just wanted to get a sense from other Volt users what they're doing to optimize the EV range from their 2016 Volt.
I personally find myself shifting to L when driving in the city, and normal D with paddle usage when on the highway.
Yup - that sounds great.
There is no harm in switching from D to L and back at any time. Pretty much all that "L" does is change the balance of regenerative breaking -- when in "L" and you take your foot off the "electric pedal" (how long are we going to call them gas pedals?), it automatically activates the regenerative braking. When your foot is completely off the pedal, it's similar to holding down the regen paddle on the back of the steering wheel.
"L" is great for going down hills (ie, driving around San Francisco, or up in the mountains).
Another note: When you press on the brake, the first method of slowing you down is regenerative braking. If you press harder, eventually the regen braking can't slow you down that fast, and it will apply the real brake calipers to turn your forward momentum into waste heat. The nice thing about using the "L" mode (or the paddle on the steering wheel) is that you know you're not wasting energy with the real brakes unless you need it to stop suddenly.
Also, we have a lot of hills here in CA, so I find myself switching to 'hold' quite often when going uphill. It seems to make sense to use gas for the heavy lifting without watching your miles drain quickly.
I'm not so sure about that one... As long as you're getting to the next charging station before running out of juice, I'd stick with the electricity going up hills. I'm not an expert in the area, but in general electricity is cheaper than gas. You still have to burn power to make it up the hill. Might as well burn the cheap power.
I also use cruise control often which seems to use pull energy more evenly vs. the constant accelerating/decelerating use of the pedal.
This may depend on how attentive you are. If you're really concentrating on getting the last drop of every electron, you can do better than cruise control. But if you're just driving along paying little attention to the hills & your speed, then cruise control is the way to go (and may save you a ticket too!).
On a flat straight road, cruise control is probably the way to go. But if you're going up & down hills, you can pick up speed a bit on the downhill, and lose that speed on the next uphill.