Cadillac ELR Coming with Paddle-Shifter-Operated “Regen on Demand” (Video)


Is this a useful bit of technology?  Or is it one more confusing, overly complicated and useless gadget?

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR

The 2014 Cadillac ELR will feature what General Motors calls “Regen on Demand”  This system will be accessed via the ELR’s paddle shifters.  Instead of shifting via the paddle shifters, ELR owners will be able to “temporarily regenerate energy and store it as electricity” by simply pulling back (and holding) on either the left or right steering wheel paddle (provided that the accelerator pedal is not depressed).

Chris Thomason, ELR chief engineer, describes the system in this way:

“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.”

How aggressive is this “Regen on Demand?”  Well, GM says that “When engaged, Regen on Demand provides vehicle deceleration that is more than what a typical vehicle experiences while coasting, providing control and dynamic performance characteristics similar to downshifting in a manual-transmission vehicle.”

Regen on Demand cannot be used to stop the ELR.  The brake pedal must be applied to bring the plug-in Cadillac to a complete halt.

Cadillac ELR Interior

Cadillac ELR Interior

We sort of see the point of Regen on Demand, as it actively involves the driver in the process, which could make for an exciting exercise in paddle-shifter pulling versus real braking and accelerating.  In this way, Cadillac’s setup is more like a manual transmission vehicle in that it requires a lot of drive involvement.  But Regen on Demand doesn’t have to be used, which is unlike the third pedal on a manual trans.

The Cadillac ELR Uses The Same Electric Vehicle Tech As The Chevrolet Volt

The Cadillac ELR Uses The Same Electric Vehicle Tech As The Chevrolet Volt…But It’s Paddle Shifter are Unique.

If not used, then the ELR still features its automatic blended regenerative braking system that will recapture a majority of the energy in a vehicle’s momentum.  When the brakes are applied, energy is recaptured, as the vehicle slows.

The ELR is rated at 207 horsepower (154 kW) and 295 lb-ft of torque, while weighing in at 4,070lbs.   The vehicle uses the same 1.4-liter gasoline engine as the Chevy Volt, as well as borrowing the Volt’s 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery.  Total electric-only range for the ELR is estimated at 35 miles.  For full specs on the plug-in Cadillac, check out our ELR debut post.

The ELR is scheduled for production at the end of 2013.  Its on-sale date is the beginning of 2014.  Pricing is unknown at this time, but a ballpark estimate of $67,500-$82,500 seems about right.

Check out the video below of Cadillac’s Regen on Demand.

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21 Comments on "Cadillac ELR Coming with Paddle-Shifter-Operated “Regen on Demand” (Video)"

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As a Volt owner, I’d like to see how it works in person. There are times when it is a pain to pull the drive lever from D to L and back again. Just pulling on the paddle would work well when you just need it temporarily. On the other hand, it would be nice if there was a switch mode where it can be left on or off for the duration of the drive. For example: in bumper to bumper traffic.

I really like this idea, sort of like downshifting on the curves. I also don’t like having to pull the Volt lever to L then put it back in D, so I usually don’t bother. If I had a paddle on my steering wheel, I would use it a lot (like when I miss that light and want more aggressive regen).

MTN Ranger, the ELR will still have the PRDNL shifter, so you can leave it on permanently. This is for those of use who want to get some extra regen temporarily.

Why not leave it in L? Seriously, if your dash has a power meter, you know where your foot needs to be at any instant to use zero motor energy (coast), right? This is what’s done in the Model S by default. Any Leaf folks, do you ever leave B mode on? Once you get used to one-foot driving, wouldn’t it just be safer? If I had an [ER]EVI would love to always know that I’m not just pointlessly grinding away ceramic, until I actually use the pedal intended for it.

I never use L on my Volt. It’s easier to feather the brake. Likewise I don’t see the need for these paddles as it is easier to just feather the brake. Seems like a gimick to me.

Looks fun to me 🙂

I guess the question is: Can you get more regen w/ the paddles. I somehow doubt it…..but I guess at least you know you are getting PURE regen (and no brake pads) when using the paddles.

Also what is the max regen the Volt can take before using the pads?.

Sounds like a good thing to test on the Volt using my DashDAQ……but I bet someone on the forum already knows.

It’s based on G’s, or min speed. I’m going to go from memory and say it was something like anything over 0.2 G would cause the pads to engage. At speeds below 7mph blending would occur.

It was in an interview with Andrew Farah. He basically said stay out of the bottom 1/3 of the efficiency ball when braking.

(also unsafe conditions will cause the brakes to respond, such as traction control)

Another reason I like the pads because they let me brake w/out turning the brake lights on. Like when i’m shooting down an off-ramp from the expressway. Just hold the pads for a bit, then push the brake.

So they stuff most of the buttons into a touch screen interface to reduce the controls clutter, but they add two redundant paddles whose function can easily be performed by modulating the acceleration/brake pedals (selectable via the gearshift D or L mode)?

Honestly, as I read more about the ELR I like it less, and I better appreciate the simplicity and practicality of the Volt.

Don’t think most would use the hand levers. It would be too easy to get used to using the hand levers for regen slowing/breaking, but still try to stop the car completely which it won’t, and crash.

I have a relative that has to use hand levers for breaking and acceleration. I tried it a few times and it takes a lot of focus to switch from using the foot peddles. So trying to do both at the same time sounds like a recipe for disaster.

I use my cruise control to increase/decrease speed 🙂

This is actually pretty cool and lots of high end cars have them. That Mercedes electric 500 SL or whatever it is has that. Really cool

Ok, I thought about this feature on my drive home today and when I would use it. There were several times. But more importantly, I thought of another feature. How about pushing the paddles forward to temporarily put the car in Sport Mode? I hate having to go through the buttons on the display. Just hold the paddles forward and BINGO, your in sport mode, let go, back to normal.

As an owner in the BMW program, one can say I’m biased. I do however think they did it the right way. You put all of the computer control for regen in the right pedal (accelerator). That pedal becomes the expend energy / gather energy control. I’ve gotten so used to that functionality that I am actively negative about the way Leafs, Volts, iMiev, Fits, etc drive. If I completely back off the right pedal, it brings the car to a halt. With the advent of computer controlled drive by wire, this seems completely natural.

arlene, You need to consider momentum. Constantly slowing or taking off is not efficient. Coasting preserves the momentum. I had a BMW and I hated how it just would not coast. I always loved how GM’s coast the best. My Volt coasts pretty good, although regen steals a bit of the coast, still not bad. It is just not efficient to put my Volt in L and slow down like that. The only usage for L would be in heavy stop and crawl traffic. I also think you are asking for it in L. Slowing with no brake lights you are bound to be hit from the rear. I already got rear ended from some idiot in a stupid Nissan, and I had it in D.

Joesph – the most efficient way to maximize your range is by driving in L. That’s per the Volt engineers. In an EV, coasting and feathering the brake provide no advantages. I asked them the question during a Facebook chat about a year and a half ago. They said, and supported, driving in L all the time, which I do except in interstate driving.

Jayhawker91, You are talking to someone who gets 50 mile EV range average in the summer, and 37 mile in the winter. My best range was 59.2 miles all EV. I am sure those engineers know something also, for this I will do more testing in L and compare to D.
My common sense tells me why disrupt momentum for a less than 100% regenerate? For L to be better, I would think you need to regenerate more than 100% and that is impossible. So we know there are losses. Going from 60 mph down to 50 mph will not create enough energy to make it back up to 60 mph. So why not just keep coasting at 60 mph?
I will do some testing though.

Would the maximum regen torque be stronger than the actual L shifter position in the Volt?
Is the decel-o-meter-matic included to turn on the brake light and avoid being read ended ?

Audi tried it in their PHEV and reviews were very good.

So they add a Jake Brake/Regen paddle to duplicate what you can do by braking lightly. I guess different regen options will appeal to different drivers. I am curious to see how the ELR will stack up performance-wise. It weighs 7% more than the Volt but has 38% more hp and 8% more torque. Does that get it to around 8.0 second 0-60? It isn’t going to be performance car of any kind but it should be just a bit more assertive than the Volt.

As a “power user” (pun intended) I really like this added feature. While driving on a free flowing road (e.g. highway or freeway) I would always wonder why people are using their brakes… but on any car that would have a regenerative system I should understand that that driver may just be merely recapturing some power rather than preparing to slow down to a much lesser speed. I would prefer to use the paddle system over feathering the brake merely to remove this side-effect of using of leveraging regenerative systems. This is preferred over a system that would require me to shift in an out of a profile (e.g. the Volt’s “L” select) that immediately engages the regenerative system when coasting.

The option for more control is always better.

I love using L on my Volt in rush hour traffic. It reduces the brake pedal – gas pedal dance a little. I wish the car had a regen setting that would MAINTAIN my speed on a long downhill. While the Volt is a lot of fun to drive with all that torque up front, my left foot is left wondering what to do after 30 years of driving a manual transmission.