One interesting innovation in the automotive world is the adaption of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters to control the transmission, usually on performance cars. The 2014 Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid will also have paddle shifters, but they’ll serve a different purpose; generating electricity for the Regen on Demand feature, a fancy name for the ELR’s regenerative braking.
For those not in the know, electric and hybrid vehicles can “recover” a small amount of electricity from braking, utilizing the electric motor rather than the brakes to slow the car down. Most of the time this feature is automatic and controllable by selecting different modes, depending on how much “resistance” you want when slowing down.
But the Cadillac ELR’s Regen on Demand feature will give drivers a greater degree of control, pulling back on the paddle shifters in the same way you might downshift a manual transmission car. The paddle shifters won’t bring the ELR to a complete stop, but the Range on Demand feature also won’t engage until you want it to.
With 207 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs of torque, the Cadillac ELR promises to deliver a more engaging driving experience than your typical hybrid car, and the paddle shifters are a neat idea that this writer hopes other automakers copy. All hail the paddle shifter!