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Taking all EVs on a Test Drive, which one is best?

slcuervo

Member
Sep 26, 2014
276
11
France
Some of you might now that I started a blog a few months ago to post entries about my road trip in Europe, which I did this summer 2015, covering 10.000 km across 9 different countries.

I have now decided to use that blog to post entries on the EVs I am taking on test drives.

So far I have tested the VW e-Golf, the BMW i3, and the Mercedes B electric drive.

You can see the blog entries here: http://teslaroadtripeurope.blogspot.no

I of course compare them to each other, but also against the Tesla Model S, not to see which one is best, but rather to check for potential improvements on the Model S.

And so far I have come to the conclusion that Tesla really needs to inplement driving modes on its cars. That is something all other EVs have, and it is really a useful tool. It allows you a safer driving in winter conditions or slippery roads, and it will also allow you to save power and get more range out of the battery.

Another thing I found interesting is one of the regen modes of the Mercedes, which works with the ACC radar and adjusts regen level to the traffic situation and the road incline. For example, if the road is flat and you lift your foot off, it does not regen brake, but has you coasting. But if you do the same downhill or with a slower vehicle ahead, it will regen brake. Quite interesting, although I am not sure I would ise it.

Those improvements are easy to deploy via OTA SW updates, so I am thinking that implementing drive modes would be an interesting suggestion to log into Tesla Motors' website.

Thoughts?
 

SabrToothSqrl

Active Member
Dec 5, 2014
3,802
3,119
PA
Nahh.

If you want to drive more conservatively just use less throttle. I don't need modes or 200 options to make the car go faster/slower. The pedal works just fine :)

You have to do the hokey pokey with most cars just to put them in 'launch' or 'fast' or 'sport' modes. At least the Tesla has just one option to go faster...

The 1/8 mile of a diesel automatic is faster than a BMW when you have both start from the 'car off' position. by the time you get the latter into launch mode, the other car wins.
 

techmaven

Active Member
Feb 27, 2013
3,618
9,711
I don't think there is any need for modes. The software should adjust according to current conditions and you have the ultimate control with the go pedal.
 

jimtelsa

Member
Mar 31, 2013
414
125
Simi Valley
after driving the volt for the three years, I will take the one mode of the tesla any day....I agree just adjust with the pedal. No need for modes...
I always drop it in sport to get more power, won't stay there...with the tesla...nuff said...
 

slcuervo

Member
Sep 26, 2014
276
11
France
But what about slippery roads and snow/ice/slush in winter? I live in Norway and I can tell you, it would be really helpful to have a mode that transmits power to the wheels smoothly, rather than having traction control going crazy all the time.

What you all said sounds reasonable for dry roads and good grip. But think of ice and snow... wouldn´t it be helpful?
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Supporting Member
Oct 22, 2012
4,299
3,918
Santa Barbara/New York
I have an eGolf and a Model S. The model S DOES have 2 regen modes. Normal, and low. If you were concerned about too much regen on ice, you could turn to low. I find the Tesla approach far better than the eGolf. Having to select regen mode each time you start the car is annoying... in fact, it is just about the only thing I DON'T like about the eGolf. Except of course 100 mile range.
 

gg_got_a_tesla

Model S: VIN 65513, Model 3: VIN 1913
Jan 29, 2010
6,534
769
Redwood Shores, CA
Regarding driving modes, the Model S does have a Range Mode that lets you use less energy via the HVAC and also employ torque sleep more aggressively in dual motor cars.
 

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
10,783
8,019
Maine
I don't think there is any need for modes. The software should adjust according to current conditions and you have the ultimate control with the go pedal.

Modes are useful.
I like precise control with longer pedal travel. I drive the Prius in Eco and the Volt in normal, and I make some use of Low to slow down.
My wife likes shorter pedal travel for easy oomph. She drives the Prius in Power* and the Volt in Sport, and doesn't shift to Low.
But, in difficult road conditions my wife will use Prius Eco and Volt Normal to help reduce traction control panic.

* Not at all if she can help it
 

FlasherZ

Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
7,028
1,017
Yes... I'd like "4 wheel non-power-assist maladjusted drum brakes on a 4,000 lb car" mode. Makes my Pontiac a fun car to drive, wondering whether you're going to be able to stop or not as the car pulls you toward the left...
 

ggr

Expert in Dunning-Kruger Effect!
Supporting Member
Mar 24, 2011
7,000
27,724
San Diego, CA
Modes are useful.

Most human interface specialists think that modes are at best a design compromise and at worst a really bad idea. I've been very impressed by the traction control in the Tesla, and personally would rather trust it in the ice and snow than turn it off... but then I rarely have to drive in ice or snow, and when I do it's usually a rental with bad or no traction control.
 

David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,028
Brea, Orange County
The Model S already has 'modes' in many ways! The driver profile is a set of adjustments saved under one button. Steering, regen, air suspension and power output (sport/insane) all have different modes. 'Valet mode' is another example. 'Range mode' yet another example. No one thinks all those settings are a bad idea. If you don't like them, you just never touch them. No harm done. If you don't care about range or energy consumption, fine, ignore the modes.
Yes you can a lot on your own with your right foot. Just like you can type words on your phone just fine, yet auto correct and word prediction turns out to be very useful. just because something can already be done, doesn't mean there is no room for improvement. Why do we need a rain sensor that handles the wiper when I have the button right at fingers? Why ACC when I need to keep my eye on the road anyways? Why automatic head lights when I can clearly see when it's dark or bright out? All can be done already, but those features make it easier and more convenient. Driving modes are the same idea.
 

slcuervo

Member
Sep 26, 2014
276
11
France
The Model S already has 'modes' in many ways! The driver profile is a set of adjustments saved under one button. Steering, regen, air suspension and power output (sport/insane) all have different modes. 'Valet mode' is another example. 'Range mode' yet another example. No one thinks all those settings are a bad idea. If you don't like them, you just never touch them. No harm done. If you don't care about range or energy consumption, fine, ignore the modes.
Yes you can a lot on your own with your right foot. Just like you can type words on your phone just fine, yet auto correct and word prediction turns out to be very useful. just because something can already be done, doesn't mean there is no room for improvement. Why do we need a rain sensor that handles the wiper when I have the button right at fingers? Why ACC when I need to keep my eye on the road anyways? Why automatic head lights when I can clearly see when it's dark or bright out? All can be done already, but those features make it easier and more convenient. Driving modes are the same idea.

Indeed!

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Smart ED is one of the funnest EV's you can drive. Highly recommended to drive.


Makes my hands shake when I drive it.

I think they don´t manufacture them anymore? Am I under the wrong impression?

I need to check it out!

So far I am impressed by the amount of equipment and extra features they have added to the Kia Soul EV, which I currently drive, and will be returning today - the blog entry will follow later. But the best one so far, I think, is the Mercedes B e-drive.

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I have an eGolf and a Model S. The model S DOES have 2 regen modes. Normal, and low. If you were concerned about too much regen on ice, you could turn to low. I find the Tesla approach far better than the eGolf. Having to select regen mode each time you start the car is annoying... in fact, it is just about the only thing I DON'T like about the eGolf. Except of course 100 mile range.

Oh, that is indeed something I hated from the e-Golf. Why does it switch automatically to no regen at all by default every time you start it? I love regen, the more agressive the better in my opinion! So not being able to set it by default to D3 in the e-Golf (the most agressive regen brake) was really annoying.

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Regarding driving modes, the Model S does have a Range Mode that lets you use less energy via the HVAC and also employ torque sleep more aggressively in dual motor cars.

Yes indeed, and this makes me realise that I was not clear enough in my post. What I am really after is a mode that controls the amount of power transmitted to the wheels in a more smooth way. I am not really interested in range extension or limiting AC power. Those 2 things can be important in a 150 km range EV, but the Model S is in another dimension of things.

What I am really after is a driving mode for winter, where the power output is reduced to prevent traction loss...

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The T/C of the S is so smooth, wet, dry, snow, whatever, I just punch it and let the car figure it out.

I disagree. It is very effective, it controls your car very well and avoids drifting, most tractions loss situations, etc. All that can be said of the traction control of the Model S.

But I don´t think one can say it is smooth. On snow or very slippery surfaces, it is violent. It shakes your car, literally. You can even hear loud thumps when the brake pads repeatedly hit the discs. No, my winter driving experience in Norway confirms the traction control system is far from smooth. Very good and efficient, yes. But not smooth!
 

FlasherZ

Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
7,028
1,017
But I don´t think one can say it is smooth. On snow or very slippery surfaces, it is violent. It shakes your car, literally. You can even hear loud thumps when the brake pads repeatedly hit the discs. No, my winter driving experience in Norway confirms the traction control system is far from smooth. Very good and efficient, yes. But not smooth!

The traction control (TC) system (which you can disable) does not use the brakes, it modulates output to the motor to stop wheel spin.
The electronic stability control (ESC) system (which you cannot disable) uses the brakes in an attempt to correct the car's yaw / spin motion if it becomes loose.

If you're talking about ESC, I agree, when it activates is quite disruptive and you can feel the car jerking back straight. TC just makes the car feel like the motor has just run out of juice for a few msec, then tries again.
 

gg_got_a_tesla

Model S: VIN 65513, Model 3: VIN 1913
Jan 29, 2010
6,534
769
Redwood Shores, CA
Oh, that is indeed something I hated from the e-Golf. Why does it switch automatically to no regen at all by default every time you start it? I love regen, the more agressive the better in my opinion! So not being able to set it by default to D3 in the e-Golf (the most agressive regen brake) was really annoying.

I have the e-Golf as well and I always shift the gear stick directly into the B position; that gives you the most regen. I never use the D with the multiple regen settings. Unless I'm mistaken, D3 = B.
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Supporting Member
Oct 22, 2012
4,299
3,918
Santa Barbara/New York
I have the e-Golf as well and I always shift the gear stick directly into the B position; that gives you the most regen. I never use the D with the multiple regen settings. Unless I'm mistaken, D3 = B.
Yep, I do same. But requires habit of moving shifter past D. Real wake up call when I forget:scared:
 

slcuervo

Member
Sep 26, 2014
276
11
France
I have the e-Golf as well and I always shift the gear stick directly into the B position; that gives you the most regen. I never use the D with the multiple regen settings. Unless I'm mistaken, D3 = B.

Yes, it could be B mode instead of D3, I was trying to remember by heart and it obviously did not work. Having tried 4 different EVs in the past couple of weeks, I mix things up a little!

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The traction control (TC) system (which you can disable) does not use the brakes, it modulates output to the motor to stop wheel spin.
The electronic stability control (ESC) system (which you cannot disable) uses the brakes in an attempt to correct the car's yaw / spin motion if it becomes loose.

If you're talking about ESC, I agree, when it activates is quite disruptive and you can feel the car jerking back straight. TC just makes the car feel like the motor has just run out of juice for a few msec, then tries again.

You´re totally right! It´s the ESC that uses the brakes, I´ve heard it often on ice, especially with black ice, that bugger!

But in winter when accelerating on snowy/icy roads, I feel some sort of shaking too, which I guess comes from the fact that the Model S tends to tail drift, especially if the road is not 100% flat. This is probably due to the fact that at that point it is not only the TC that is engaging, but also the ESC to prevent further taildrifting.

In any case, my point was that a winter driving mode (or call it ECO if you like) would be more than welcome in such cases, because it can prevent grip loss most times, and the TC and ESC would not even engage.

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Oh, and by the way, I have now tried the Kia Soul EV too. (http://teslaroadtripeurope.blogspot.no/2015/09/kia-soul-ev-test-drive.html) Quite surprising, that one! Comes with features (optional) that many luxury cars don´t even have! Like ventilated seats (both for cold and hot air) and heated steering wheel. Hey, made me even wonder how come Tesla Motors did not include them, not even in the winter subzero package...
 

slcuervo

Member
Sep 26, 2014
276
11
France
I have now added the Nissan LEAF to the test drive series. http://teslaroadtripeurope.blogspot.no/2015/09/nissan-leaf-test-drive.html

I still have the Renaul ZOE to test (which I think is not available in the US), and then I´ll post some sort of ranking and my final impressions.

About the LEAF I´d like to point out that the 360 degrees surround vision park assist is amazing! And on a negative side, the regen braking is quite poor... it is a pity!
 

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