Several days ago there was an active discussion on the subject of Nissan Leaf driving mode usage on SF Bay Area Nissan LEAF Owners public group on Facebook, which I thought to share with Torque News readers as they can help other Leaf owners as well. Here are some interesting answers.
I use Eco. Without it, the pedal is way too aggressive, and it's too hard to control low-speed acceleration, like in a parking lot or heavy traffic. - Thomas Crummett
I am actually fairly convinced that Eco and Regular have the same maximum power. If you look at the power graph, even in eco you can get to 80 kw. You just have to press the pedal further down in Eco mode. That presumably also means the range isn't much affected. Certainly if you're cruising at highway speeds, the range will be the same whether you're in eco or "D". - Jan Schellenberger
Here few people respond to Jan and say that the assessment is correct and it just changes the pedal mapping. Power and regen limits are unchanged. "Eco" is a misnomer. but it does limit or lower the power used by the heater or a/c (unless you put it one defrost). Max on drive is 6kw max on Eco is 1.5kw.
I always use the Eco mode. If I ever have the need to take it out of Eco I feel like I’m driving a race car. - Chris Kennerley
On my Nissan Leaf Eco for sure. I don't think it affects top acceleration or range. It just uses the full range of the pedal. How about the "D" vs "B" mode? I've been using "B" mode a lot more. - Jan Schellenberger
Eco about 90% of the time. D mode when I want to impress someone with maximum torque at zero RPM. - Alexander Arce
I like using the Drive Mode on my Leaf. It's because I like it zippy. It's my normal so Eco or B feels like I'm driving with the emergency brake on. - Chris Duymich
Drive. Eco mode is way too slow unless you push the a-pedal all the way down to get a decent acceleration. I do like increased re-gen in eco, but not at the expense of a sluggish a-pedal. On the other hand I do like to coast like on D mode sometimes. - Jose Gandullia
I have watched the instant energy usage gauge on my SL info screen. The gauge shows the car using less energy when switching to B mode when travelling on a flat highway at a steady speed. The implication is that the B mode makes more efficient use of energy. - Paul Laughton
Thomas Crummet, who also has contributed several Nissan Leaf stories to Torque News, commented back and wrote this. "This is not true. The pedal mapping is changed, which is why the power goes down. The power difference is not significant enough that you will feel it, but you will slow down (faster), but if you increased power to what it was in the other mode, there will be no difference. What you're seeing is accurate. What I'm saying is your speed will decay. At say 15kW, you can maintain your speed indefinitely. Dropping to 13kW, you'll see the difference in the power gauge, but your speedometer might not change for a minute. Eventually, it will stabilize at a lower speed, it just won't get there quickly. This is rather difficult to test, as road conditions, temperature, and even wind are rarely stable enough for short distances, let alone the mile or so you would need to see the difference. Basically, it comes down the car is lying (not unusual, honestly), or there is some gross inefficiency that Nissan wants enabled until you disable it. Nissan engineering in something inefficient like that wouldn't make sense, and what little I am able to test does not seem to indicate the gauge is inaccurate, so physics wins and your speed will (slowly) decay to a lower speed. It might be the difference between 60 and 58 MPH, and take 2 minutes to stabilize, but it will do so if all other conditions remain constant.
LvingLeaf also has a good article discussing the LEAF ECO and B-mode, but also see how you can get more range out of your Nissan Leaf and what's the most efficient speed for Nissan Leaf for optimal range.
Please, share your driving experience below in the comments section and let us know which driving mode do you use the most and what results do you get. If you liked this article and think it may help your friends, consider sharing or tweeting it to your followers.