Actually, I noticed this, too, when I first started driving my PacHy tonight after unplugging it from a full charge. We were driving over to our friends' house for the evening. The first few times that I switched from D to L and back to D, I noticed that the kW power output to the wheels was actually lower in L mode than in D mode. So, for the same amount of foot pressure on the pedal, L mode was using less power. This is comparable to the Eco mode in my i-MiEV (the Meepster), which is meant to be an energy saving feature for drivers with a lead foot. It takes greater pressure on the "go pedal" to go the same speed.I conclude that in addition to regen breake, the L mode reduces the kwh battery outflow "for the same foot pressure" which can be easily compensated by either cruise control or applying more pressure on the gas pedal. In any case when driving in L mode after a few min, that delivery does not matter anymore cause you are already in the steady state speed wise.
The only reason I did not mention this in my last post was because I was not yet sure what was causing this difference between D and L. Also, later when I was doing extensive testing switching between the two drive modes, I was using cruise control, and I was no longer able to discern any difference between them. So, I thought maybe the difference I was noticing earlier had something to do with driving in L mode on a fully charged battery. I figured I needed to do more testing to figure out what was really causing that initial difference before I posted my results and conclusions about it.
However, your explanation sounds like the most plausible. That it is a difference in the amount of foot pressure required to output the same amount of power. So, basically like the Eco mode in my Meepster. This actually makes me very happy if it is, in fact, the case. As this is the exact driving profile I have always wished I could have in my Meepster, i.e. 50% acceleration profile and very strong regen braking.
I will do more testing tomorrow between the D and L modes, but only using foot pressure on the accelerator, not using cruise control. I want to verify your conclusions. Thank you!