Why Some Cars Have ‘B’ Gear And What Does it Mean?

Each letter on the gearshift on your car denotes a particular gearbox setting. Most of these letters are certainly familiar to you, but this gearbox letter could be entirely new for you.

What is ‘B’ Gear?

Gear B stands for “braking” in the simplest term. The B gear in the Toyota Prius or any other hybrid car functions as a lower gear that serves a unique function, much like shifting a manual gearbox to a lower ratio on a long downhill route. While descending a hill in B gear, the vehicle’s speed is slowed due to increased engine drag.

Source: Toyota
Source: Tesla

B gear is a regenerative brake system component in hybrid vehicles that increases drag.

When driving in B gear, the friction generated by the drag produces electricity, which powers the car’s battery. When driving down a long, steep hill, the primary goal is to reduce engine braking by downshifting gradually.

Source: Hyundai

B gear also serves as an alternative to the brakes, especially on a long, steep hill. As a result, it’s a fun feature to play with while extending the life of your brake system components.

Which Cars have ‘B’ Gear?

Source: InsideEVs

If you have ever had the chance to drive a hybrid car, especially Toyota’s, you might have noticed that weird ‘B’ letter on the gearshift. Most hybrid vehicles feature this additional B gear that helps in car transmission and increases efficiency.

What is this ‘B’ gear transmission, and what does it stand for? Why is this gear used specifically with hybrid cars? How does this mode operate, and when should it be turned ON?

What is the Difference Between ‘L’ and ‘B’

PRNDL are the common letters of automatic gearboxes. By this, we mean Park (P), Reverse (R), Neutral (N), Drive (D), and Low Gear (L). The lower gear ‘L’ is replaced by engine braking ‘B’ in cars that don’t have a lower gear.

Although you can only drive on lower ratios between first and second with L, B will allow you to use engine braking while also conserving brake lifespan.

When Should B Mode Be Used?

Source: Hyundai

Knowing when to shift into B gear in an automatic vehicle can save you from the stress of thinking that your hybrid battery is being recharged when it is not.

You may utilize the B mode to change into a lower gear just like you would in a traditional transmission. Driving down a steep hill with just the brake pedal can lead to premature brake wear and overheating.

As a result, the braking fluid may boil, resulting in the vehicle’s total failure. When using a manual gearbox, shifting into a lower gear will help the car slow down. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to use the brake to keep the car moving slowly.

Source: greencarreports

When driving in snow, you can feel more secure behind the wheel when using B mode. Prius B mode, for example, reduces slipping and skidding in snow, although using brakes on wet roads might induce skidding. When driving on a wet roadway, switching to B mode can assist keep the car from drifting out of control and coming to a sudden halt.

When Should B Mode Be Avoided?

Source: WhichCar

There are situations when you should choose D gear instead of B gear, as discussed in this article. On a regular basis, avoid driving in B gear. There is little to gain from driving in B mode on a standard main highway.

B gear recharges an EV battery and generates engine drag on a downhill. On the other hand, it loses energy and does not charge a hybrid battery when being driven in typical traffic. And remember that the letter B stands for Brake, not Battery. As a result, don’t try to save battery life by switching to B on highways.

How to Switch to ‘B’ Gear

Source: NewCars

B shifting is a breeze, whether you’re speeding down a mountain or riding through the city in low gear. The first step is to reduce your speed and shift into a lower gear so that you can comfortably cruise along at the posted limit.

Select B on the shifter knob once you’ve slowed down. To move the knob, you do not need to touch the brake.

Engine revving sounds will be heard because of this. Don’t freak out when you hear this sound; it’s quite natural. When the engine makes a loud noise, it indicates that it is working hard to maintain a steady pace without applying the brakes.

Now that we have covered an important feature in hybrid vehicles, do you think that this gear mode is an advantage for hybrid cars among other car types?

Have you ever used this mode in a hybrid car? And do you think it is beneficial?

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