Getting Low with the Brakes - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Getting Low with the Brakes

April 4, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

As I pulled out of our parking structure in our breathtakingly lovely Tesla Model S, I noticed something that wasn't pleasing to me. The car's regenerative brakes felt a bit anxious and slot-car-like, in a way that called to mind the intrusive braking seen in some less expensive electric cars.

I consulted the Tesla's gargantuan display screen to see if anything could be done to remedy the situation. Sure enough, our Tesla offers a couple of brake settings: Standard and Low. The brakes were currently set to Standard. Beneath the brake setting was a prudent admonition, "Standard increases range and extends brake life."

Thanks for the reminder. In my opinion, Standard also sucks much of the fun out of the driving experience, so I decided to throw green caution to the wind and change the setting to Low.

That did the trick. No electric-car tenseness here, just luxury car smoothness all the way.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor


  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Great photo!

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    Nice feature!

  • olanmills olanmills Posts:

    You really should get used to Standard. It's not really that difficult. It's way better and more convenient as you almost never have to use the brake pedal. I honestly hate going back to driving cars without strong regenerative braking. It doesn't feel as good. If it doesn't feel good to you, then it probably just means you need to learn that finer muscle control when using the accelerator pedal. You're right, unless you're trying to stop suddenly, you don't normally want to have that heavy feeling that something is trying to drag down your car when slowing down. You need to regulate how much you let off the pedal with better precision.

  • So, in short, Tesla provides an option to give you exactly the feel you want out of the box, and you just aren't happy with the 'default setting'. Got it. But I'm with @olanmills, driving in Standard is a bit more like driving a manual transmission car and using engine braking, which many people like. I find one pedal driving very enjoyable (not to mention nice to get increased range), and it will be fun to see if I can get 100k miles on my original brakes.

  • mayhemm mayhemm Posts:

    The author gets a bit of sympathy from me on this. I don't really like the uncertainty it introduces; now I have to estimate whether the regen alone will bring me to a stop or if I'll need to add brake as well. Having choice when a split-second decision may be necessary is not a good thing. All through my test drive, I just could not get the hang of the regen. As soon as I came to a stop, my foot left the accelerator and hovered over the brake, which resulted in a very jerky stop and my copilot cursing me. It's pretty much muscle-memory at this point. However, I will be trying again and making a stronger effort when I actually get the car next year.

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