2014 Cadillac ELR Gives Driver Energy Control

The 2014 Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid is ditching the traditional paddle-shifter route and taking a page from the Fisker Karma, of all things. Unlike traditional paddle shifters that allow the driver to upshift and downshift, the Cadillac ELR's steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters let the driver temporarily regenerate energy and store it as electricity in the battery pack for use at a later time. Cadillac's first plug-in electric vehicle will hit showroom floors in early 2014. The ability for the driver to regenerate and store the electricity is called Regen on Demand, and is unique to the compact luxury coupe. To engage this feature, the driver takes their foot off the accelerator and pulls back on either the left or right paddle to begin regenerating electricity. When engaged, the feature is able to provide deceleration similar to coasting, with control and performance characteristics similar to downshifting in a manual transmission vehicle. However, it does not bring the vehicle to a full stop. It's similar to what Fisker uses in its Karma, allowing the driver to change the car's behavior with paddles. "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 a more active role in the electric vehicle driving experience," said Chris Thomason, ELR chief engineer, in a statement.
The Cadillac ELR has a blended regenerative braking system to recapture the energy in a vehicle's momentum rather than losing it as heat in the brakes. When the brakes are applied, the energy is recaptured and stored as the vehicle slows. For more urgent stops, the Cadillac ELR will blend in friction breaks for greater stopping power. The similar Chevrolet Volt has regenerative brakes, too, and shares much of its technology under the sheetmetal, but it will not have the Regen on Demand feature. Charging the Cadillac ELR can be completed in less than five hours when using a 240-volt Level 2 electric charger, depending on the outside temperature, which should allow for around 40 miles of electric range. The ELR's battery can also be charged with a normal 120-volt electrical outlet. Source: General Motors