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2014 Cadillac ELR: Variable Electric Regen Via Paddle Shifters

 
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2014 Cadillac ELR

2014 Cadillac ELR

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Paddle shifters on an electric vehicle might seem like a bit of an engineering oversight. After all, what use is manual control over gears if there are no gears to control?

Think laterally though, and the appearance of paddle shifters in the 2014 Cadillac ELR makes a lot of sense--variable regenerative braking.

It's not actually a new concept. The 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive offers just such a system, using the standard Fortwo's paddle shifters to either reduce or increase regenerative braking, depending on which paddle you pull.

The Caddy's paddles work in a slightly different way, both left and right paddles doing the same job.

Cadillac calls it Regen on Demand. If you're approaching a situation which requires less speed, simply back off the gas and pull one of the paddles.

This increases the regenerative effect, both harnessing more energy for the battery, and increasing the rate of deceleration. Cadillac likens the effect to selecting a lower gear in a regular vehicle, providing more engine braking.

Chris Thomason, ELR Chief Engineer, says it provides drivers with a more engaged, satisfying driving experience.

"Pulling back on the paddle to slow down allows the ELR driver to keep their foot close to the throttle, ready to accelerate,” he said. said. “When you consider the added benefit of re-capturing energy, it’s also a smart thing to do.”

Realeasing the paddle disengages Regen on Demand, allowing the vehicle to coast at a more natural rate.

Regen on Demand is just one feature that separates the ELR from its cousin, the Chevy Volt. Cadillac drivers also get a little more power than their Chevy counterparts, with 295 pounds-feet of torque available from zero rpm.

Electric range is around 35 miles, and Cadillac says a full charge at 240V takes around 4.5 hours.

The 2014 Cadillac ELR range-extended coupe goes on sale in early 2014.

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Comments (5)
  1. That is the same technology used in the Fisker Karma. It allows you to elongate the life of your brakes and rotors as well.
     
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  2. Actually, the Volt does have "regen on demand." You just demand it in a different way.

    When you put the Volt in D, you get the low regen. It feels like a normal ICE car. To get the high regen, simply shift to L. It feels like you've just shifted to Low in an ICE car. It's an excellent system, easy to switch back and forth on the fly. I'm not sure that the ELR system is any improvement.

    In fact, I'm still confused about why there are two paddles. Is there more than one high-regen setting?. And can you leave the ELR permanently in the high-regen mode, so you don't have to always be hitting the paddle shifters?

    The paragon of regen-on-demand is still the VW E-Golf, which has paddle shifters and four different regen settings.
     
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  3. I think two paddles are designed for either hand to operate in case the driver has a preference.

    Volt's L regen can be modulated by press the accelerator pedal slightly. However, this allow you to modulate the regen by using your hand...

    Small difference and probably more geared towards "sporty driving".
     
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  4. "Think laterally though, and the appearance of paddle shifters in the 2014 Cadillac ELR makes a lot of sense--variable regenerative braking."

    Okay! Now take that one step further and offer it with a manual shifter in the center console, and we will be in business!
     
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  5. Why not just drive in L mode all the time? Isn't that the way you would do it in the Volt? At that point, what's the difference?
     
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