Driving Modes, What are they?

By Paul Gipe

In most cases newbies don’t need to know this. EVs include varying levels of regenerative braking. Because EVs are electric and the battery and electric motor are controlled by a computer, you can select the level of regenerative braking. You can do this through a touch screen or via the “shift” lever, when the car is at rest, or when the car is moving through a paddle on the steering wheel.

The 2015 Nissan Leaf had a “drive” mode on the “shift” lever, but in addition it also had a “B” model on the shift lever for driving with increased regenerative braking over that found in drive.

The Chevy Bolt’s default is “drive” mode on the “shift” lever, but it also includes a second level, “L” for increased regenerative braking. “L” will bring the Chevy Bolt to a stop and will hold it from creeping on a level surface. If that’s not enough regenerative braking, there is also a paddle on the steering wheel. Pull the paddle and it will quickly bring the Bolt to a halt.

Regenerative breaking charges the battery when you want to slow the car down. With it, you can drive with only one pedal–the accelerator pedal. See my posts about this in Driving the Chevy Bolt EV–Our Impressions. It’s perfect for mountain driving–as on our trip to Death Valley. Coming down Towne Pass we gained 2.75 kWh after dropping 3,000 feet.