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Published on December 26th, 2014 | by James Ayre


2016 Chevy Volt To Feature Regenerative Braking On Demand

December 26th, 2014 by  

The coming 2016 Chevy Volt will feature, as standard, the Regen On Demand regenerative braking system that was first utilized by the company in the Cadillac ELR, according to recent reports.

Up until now, the Chevy Volt has of course made use of regenerative braking, but there’s been no way for the driver to control the degree to which it functions. With the 2016 model, this will be changing though, giving drivers the ability to adjust how aggressive the regenerative braking is via paddle shifters integrated into the system.

This plasticity of function will of course allow the system to be altered to better suit the situation — more aggressive regen in city environments, less so when on the highway, etc.

GAS2 provides more:

Like many plug-in cars, the Chevy Volt offers regenerative braking, though the driver doesn’t have any direct control over just how aggressive the regenerative braking is. Once you take your foot off the pedal, the regen kicks in, and you’re basically bound to whatever factory settings are in place. Cars like the Tesla Roadster and BMW i3 have particularly aggressive regenerative braking systems; other regen systems are hardly noticeable at all. 

But the Cadillac ELR offered drivers Regen On Demand, using paddle shifters to allow adjustments to the regenerative braking depending on what the situation calls for. In city traffic, a more aggressive regen means more electric mileage, but on the highway drivers might want to tone things back. It’s arguably the best feature of a car that’s been subject to massive rebates and discounts.

Given that the Cadillac ELR hasn’t exactly been a success (not that that’s a surprise), the exportation of its best qualities to the company’s other offerings doesn’t seem a bad move — likely making the Volt even more attractive to potential buyers than before.

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About the Author

James Ayre’s background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • NRG4All

    I would like to see them at some level of regen to turn on the brake lights. I’d like a lot of regen, but at some point it becomes a hazard if the people behind you don’t realize your rate of deceleration.

  • James White

    gm throws em a bone for their overpriced eco car

    • MarTams

      Speaking of overpricing, Tesla is not worth its price but the Volt is.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Don’t some EVs already have this feature?

    • Benjamin Nead

      Yes. The “Compliafornia-only” Honda Fit EV has (or had in 2012, when I was reading user reports about them) a paddle regen control on the steering column.

      I didn’t appreciate the significance of how it worked until I borrowed an
      i-MiEV in 2013 and found myself wanting to manually control regen while descending some steep hills. The floor shifter settings on the little Mitsu
      EV – which were more than adequate on flat terrain – had me either riding the brake or accelerating into these steep downward grades. The perfect scenario would have been a column paddle control to slow me going down these hills . . . far less wear on the brake pads and free energy flowing back into the batteries.

    • Matt

      My 2012 Prius Hybrid has a D and B on the shifter. B is for aggressive regen braking. Salesman didn’t know what it was for. But it wasn’t new that year, could not by a plug-in in Cincinnati in late 2011.

      • Benjamin Nead

        Sure. These sort of transmission settings are found on all sorts of cars . . . ICEs, hybrids, PHEVs, BEVs and (I’m going to guess) FCVs. The fun begins when traction batteries and an electric motor of some sort (be it the sole source of power or not) are onboard and process of slowing down through hyper-milling – or regenerative braking – can put electricity back into the battery.

        But there will invariably be a situation (in case of the Prius) where “D” requires riding the brakes and “B” might have so much regenerative properties that the accelerator pedal is being used when going down a steep incline. Here is where a paddle regen control mounted to the steering column is the ideal accessory. You put the car in “D” (or fairy mild regen) and perform your slowing without touching the brake pedal. Since the regeneration doesn’t involve mechanical braking through the floor pedal (ie: activating caliper pads on the discs or shoe pads on the drums, etc.,) there is no wear on those components.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Why isn’t the first x inches of brake pedal movement regenerative braking and after that is fully applied the mechanical braking used?

          Mechanical braking would only be used when regenerative wasn’t enough to slow/stop the car fast enough?

          • Benjamin Nead

            Hmmm . . . that might be a good way to set up the brake pedals on future EVs. You’d have to talk to a real automotive engineer or experienced mechanic to discuss feasibility. I still like the steering column paddle control, though, and keeping the systems separated. But that’s just me.

          • Bob_Wallace

            On an EV the accelerator is a pedal hooked to a pair of *potentiometers. They send signals to the computer which, in turn, controls power flow to the motor.*

            *Hook a couple to the brake pedal so that they control the regen braking until the pedal travels a certain distance and brings the hydraulic system into play. Stepping hard on the pedal in a panic stop would operate both systems as max performance. *

            *I can also see a variable setting that is manually controlled. I go down a mountain every time I go to the grocery store. A higher regen setting would make a lot of sense. *

  • Daniel

    How about making it change based on your speed? If more regen is better for city einvornments aka lower speed stop and go traffic then have the volt be more agressive for speeds under 45-50 MPH and then less aggressive once you’re going faster than 50MPH.

    I wouldn’t want to be manually changing it all the time as I switch from highway to city driving, I’d like the capability if I want to but if there’s an obvious benefit to this then allow the car to automatically adjust the regen based on speed.

  • Republic

    I owned a Volt and think this is more trouble than it’s worth. After a few days of driving, you get used to controlling the amount of regen with the accelerator.

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