By Matt Schmitz on April 16, 2013
A new feature set to debut next year on the Cadillac ELR puts control over energy regeneration in the driver's hands. Equipped with the Regen on Demand system, the extended-range electric compact luxury coupe uses paddle shifters that enable the driver to temporarily control the regenerative braking system, which captures and stores braking energy in the battery pack for later use.
To engage Regen on Demand, the driver removes their foot from the accelerator and pulls back on either the left or right steering-wheel paddle, according to Cadillac. That provides greater deceleration than normal coasting and is similar to when a driver downshifts with a manual transmission, Cadillac stated. Releasing the paddle disengages the feature, allowing the vehicle to coast normally; it cannot stop the vehicle.
"Regen on Demand enables ELR drivers to actively recapture energy when slowing down, such as when approaching slower traffic or setting up for a tight turn," said Chris Thomason, ELR chief engineer. "This allows the driver to take a more active role in the electric vehicle driving experience."
The system converts the vehicle’s momentum — otherwise lost as heat in the brakes — to electrical power and stores the energy in vehicle's T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack. The pack supplies energy to an electric drive unit capable of 295 pounds-feet of torque. Similar to its Chevrolet Volt sibling, the ELR will have an estimated all-electric range of 35 miles before its 1.4-liter motor kicks in, extending total range to 300 miles. According to Cadillac, the ELR's battery can be charged in 4.5 hours at a 240-volt charging station, but it also can be charged on a 120-volt outlet.Related
News Editor Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt