Speed control using a single pedal

Speed control using a single pedal

When I test drove the Model S I opted for the light regen drive setting so that the car would coast like an ICE car rather than apply heavy regen braking. I was afraid I might get into an accident if I drove using normal mode.

So, I have some questions for Model S/Roadster owners: How is the normal regen working out for you? How long before you got used to it? Any useful tips regarding this? Anyone using light mode out of preference or hesitation to switch?

Thank you.

2-Star | 16/10/2014

I got used to the "Standard" regen in about five minutes. It's very intuitive. Try it; you'll like it!

Earl and Nagin ... | 16/10/2014

I, personally much prefer the aggressive regen on the accelerator. I, however, liked it from the first time I drove an e-box from AC Propulsion (using the prototype drivetrain that the Roadster later inherited).
I have, however, run into a few people who really don't like it but most people adapt quickly and love it.
Its nice that the Model S give you the choice.

Mike83 | 16/10/2014

One of the reasons I purchased my MS was because of the regen braking so I can use one foot mostly, get better mileage/charge and the brakes may last forever. Best driving experience ever.
In my old 01 Prius with 200k the brakes are still at 90%.

Grinnin'.VA | 16/10/2014

I've had my MS85 for 6 days.
The only 'problem' I've had with Normal Regeneration occurs when I drop out of cruise control by tapping on the brake. Normal Regeneration makes it feel as if I had pressed the brake pedal until I get my foot on the go pedal to keep it from braking too fast. This transition from cruise control to regenerative braking isn't smooth.

Go Tesla!
Ron :)

nikolateslas88 | 16/10/2014

the regen braking worked very well with stopping, i felt that was pretty smooth once you get use to it, and like others have said, it probably reduces wear on the brakes...

3seeker | 21/10/2014

Been thinking about the benefits of coasting lately...

Doesn't it seem wasteful to keep the wheels turning by constantly supplying electricity to the motor? Just think of all the battery drain and friction involved. Why focus so much on capturing energy via regen when there is the option of not 'spending' any energy at all?

Could there be a more viable option to capture energy without having to slow down the car?

hpjtv | 21/10/2014

@ByeByeOil, You are only using energy when your foot is on the accelerator. As soon as you release, no energy is being used, the momentum of the vehicle is turning the kinetic energy back into electrical energy (the wheels now act like a generator). If you like to coast, no energy is being used or gained. When the vehicle slows down using regenerative braking, that is when you are capturing energy. You could easily go very fast (use more energy than normal), put the vehicle into neutral/coast, travel a certain distance before coming to a stop or go at a normal pace, use regenerative braking (to capture energy back) and travel the same distance and still use the same amount of energy overall. If you put regen to low, it will take you a longer distance to stop, you started with less energy and regain less energy.

example 1: 400W/min for 60sec (1mile) + 0W for 60sec (1mile)
so 400W + 0W = 400W
example 2: 300W/min for 100sec (1.7miles) - 300W for 20sec (0.3miles)
so 500W - 100W = 400W
example 3: 300W/min for 90sec (1.5miles) - 100W for 30sec (0.5miles)
so 450W - 50W = 400W

All 3 examples use 400W, 2 minutes, and travel 2 miles. Basically no energy is wasted if you do not touch the mechanical brakes.

I'm just making those numbers, times and distances up but you get the point. There are other factors (wind resistance, etc) that will make things not add up the same but they will be pretty close.

Tstolz | 21/10/2014

Took me 5 minutes on the test drive ... Very intuitive and a reason to buy for me. Brakes will last forever and you can go further with more regen. Don't worry, you'll get used to it in a hurry!

BrassGuy | 21/10/2014

Yes, 5 minutes or less. The very first time I slowed down on my test drive, I instinctively let off the accelerator completely. This is what causes discomfort, but it does not take long to get your foot used to easing off the pedal rather than lifting completely.

Passengers will find your driving much more comfortable (no matter what you drive) if you always move the accelerator pedal slowly up or down. This is a good technique to master anyway, and will improve your mileage because it forces you to look ahead more. Slam the pedal to show off - I mean demonstrate.

Getting out of cruise smoothly: Press the accelerator part way while in cruise. Just how far takes experimentation and getting used to, but just a little prevents aggressive regen and brake lights. Then push the cruise stalk towards the front, that disengages without clearing the speed setting. Definitely practice this before you get close to cars in front of you, I had to think about pushing the stalk for a few seconds each time until I got used to it.

Dwdnjck@ca | 21/10/2014

I just returned from a road trip. On a long downhill descending into the Los Angeles area, I simply left the car on "cruise". It stayed exactly on the set speed, using regen to slow the car. All of the normal car drivers were riding their brakes most of the way down the long grade.. They were wasting energy, I was recovering it. They were also wasting brake pads. The car recovered almost all of the energy it had expended climbing up the hills.

Brian H | 21/10/2014

You can save even more energy by slowing somewhat on the uphills. Just sayin'.

petero | 21/10/2014

ByeBye. 20 months of driving my MS, I happy to report the regen brakes are one of my favorite features. You learn to master the one foot driving and rarely use the brakes.

My only standard, regen complaint is on freeway driving, the drivers behind me think I am braking when I ease off the accelerator.

Grinnin'.VA | 21/10/2014

@ BrassGuy | October 21, 2014

Yes, 5 minutes or less. The very first time I slowed down on my test drive, I instinctively let off the accelerator completely. This is what causes discomfort, but it does not take long to get your foot used to easing off the pedal rather than lifting completely.

Yes, except when I hit the brake to get out of cruise control. This gives my passengers a jerk until I can get my foot on the go pedal.

eVader | 21/10/2014

Like the others, it took only a few minutes to become comfortable with it plus Creep setting is also "Off".

The hard part is driving the Tesla and then driving a our now little used ICE SUV. In the ICE you have to remember to USE the brakes!

JeffreyR | 21/10/2014

I concur w/ most test drivers. It took me about half the test drive before it felt natural. I think creep is best used on inclines/hills or where going super slow (tight parking) is helpful.

grega | 21/10/2014

Yes a couple of minutes of the test drive to get used to it. The rest of the test drive being impressed by how natural it felt and easy to drive at least as naturally as an ICE.

But I imagine a few days of driving would actually continue to improve the experience, making it an integral part of what you expect a good car to do.

BrassGuy | 21/10/2014

Grinnin', that's why I suggested using the cruise stalk to disengage cruise control. You can lightly press the accelerator while you disengage cruise. I stopped using the brake pedal for that years ago because I didn't want the brake lights to turn on.

Captain_Zap | 21/10/2014

The current version of regen and deceleration is not aggressive enough for my tastes. I do hope we get a more aggressive sport mode.

High regen feels very natural and comfortable if you ever drove a car with a manual transmission.

Mike83 | 22/10/2014

Yes Captain I agree. I would prefer a more aggressive regen.

vitaman | 22/10/2014

I too got used to the Regen in the first 5 minutes of a test drive and it's one of the reasons I ordered the car.
However, after driving a BMW i3 for a month, I now feel the Regeneration could be beefed up. The stronger the regeneration, the more it feels like a car with manual transmission and the more fun it is. It would be nice to have more control over the degree of regeneration kind of like variable windshield wipers.

Grinnin'.VA | 23/10/2014

@ vitaman | October 22, 2014 new

... I now feel the Regeneration could be beefed up. The stronger the regeneration, the more it feels like a car with manual transmission and the more fun it is.

I like the normal regeneration as it is in version 6.0.
But then again, I would not want to revisit driving with a manual transmission. I prefer smooth, swift, and efficient.

Go Tesla!
Ron :)

draconious_z | 23/10/2014

I still have yet to do a test drive... I am in Michigan... and the few times I have passed by the IN and IL showrooms, I did not have time to pre schedule a drive, and they never let me do a walk-in test drive when I stopped in..

Can the car Coast in max regeneration mode?

I always thought they could possibly put an addition sensor on the pedal... something that would detect if your foot is resting on the pedal or hovering over it, when you are not pressing it down. Allowing it to start regenerating when you hover your foot over the pedal, but coast when you rest your foot on it.

Brian H | 23/10/2014

Just positioning the pedal controls accel and regen; there is a point in between where you are coasting.

ElectricSteve | 25/10/2014

Love single pedal driving. Took a couple of minutes to "get the feel". Hardly used the brakes. Wish the car had a "high regen setting" though.

auger | 26/10/2014

Just like several comments already, it takes one or two drives to get used to it. I'll add, after a month you'll think, "Why don't all cars work this way?"

If you live in the mountains and after only one round-trip drive up and down, you'll think it's the best thing ever invented.

Dwdnjck@ca | 26/10/2014

Cruise control in the mountains is almost seemless. You really don't know if you are using power or gaining power, without looking at the meter. You see other cars riding their brakes down hills and your car maintains speed effortlessly.

Solarwind | 26/10/2014

I love the regen braking on the Volt. My wife won't use it . Get our MS85D in January i hope. To cancel cruise without a jerk I simply put foot on gas and cancel. you do not have to be accurate it will go into coast, I hope , that is what the Volt does.

JeffreyR | 26/10/2014

@Dwdnjck that's a great point. I drove in Houston, so did not have the opportunity to see that use case. Sounds pretty awesome. I double-checked w/ my wife to see how she felt about the regen feel, and she did not even notice it! So @ByeByeOil I would not worry.

Brian H | 26/10/2014


Is that how it seems? ;p

3seeker | 27/10/2014

You're all making me want to do another test drive. I think it's been about a year since my last (and first) one.

Dwdnjck@ca | 27/10/2014

Brian hfu

sbeggs | 28/10/2014


The one pedal driving has turned out to be one of the things we cherish most about the Model S. When we took delivery of our S85 in March, 2014, we did try the low regen setting to calibrate what it felt like.

After a few minutes, we set it to Normal regen, and that's where it's been ever since. We got used to it within one day.

You will notice how fine the control of the machine using Normal regen is, both in highway settings and on curvaceous, downhill grades. Merging onto the freeway, for example, is easy because of the ample power, but also because after squeezing into the small spaces allowed by the line of traffic, you don't have to brake aggressively, just ease up on the pedal. Likewise, if someone cuts in front of you, it is pretty nice to just lift your foot a bit and drop back.

You get used to it very quickly, and it's much more efficient than setting the regen on Low, and having to switch to the brake. Most of the energy (70% or more) is recaptured and thus prolongs your overall range.

Whatever your mind thinks, you convey that to the one pedal, and the Model S is more than willing to carry it out. It's a joy to use.

3seeker | 29/10/2014

@sbeggs +1

No need to worry about the lag time of switching pedals from 'gas' to brake. Thanks to your post, I can now picture the instant deceleration in standard regen as a good thing - much like controlling the gears of a manual transmission as someone else mentioned earlier. At first I thought it would give me the impression that the car was controlling me rather than the other way around.

3seeker | 29/10/2014

Fascinating how this single pedal control design replaces braking and gear shifting. Manual transmission ICE cars are a joy to drive, but how tedious and complicated!

rhbohl | 12/11/2014

Not liking the abrupt slowing down (and jerking the passengers) when I canceled or reduced the cruise control speed, I had submitted a suggestion to Tesla to provide a few-second delay before cutting in the regenerative braking.

But I've learned to use the regenerative braking option to achieve much of the same result: In town, select the "Standard" regenerative braking option, but on the open highway with light traffic, where I use cruise control the most, revert to "Low" regenerative braking. It would be nice to be able to switch modes with fewer button pushes, but the ability to modulate the response is there.

Roger B.

Timo | 13/11/2014

It should be possible to slowly increase deceleration instead of immediately hit the max regen in case of reducing/cancelling cruise control. Keep hard regen, but these cases don't go immediately the max one.

DTsea | 13/11/2014

Disagree timo. I like full regen right away... have grown to hate the coast guard feeling in ice car and don't want it in my model s.

DTsea | 13/11/2014

Coast guard... weird autocorrect. I meant coasting.

candleflame | 13/11/2014

@Dwdnjck@ca that is clearly BS, the ICE cars can just shift to a lower gear during descents and also don't have to use their breaks. They obviously won't be recovering power but the argument about the breaks isn't really valid.

DTsea | 13/11/2014

3seeker, automatics (most cars in the US) don't do that.

Timo | 14/11/2014

DTsea, it's software-controlled thing. You can adjust it any way you want. Offer option to those that don't like max regen immediately.

Brian H | 14/11/2014

Even ICE cars prefer brakes to breaks.

alanwwebb | 14/11/2014

ICE cars CAN shift. Most people don't do it. Many don't even know you can shift an automatic transmission, or can't imagine why one would. A good cruise control in and ICE car will shift down on hills to help maintain speed, but it's not as effective as a Tesla.

We live 2000 feet above Boulder and the road is mostly downhill for 6 miles. We always use third gear in manual or automatic transmissions so as not to break the brakes.

Regen is marvelous. We have more range when we get to Boulder than when we leave my garage, and never touch the brakes except for the stop sign at the bottom. :)

3seeker | 14/11/2014


I shift gears on my ICE automatics all the time. Dad calls it the engine brake, and I'm glad he taught me how to use it. I especially loved using the dual clutch/paddle shifters on my Audi Quattro to hold gears going uphill or to help me slow down without braking, especially going downhill. Gives you way more control and better handling than habitually relying on the gas or brake pedals alone. I treated it like it was a manual transmission.

alanwwebb | 15/11/2014

Yup. Smart Dad. Ask any semi truck driver about engine braking. They'd all be dead without it, or at least pulled over waiting for a brake job. I have a 1999 BMW m-coupe, five speeds of fun, always put it in the correct gear for the job. Fun autocross car, too.

Brian H | 15/11/2014

Motorcycles are great "feel" trainers for engine braking, too.

mackgoo | 17/11/2014

I think it's great. It took no time at all. And your saving the brakes.

CT-Greg | 18/11/2014

None of the people who have tried mine have taken more than a minute or two to learn how to use the stronger regen setting. Far more of them have been disoriented by the lack of creep.