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Apologies in advance as this is a bit long-winded, but as a new owner I have read/heard conflicting reports and am trying to get my head around how the system works and what other people's preferences are on the 2020 Soul.

I understood (from the dealers) that the steering wheel paddles were the thing to use because they regen the battery and save wear and tear on the braking system. However I was recently told that the brake pedal does the same thing when pressed gently (but obviously brake conventionally when necessary).

If this is so, why would you bother with the paddles except to change regen levels?

I have also heard that any regen will affect range as it creates drag on the motor, but conversely regen is good for recharging the battery on "overrun".

I have my regen set on auto (which I only realised existed when I read the owners manual) , and level 1 regen, what are peoples thoughts on the best for everyday driving and economy?

Thanks for any help folks.
 

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There has been a lot of discussion on similar topics, so try the search function. I find the graph from the link, very useful.
 

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There's no right answer, just what suits you best. Obviously using regen is more efficient than using the friction brakes, but using brakes unnecessarily is less efficient than only using them when you need to.
Generally the higher degree of regen selected the harder it is to avoid unnecessarily having it engage either resulting in a less smooth drive or unnecessary amounts of braking. Because of the round trip losses from kinetic energy to electrical energy to chemical energy and back again being of the order of 20-30% it is better to keep kinetic energy than try to store it via regeneration for later, for example when going down hill if it's safe and legal to do so it's better to let the car speed up and then coast back to the desired speed than use regen to keep it at a constant speed and then use the energy regenerated to maintain speed later.
There's only so much throttle movement and the more regen selected the coarser the change in drive/regen for a given amount of throttle movement. If you are good at controlling this you can largely avoid using the friction brakes and save energy, but the danger is you'll have a jerky progress and waste energy.
The brake pedal is just as good and efficient way of controlling the car. But single pedal control sells, with manufacturers championing things like e-pedal.
 

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My personal preference is regen level 3 (max) for town driving. Gives me almost one pedal driving and I’ve got well practiced at feathering the pedal.

This approach doesn’t suit everyone. My wife prefers level 1/auto. I personally don’t like auto as I prefer the car’s behaviour to be consistent. Auto increases the regen if the radar detects the vehicle in front is slowing.

I never stop by holding the paddle, seems a total waste of time as it actually uses energy to hold the car. Do as much of the slowing down with regen and use the brake pedal to come to a stop.

Regen is clearly preferred as the primary way of reducing speed, it captures energy rather throwing it away as heat. It isn’t 100% efficient so any loss of momentum has an overall efficiency penalty but we all have to slow down at times. Gently pressing the brake pedal does trigger regen but also involves the friction brakes.

As for avoiding wear on the friction brakes, a common issue on cars with regen braking, since the first Prius, is discs and pads having to be replaced prematurely due to corrosion because they don’t get enough use, so this is a balance.
 

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I was in the drive mode settings screen yesterday adjusting the regen levels for the different modes. I noticed that the efficiency of the regen was displayed was between about 75-85% 1-3 if I remember rightly.
My preference is 0 regen and Auto but often forget for a while after driving.
I don't use the paddles very often just to set the level, may use a bit of more regen if I am catching up a car faster than I'd like or going downhill where car is speeding up enough to break speed limit.
I find using the brake pedal a much smoother experience and more control. It gives more the than the set 2, 4 and six bars regen without the transition jerk.
AFAIK the friction brakes are still not used until the 5mph, you hear them start grinding, unless the car thinks they are required. I don't think smooth gentle braking triggers them until the last minute.
I don't like pulling the left paddle as a viable means to come to a stop, unless it is that last moment where the car is just about to stop, just as easy to use brake and autohold, it is too harsh for braking and getting the timing right is too difficult to judge leading to jerky driving something my partner does not appreciate due to travel sickness. It's the stopping speeding up motion that gets her. I think there has been a lot of people complain about travel sickness in EVs for this reason and the fact the is no change in engine noise to detect when it is happening.
Posing questions
Is the selling of 1 pedal driving Nissan's equivalent marketing to Toyota's self charging hybrid rubbish due to the lack of control over regen, effectively strong or weak regen.
I wonder how many times 1 pedal drivers actually still use the the brake because of a wrong assesment of the conditions in front.
I do think one pedal in stop start traffic is good. SCC does this for you with little or no input from you, a tap of the pedal or cruise control switch to get you moving again.
 

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I think people place too much emphasis on regen because it's new so it must be better, yeah? I do like it in slow town driving because it is very easy driving. But as soon as I hit open road, I turn it down to 0.

I have never bothered to try doing comparisons but more dedicated people than me suggest it is more efficient to coast as much as possible and then use the foot brake because it regens anyway until you press hard enough for it to realise you need more help and then it uses the friction brakes. I have no reason to doubt or contradict them. When turning it down you can feel it freeing up. With regen set high, I liken it to the feeling you'd get if your friction brakes were jamming on - you feel like you need more power to overcome the constant urge of the car to slow down. Not in any way a scientific analysis but there you go.
 

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I know what you are saying the the motor is being restricted or released when changing regen levels.
When changing from normal to eco default L1 to L2 it feels like you have put the brakes on. It is not that the motor is being restricted in that regen mode that would be counter intuitive to make the motor to work harder for the same speed.
The feeling comes from the different mapped positions for the accelerator pedal. The same position for eco would be a slower speed than in normal so it gets to slow down and visa versa for eco to normal, so it's just the motor compensating for the different mapped positions of the pedal if the car is in motion. That's my theory.
 

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I think people place too much emphasis on regen because it's new so it must be better, yeah? I do like it in slow town driving because it is very easy driving. But as soon as I hit open road, I turn it down to 0.

With regen set high, I liken it to the feeling you'd get if your friction brakes were jamming on - you feel like you need more power to overcome the constant urge of the car to slow down. Not in any way a scientific analysis but there you go.
ive noticed the same.I drive in town on 1 and if I remember, on motorways on 0 and when you do that the car almost seems to jump forward, but I've also got over the urge to marshall every spare electron, with 250 plus miles range it's rarely if ever a concern.
 
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Well we all try to understand new things and that is good. If you want to be efficient, that is fine. If you want to enjoy your car, drive it the way you enjoy!

I think the Soul has one of the most customisable driving experiences available. Someone in another thread pointed out the various combinations: drive modes x 3, regen level x 4, Auto regen, Auto Hold.

That is an amazing range from basically "full pedal control" to almost "1-pedal" driving.
 

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Just a shame, in my view, that it has such a wide range of options but doesn’t offer the thing that many drivers (once they have it) really do seem to like - ie. regen to a full stop.
 

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Just a shame, in my view, that it has such a wide range of options but doesn’t offer the thing that many drivers (once they have it) really do seem to like - ie. regen to a full stop.
The i3 I had before did not have any customization, it just regened hard to a stand if you lifted the accelerator. It was true one pedal driving. I just wished there had been an option to turn it off as it was a pain to drive on a motorway as you had to balance the accelerator pedal.
I think that is all that is needed, the Soul has too many options and levels and all it does is add confusion.
I also wish that the Soul would come to a stand without pressing the brake pedal as the i3 did, it still catches me out sometimes.
 

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Gently pressing the brake pedal does trigger regen but also involves the friction brakes.
No it doesn't. It uses the friction brakes to come to a complete stop. For just reducing speed, only regen is used.
 

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The i3 I had before did not have any customization, it just regened hard to a stand if you lifted the accelerator. It was true one pedal driving. I just wished there had been an option to turn it off as it was a pain to drive on a motorway as you had to balance the accelerator pedal.
I think that is all that is needed, the Soul has too many options and levels and all it does is add confusion.
I also wish that the Soul would come to a stand without pressing the brake pedal as the i3 did, it still catches me out sometimes.
My i3 had adaptive cruise control which I used a lot - almost everywhere - and that eliminated the need to balance the accelerator. Then, when I approached a traffic light or whetever, I’d simply cancel the cruise control, and apply a little accelerator pressure to take up smooth control of the regen all the way to a perfectly smooth and controlled stop. The only times it wouldn’t come to a complete stop without using the brake pedal was on downhill slopes, where it needed a dap of the brakes at the end.

I found it a lot easier to drive smoothly than the Kona - so far at least. The brakes in the Kona are quite grabby, I find, and I really dislike it when a car isn’t (or can’t be) brought to a perfectly smooth stop.

At the moment, two weeks into having the Kona, I’m missing certain aspects of the i3 quite a lot. It was just a much more refined product in most ways. If they would just update it with modern lane following assist, radar based adaptive cruise control, 10-15 kWh more battery, and 100kW charging...I would have another in a heartbeat.
 

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There's no right answer, just what suits you best. Obviously using regen is more efficient than using the friction brakes, but using brakes unnecessarily is less efficient than only using them when you need to.
Generally the higher degree of regen selected the harder it is to avoid unnecessarily having it engage either resulting in a less smooth drive or unnecessary amounts of braking. Because of the round trip losses from kinetic energy to electrical energy to chemical energy and back again being of the order of 20-30% it is better to keep kinetic energy than try to store it via regeneration for later, for example when going down hill if it's safe and legal to do so it's better to let the car speed up and then coast back to the desired speed than use regen to keep it at a constant speed and then use the energy regenerated to maintain speed later.
There's only so much throttle movement and the more regen selected the coarser the change in drive/regen for a given amount of throttle movement. If you are good at controlling this you can largely avoid using the friction brakes and save energy, but the danger is you'll have a jerky progress and waste energy.
The brake pedal is just as good and efficient way of controlling the car. But single pedal control sells, with manufacturers championing things like e-pedal.
There's an error in this analysis. Going down hill, one is losing potential energy not kinetic. Allowing a vehicle to speed up going down hill will just result In energy loss via wind resistance quite apart from risk of loss of control. So best on a downhill section, to use regen to maintain speed!
 

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Gently pressing the brake pedal does trigger regen but also involves the friction brakes.
No it doesn't. It uses the friction brakes to come to a complete stop. For just reducing speed, only regen is used.
Surely it depends on the brake pressure. Over a certain amount, friction brakes would have to be utilised for slowing down.
 

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Surely it depends on the brake pressure. Over a certain amount, friction brakes would have to be utilised for slowing down.
Only in exceptional cases where you need to brake hard.
 

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My i3 had adaptive cruise control which I used a lot - almost everywhere - and that eliminated the need to balance the accelerator. Then, when I approached a traffic light or whetever, I’d simply cancel the cruise control, and apply a little accelerator pressure to take up smooth control of the regen all the way to a perfectly smooth and controlled stop. The only times it wouldn’t come to a complete stop without using the brake pedal was on downhill slopes, where it needed a dap of the brakes at the end.

I found it a lot easier to drive smoothly than the Kona - so far at least. The brakes in the Kona are quite grabby, I find, and I really dislike it when a car isn’t (or can’t be) brought to a perfectly smooth stop.

At the moment, two weeks into having the Kona, I’m missing certain aspects of the i3 quite a lot. It was just a much more refined product in most ways. If they would just update it with modern lane following assist, radar based adaptive cruise control, 10-15 kWh more battery, and 100kW charging...I would have another in a heartbeat.
I do worry about the one pedal driving approach to stopping. In the above situation - you are slowing down, but still using the accelerator pedal. It's easy to imagine a situation where you are slowing behind another vehicle that is also slowing (approaching a give way junction, for example). If the lead vehicle suddenly stops...as frequently happens...you need to move to the brake pedal quickly. I'd much rather have my foot on the brake already, as a safety measure. You may well say you maintain adequate distance to allow for this, and I know that's the right thing to do. In the real world...I'd rather be covering a control that stopped me than made me go faster.
 

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I do worry about the one pedal driving approach to stopping.
Yeah, interesting point - but in practice I never once found that to be a problem in the i3. The regen was very predictable, and pretty strong - so in a situation like that, fully lifting off the accelerator would quickly slow you down, and then of course, you’d supplement that with a jab on the brake pedal, and if the worst came to the worst the car’s AEB system would also step in.

In general, I find one pedal driving in urban environments much more reassuring because you can transition from accelerating (or maintaining speed) to deceleration extremely quickly - just by lifting off - more quickly than lifting off and moving your right foot to the brake....and the deceleration offered by the i3 is strong enough on its own to meet requirements in the vast majority of situations.
 

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No it doesn't. It uses the friction brakes to come to a complete stop. For just reducing speed, only regen is used.
That’s what I first thought however after a bit of time sitting, with a bit of surface rust built up on the discs, gentle brake pedal gave the telltale rubbing noise. The brakes may just touch and not do any meaningful braking but I’m slightly suspicious.
 
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