I posted this in another thread http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.p ... 41#p332641
in a response but I feel this is a good idea for Enhancement / Change request.
I have come across several posts in threads where LEAF owners have complained how regen actually prevents maximum achievable range. There is a missing ingredient in the LEAF that could increase range and efficiency. That ingredient is an Integrated Automatic Neutral In Drive Mode.
The LEAF coasts phenomenally in "N" Neutral. When I'm going downhill and if I'm not fast enough I switch to "N" Neutral. LEAF takes off and speeds up very quickly. When I notice that I am coming close to speed limit OR if I see cars getting close ahead of me, I switch to "D" Drive to slowdown with regen, and if I require to slow down more I switch to "Eco" and then finally brakes if required. I avoid using the brakes as much as possible. I have to be very attentive about what is going on far ahead of me and plan which mode I need to switch to before hand. It takes practise to get better at this. In any case, switching to any mode from Neutral is quick. This has helped me increase my range quite a bit. I live in a hilly area so I have to make best of going downhill.
Before I used to just use the "D" mode or "Eco" mode to go downhill and then regen when I was too fast, but I found this to be a little inefficient because I was still using some power even going downhill due to the LEAF not being able to speed up by itself with regen.
I think Nissan could have programed the LEAF in such a way that when going downhill if the grade is steep enough LEAF would automatically disengage the motor to allow the LEAF coast freely up to the speed desired by the driver through the accelerator and then intermittently engage regen when a particular speed has reached by driver input through accelerator. When the grade is not steep enough and the driver is still holding the same position on the accelerator pedal, LEAF would automatically engage the motor to maintain speed with power. When the driver wants to slow down, he/she reduces the accelerator pedal position or lets go the accelerator and again the motor gets engaged automatically to regen to slow down.
Instead what happens is that the motor is always engaged allowing either to use the power or regen but does not allow to coast freely unless done manually with Neutral as I do. (Others do this too according to another thread.)
So I think Nissan could improve this feature. Regen is not the only way to increase range especially going downhill, I think. Allowing the vehicle to intelligently coast when it can and then regen when the driver lets go the accelerator pedal would use less power and increase range. I have been doing exactly this but manually which takes a lot of attention and switching of the mode selector constantly.
BTW: I also do this when I am approaching red traffic lights from far away. When I see a red light far away and cars beginning to slow down and stop. Even in the "D' drive mode, if I let go the accelerator, my LEAF begin to slow down a little faster than other cars. In order to stay with the traffic we have to continue using a little accelerator. Instead, I switch to Neutral for a short moment to allow my LEAF to maintain speed (sometimes with other vehicles). If I feel I am going too fast, I switch to "D" or "Eco" to slow down with regen. But if I feel I slowed down too early, I switch back to Neutral again until I feel I can comfortably slow down using regen and use the brake only to stop. I know that if I was just driving regularly, I would use some power all the way to the point when I can regen to the stopping point. Instead I don't use any power AT ALL from the point I see the red light ahead of me. If Neutral was integrated in between drive and regen, I wouldn't have to do all this. The vehicle could maintain speed without power by just coasting and then regen as I let go the pedal further to slow down.