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...But It's Paddle Shifter are Unique.

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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