over time thanks to ICE Regulations, and I feel more bullish about the company's long-run prospects than before. As for my Rover, I now plan to keep it as long as I can rather than buy the new generation with stop-start, etc.
     
  2. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    Very much agree with you.

    I did not like the start/stop feature MBZ had implemented on their SLK 350, so I went with a 250 Turbo that was more than sufficient for my needs -- but it had the annoying turbo lag kick-in problem you describe even when I wasn't trying to "step on the pedal" having a little fun and just driving around town. It was a trade-off between the two evils in my purchase decision a couple years ago. Even my former Lexus RX450h (Hybrid) at times had a slight rumble as the ICE would turn off at stop lights. It did have variable transmission so it was otherwise really smooth on the road... but I'm already SO spoiled with my absolutely smooth MS, that nothing else I've ever owned or have driven tops it. Love my Tesla!
     
  3. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    The stone age didn't end because people ran out of stones. :)

    As you say, the instant electric torque (and regen) is simply a fundamental improvement on the way we drive, even in the smaller portions given out by a Volt or Leaf.

    It seems likely that in the not too distant future an "electric first" hybrid (GM senior folks described the Volt's CS operation that way, meaning that the car answered the pedal demand immediately using battery power, then adjusted the engine to balance the desired power flow) will be the only way to approach EV driving experiences.

    I'll be very interested to see what Honda does with their system in the RLX, once they have some production volume behind them and any issues worked out. Electric AWD with torque vectoring, in an otherwise fairly conventional luxury sport hybrid - it could be a good pattern for Honda to build on in most of their platforms, if they aren't going to go more electric and can bring the costs down.
    Walter
     
  4. jcaspar

    jcaspar Member

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    The EV driving dynamic is pretty amazing. Coming from a Dodge Viper with similar torque to my P85 it is amazing to get that same rapid off the line acceleration with such a tiny (compared to a 8L V10!) electric motor. While there is no may my Tesla could keep up with the Viper over 60 MPH, the driving dynamic of the Tesla is remarkably similar to the Viper at lower speeds: tremendous torque and the regen is very much like driving a stick (though much less aggressive than when in second gear in the Viper). I think drivers used to smaller V6/V8's find it very appealing.
     
  5. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

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    My MBZ has both the bi-turbo lag! and the stop/start function. Hate it.
     
  6. aus

    aus Member

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    All automatic transmissions coast forever since i've been driving over the last 25 years.
    Not sure what auto tranny has engine braking build into it????
     
  7. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    I have a momentary feeling of panic when back in an ICE car taking my foot off the gas, and it just coasts... a feeling like my brake lines have been cut! OH YA, then I remember I have to move my foot over to the brake pedal to slow down.
     
  8. thegruf

    thegruf Member

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    +1

    and absolutely agree that the one thing which is often missed is that the Tesla accelerates from the moment you move the accelerator, ICE cars have to shuffle gears for an age before getting going.

    Even at 50mph if you took a Tesla and even a very rapid ICE on a highway and gave the same instruction at the same moment (equivalent to driver spotted a gap to overtake) the Tesla would destroy the ICE as the ICE would take 0.5 - 1s to muck around the gearbox before hitting max acceleration.
     
  9. sillydriver

    sillydriver Member

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    #9 sillydriver, Jan 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
    Mbz SL600 V12 with 5 speed in sport mode (Renntech transmission software) isn't bad. Nor is a Bentley Continental GT W12 6 speed in sport (holds gear up to ~3k RPM). Nor is a Range Rover 5L V8 in sport. I admit the coasting in my loaner Jag felt worse after driving almost nothing but a Tesla for months.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Here again, I admit the shift delay in the loaner felt worse after driving almost nothing but the Tesla for a while.
     
  10. CSFTN

    CSFTN Member

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    Disagree. Older automatic cars leave the car in gear while you are coasting, which has a braking effect. Newer automatic cars, especially those with a ZF electronic automatic transmission, now have a feature called "sailing mode" where the car automatically disengages the transmission (i.e. puts it in neutral) when you are coasting, and then automatically puts it back in the appropriate gear as soon as you step on the gas. In BMWs, it saves you about 1 mpg in the typical EPA course. Stop-Start adds another 1 mpg.
     
  11. spottyq

    spottyq Member

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    I've never seen* an automatic car go into neutral by itself. Recent automatics will upshift when coasting, and if the motor is equipped to do so, cut the fuel supply. At no point** is the motor disengaged from the wheels.
    If the car were to put the transmission in neutral, you'd see the engine idle and the instantaneous consumption would show something, instead of 0.0l/100km (or infinite mpg.)

    * I've only driven 3 different automatics, from 2 different brands; always the top-of-the-line transmission with double clutch and all the bells and whistles. All these car were made after 2010.
    ** Except when changing gears, obviously.

    By the way, I have trouble seeing why someone would dislike the start/stop, especially here on TMC, where you are used to having a silent car when stopped. I find it to be a very intelligent feature, which greatly improves comfort at red lights and in stop and go traffic, at the same time as it improves fuel consumption.

    The only downside I can see (it does not bother me) is that you can't punch it at a moment's notice. I can certainly imagine how it would bother me if the start/stop was slower than what I am used to, but I doubt the high-end cars cited in this thread would have a bad implementation of the feature… or am I wrong ?
     
  12. cab

    cab Member

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    #12 cab, Jan 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
    Agree with the OP 100%. Here is an excerpt of a post I wrote on the GM-VOLT.com forum with regard to our old 2012 Chevy Volt:

    *****************************************************

    One thing folks have trouble understanding is how the "slow" 0-60 time of cars like the Focus EV, Leaf, and Volt relates in real world driving. I describe it like this. The VAST majority of cars on the road these days have automatic transmissions so let's look at their driving characteristics. When you are taking off from a stop you are either headed straight or about to make a turn onto another road. If someone is in front of you, they typically take off slowly and then accelerate (whether in a straight line or after you have rounded the turn). You are behind them and take off slowly as well. Today's automatics are set to upshift as quickly as possible to achieve the desired EPA mileage figures. So what happens is the car is quickly in second or third gear (maybe even fourth) by the time you want to get moving so then you press the pedal a bit...and are met with little in the way of acceleration (due to the high gear)...so you press it more. At that point you have either leisurely moved up to the speed you want to be at OR you get a nice unsettling downshift and the car launches. One of the things that draws drivers to MANUAL transmission cars is they are in the gear THEY want to be in. They can see they are about to slow for a turn or will need to accelerate quickly onto a frontage road after making a turn or whatever. In those instances they leave the car in the gear they ANTICIPATE needing to be in. The "one speed transmission" in EVs is like having a first gear that never ends (well, it does, but you know what I mean). As a result, when you round that corner, accelerate slow and then need to push quicker, etc. you are always in the "right" gear for the situation. This solves my single biggest complaint about automatic transmissions - the ability to be in the right gear right when I need it.


    The high torque of an EV makes it even better - just like higher torque ICE cars are simply nicer to drive. My wife has a Volvo XC60 with 354 lbs of torque and the 6 speed auto. We took it in recently for service and had a loaner XC60 with one of the new 4 cylinder turbos and an 8 speed auto. The driving experience was VERY different. The biggest difference was the extra torque in her car allowed it to stay in the gear it was in when applying partial throttle in order to accelerate for mild passing maneuvers, etc. The new 4 banger with so much less torque always required a kickdown which, due to the "eco" tuning of everything these days, it was reluctant to give. "Sport" mode helped, but even then, it just wasn't the same.


    High Torque and One Speed is "automatic transmission" nirvana.

    Finally, here is irony for you...I came from an E39 BMW M5, but on many days I actually drove my Volt more quickly than I did the M5! So this begs the question "Which car is providing more of the "sports car" ownership experience day in and day out? The "faster" one driven more slowly or the "slower" one driven more quickly?"

    ********************************************************

    The Model S, of course, takes everything that is true for all EVs and ratchets it up to 11...good times!
     
  13. Dbitter1

    Dbitter1 Journeyman Member

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    OMG absolutely! It's that season here in Chicago where regen limits kick in, and it is almost the same thing... imagine how much we could blame friction loss from rotors for in the whole climate change debate... what a waste of energy.

    ---

    Almost a "Tesla moments" crosspost. Got my first annual service... car was fine except... the brakes needed servicing. I'm thinking "what?".... well... this was the opposite of repair... they were so underutilized, they accumulated road grime from under-use.

    Fixed (cleaned and lubricated) at no charge (thanks SC team!) at any rate, and was pleasantly assured that yes, I am, indeed, "doing it right".
     
  14. sillydriver

    sillydriver Member

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    Interesting comment! It may be that what I hated about the loaner's transmission was "sailing mode" as opposed to 8 speeds per se. The automatic transmissions I mentioned above that allow good engine braking are all in cars several years old.

    - - - Updated - - -

    While double-clutch transmissions are automatic in the sense of computer control of shifts, DC transmissions with odd and even cogs on different spindles and clutches that disengage one of the spindles while simultaneously engaging the other are fundamentally different from the classic kind of torque-converter / planetary gearset automatics that were the only automatics until a few years ago. The ZF transmissions mentioned with sailing mode are the classic kind, as are all the automatics I've driven. I've never driven a DC and would probably like it because of its manual mode.

    Stop-start restarts the engine when you lift your foot from the brake to move it to the accelerator. The main reason I don't like it is that it isn't smooth: there is a Vroom! that sounds like you're starting an ICE car ... because that's exactly what you are doing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    The OP totally agrees with your agreement with the OP. Your post is a great example of my basic point: you can tune a drivetrain for good/fun driving dynamics or you can tune if for low CO2, and get awful driving dynamics in a car that meets increasingly tough gov regulations. Because that will be increasingly required, the electric drivetrain relative advantage is going to keep on increasing.
     
  15. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    I dislike start/stop. It's because a silent car is much improved. So much so that once stopped, I dread the light turning green and suddenly the beast wakes up and growls and shudders and vibrates and lurches forward. The change is disconcerting. Once underway, one gets used to the beast again, and then the car stops and the vibration goes away and the noise goes away and suddenly you realize once again the major disadvantages of an ICE, and you are sad to know that you have to put up with it again in a bit. I cannot enjoy the silence knowing it will be gone soon.

    I once had a loaner BMW ActiveHybrid 7 series. That has start/stop and a teeny tiny EV assist mode that works a low speed for a few hundred yards (the battery appears to be charged only via regen, so sometimes there isn't much juice to start off with). It's a bit nicer because the battery gets the car moving silently, and the beast doesn't show up until once underway. It's a perfect advertisement for the advantages of a real EV: never having to deal with the beast.
     
  16. pmt32577

    pmt32577 Member

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    I have a BMW M135i with the 8 speed automatic and stop start. I find the problems with it are a bit more subtle, but definitely there. In 'normal' mode it barely has any engine braking because it is sitting in as high a gear as possible. That isn't too much of a problem unless you are driving behind another car that does have some semblance of engine braking. You then either have to switch to and from the brake or what I often do now is use the steering paddles to drop it a gear or two. Whilst it is an easier operation than a manual I'm still forced to treat it like a manual. Lots of other people have covered the slow acceleration followed by pause then a kick down, acceleration still slow, another pause and another kick down. Stop start I find really good for traffic lights but absolutely awful for stop/start traffic where it sometimes kicks in as you stop only to have to be undone a second later as you move off again.

    The BMW, by most normal measures, is a superb car and apart from the steering being quite dead has been a pleasure. Until I test drove the Tesla, now it just seems to be a noisy, vibrating, irritating pile of junk. My Model S should be arriving in March and I can't wait!
     
  17. aus

    aus Member

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    You're talking about an aftermarket transmission tune that's obviously holding lower gears without selecting a sport mode.

    Not sure what cars you're talking about but everything from a 1970's Country Square wagon to all the Honda/Toyota's I've driven and now BMW/MB I've driven over the last 25 years didn't have any significant engine braking in regular transmission setting.
    Sailing mode is even more coasting, like you said.
    I'd be interested in know any auto box that will give engine braking similar to a Tesla once you lift off the gas. Even many manual cars I've owned don't engine brake like with the Tesla's regen with lifting.
    .
     

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