Pressing one of the ELR’s two steering-wheel paddles will engage regeneration, charging the battery and slowing the car down.
The upcoming Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid will include what we believe to be a new and unique feature – regenerative braking on demand, controlled by the paddle shifters on the car’s steering wheel. Pressing one of the ELR’s two steering-wheel paddles will engage regeneration, charging the battery and slowing the car down, similar to what happens when you downshift with a manual transmission.
The brakes also operate in typical hybrid fashion – a soft touch on the pedal engages regeneration, and a harder stomp kicks in the friction brakes when you need to stop quickly.
“Regen on Demand enables ELR drivers to actively re-capture energy when slowing down, such as when approaching slower traffic or setting up for a tight turn. This allows the driver to take more active role in the electric vehicle driving experience,” said ELR Chief Engineer Chris Thomason. “Pulling back on the paddle to slow down allows the ELR driver to keep their foot close to the throttle, ready to accelerate. It provides a more engaged, satisfying driving experience, and when you consider the added benefit of re-capturing energy, it’s also a smart thing to do.”
Is this a handy new feature, something that all plug-in vehicles will have someday? Or does it belong in the “bells and whistles” category? We’ll have to drive the car to know for sure.
The Cadillac ELR is built on the same platform and powertrain as the Chevy Volt, with the same 1.4-liter gasoline engine and 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery. It’s rated at 207 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and the electric range is estimated at 35 miles. It’s scheduled to begin production in late 2013, and go on sale in early 2014.