Cadillac ELR’s “Regen On Demand” Picks Up 2014 Green Car Technology Award

JAN 22 2014 BY JAY COLE 21

2014 Cadillac ELR "Regen On Demand" Via Paddles On The Steering Wheel Takes "Tech Of The Year" Award

2014 Cadillac ELR “Regen On Demand” Via Paddles On The Steering Wheel Takes “Tech Of The Year” Award

The Cadillac ELR picked up one of its first awards at the Washington Auto Show today.

2014 Cadillac ELR At The NAIAS

2014 Cadillac ELR At The NAIAS

After just arriving at dealerships in late December, the ELR has won the Green Car Journal’s  “2014 Green Car Technology Award” for its innovatieve brake regeneration system.

“Cadillac has cleverly evolved a common electric-drive efficiency system into an intriguing feature that adds a new dimension to the driving experience. Ever-increasing efficiency is crucial to our driving future, yet efficiency itself is not an attraction for a great many car buyers. Cadillac’s Regen on Demand is an inspired example of how technology can increase efficiency while connecting with a driver, enhancing driving dynamics along the way.” – Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal

Green Car Journal's 2014 Tech Award Highlights The Best And Brightest Advancements In...Technology

Green Car Journal’s 2014 Tech Award Highlights The Best And Brightest Advancements In…Technology

Like almost all electric cars the ELR is equipped with regenerative braking, but the Cadillac goes one further by allowing the driver to manually enable (or disable) the feature via paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

“Regen on Demand is one of the key systems enabling the Cadillac ELR to merge performance with efficiency in a dynamic new way.  Putting regenerative braking at the driver’s fingertips supports the ELR’s 340-mile total driving range while also adding a fun-to-drive element matching the engaging design and performance of this premium luxury coupe.”  – Jim Vurpillat, director of emerging markets at Cadillac.

Congrats to the Cadillac ELR.

In total there were 10 different technologies nominated, 4 of which (including the ELR) were based of plug-in platforms:

BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3 CFRP Passenger Cell: BMW engineers an industry first with its use of a lightweight Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic Passenger Cell in a production vehicle.

2014 Honda Accord PHEV

2014 Honda Accord PHEV

Honda Accord Plug-In Powertrain: Achieving up to 115 MPGe, Honda’s Earth Dreams plug-in powerplant allows driving in electric, hybrid, or fuel-only modes.

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Porsche Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain: Fast and powerful, Porsche’s plug-in hybrid powerplant brings exceptional performance and allows all-electric driving up to 84 mph.

Other technologies that also didn’t win:

  • Acura Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Powertrain: This three-motor, all-wheel drive Earth Dreams sport hybrid system blends high levels of performance and efficiency
  • Audi 3.0-liter TDI Diesel Engine: Audi’s 3.0-liter turbo direct injection engine with start-stop enables full-size vehicles to offer high fuel efficiency and great performance
  • Ford 1.0-liter EcoBoost Engine: Ford’s smallest EcoBoost engine applies direct injection and turbocharging to eke hybrid-like 45 highway mpg from the 2014 Fiesta
  • Hyundai Fuel Cell: which makes us sad, so we refuse to acknowledge its existence
  • Mazda i-ELOOP Brake Energy Regeneration System: A unique capacitor-based regenerative braking system designed to reduce parasitic engine losses that rob mpg
  • Ram Truck 3.0-Liter EcoDiesel Engine: The first clean diesel engine for light-duty trucks in the U.S., the EcoDiesel powerplant is efficient and approved for B20 biodiesel


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21 Comments on "Cadillac ELR’s “Regen On Demand” Picks Up 2014 Green Car Technology Award"

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GM took Audi’s idea from their EV prototypes and brought it to market first. This should motivate Audi to get going on their EV projects.

Or they listened to all of the Volt owners who asked for this feature. Next step is “Sport on Demand”!

I find the feature idiotic and useless. Don’t understand what is wrong with using the brake pedal to modulate the regen braking as needed. Why do we need so many redundant driving controls?

I wish I had it. I drive in L, but sometimes would like some more regen. I’d rather have that control at my fingertips and keep doing my 1-pedal driving. It would also be more fun.

So with these paddle controls you canhave more regen than just what you get in “L”?

The way I understood it, it was more aggressive than L mode, but that’s a question for the next Q&A w/GM. It may have been asked before and out on the interwebs somewhere.

Thanks. The Roadster regen is much larger than the “S” in max regen mode, or the volt in L, that is , when the system allows it. But I wish the volt had more regen since I’m used to the large amount in the roadster (when its available that is).

Interesting… ELR won the “technology award” for adding an extra toggle button to the steering wheel. While many PEVs already have a button to control regen via eco-modes, having two buttons (paddles) gives a driver control over “driving dynamics” which greatly enhances the “driving experience”.

Ignored is all the technology that makes up a regenerative braking system … this ELR feature was picked the winner, over all the entres with drivetrain systems containing much complex technology. Goes to show what really matters is delivering on “driving experience”, not the details of underlying features of a complex technology.

I have to agree with the Green Car Journal … experience wins over features, even if the implementation details are trivial. Hopefully this encourages manufactures to use toggles as a standard interface for all regenerative breaking systems.

Well good for GM….and not to belittle their effort but I think CFRP is a much bigger tech breakthru than the paddle shifters. Personally I think it is easier to just modulate the brake peddle. The paddles are somewhat of a gimmick in my book.

so if paddles are a “gimmick” then “fun” is also a gimmick in your book? The heck is wrong with you? Paddles are the easiest thing in the world, if you drive an EV you want to try and use the brake peddle as much as possible. Clearly you haven’t even driven an EV with regen paddles so what makes you think you can speak on them? Hilarious.

Smart ED has had regen paddles Cadillac obviously paid for the award

Not the same thing.

Sure it is.

No, the Smart ED is for increase or decreasing a setting. The ELR is for activating the regen, similar to pushing the brake pad.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Regen control via paddle? Kind of a waste, but better than no control at all.

I’d much rather have a ‘set it once’ config that had as much regen as possible and no creep, preferably maintaining position on uphill, for true 1-pedal driving apart from accident avoidance braking.

The BMW and Honda efforts are much more deserving of plaudits and honors than those paddles.

Could you have one with a dial, that sets a level from zero to 10 for instance, like a volume control? I suppose just for convenience paddles are ok, but if I had a particular setting I liked and got familiar with like 4 or 6 or whatever. So on the street I am 8 and on the highway 2 for instance.

Oh and I agree bmw or honda were more deserving of this award, in this case.

Let’s give GM it’s due. For a product that could be considered a waste of engineering and built for no viable market, they deserve something.

Everyone is saying this model will not sell, but I don’t see any need to give this car the YUGO treatment. It would not have my first choice for the second model on the Voltec platform, but it may be a pragmatic way to recoop some of the design money for the Volt.

YOu cannot even get this plush an interior in the model S as of yet, realizing that they’re not close competitors. But I doubt the BMW I3 is a close competitor of the S either.

Here’s the issue with the car selling;
In a like for like field, i.e. comparing regular cars to regular cars there is an economic rule that double the price, could the number of sales down by 1/4.

Same goes for EVs and PHEVs, except Tesla is an exception since there is no lower end cars with a 200+ mile range for comparison. There is no indication that the ELR will be an exception and we can use the Volt as a datapoint.

We have to look at post rebate prices too, since that is what people are banking on. After rebate, assumeing MSRP the volt will cost ~27 K, ELR after rebate, 67.5 K, or roughly 2.5 times the price.

If the Volt produced and sold 30,000 in 2013, most likely the ELR will sell 3,000 which is horrible

Yes, respect Green Car Journal’s recommendation.

May I remind everyone that the “Green car Vision award” was given to the Cmax Energi over the Tesla Model S last year for reasons only known to the editors when both public opinion, stats, precident (or lack of EVs and a plethoera of plug in hybrids, Volt, PiP) and sales showed the Model S as the clear winner.

Previous year they picked the Focus Electric.. A flop

They also chose the HFC Equinox in 2008; over the plug in Prius, and did not even consider the Tesla Roadster