Chevrolet Teases 2017 Bolt EV ‘Regen on Demand’ Paddle

Are you ready for the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV? Chevrolet is getting ready for you, assuming you are, and meanwhile it is drumming up excitement for the first EV to have 200 miles range for $30,000 after subsidies.

While EV watchers are eagerly awaiting its EPA certifications, dealer ordering to open for the $37,500-before-subsidy EV, and more definitive details, the automaker today is teasing out previously announced info about one-pedal driving with the Bolt.

A novel feature, the 2017 Bolt EV permits this via a regenerative braking paddle on the back of the steering wheel to enable four different operating modes.

The “regen on demand paddle” lets the driver slow the car at varying rates – and simultaneously the motor-generator feeds current back to the battery, increasing range.

“Using a vehicle simulation model, engineers compared regen performance on a testing cycle that simulated heavy stop-and-go traffic in Drive and another using one-pedal driving while in Low and also the Regen on Demand paddle,” said Chevrolet. “The engineers found that the one-pedal driving can add up to 5 percent of range to the Bolt EV.”

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Regenerative braking in itself is not new, and has been used in hybrids for years, but the Bolt takes it to a new level above even GM’s latest plug-in cars.

The regen paddle has evolved since it was first featured on the now-discontinued Cadillac ELR, then second-generation 2016 Chevy Volt, and the Bolt does them one better by even enabling a complete stop.

The effect is not unlike how hand brake controls would work for a handicap-enabled vehicle, and it can be easily adjusted on the fly to be progressively stronger in the following modes:

• Operating in Drive and easing off the accelerator.
• Operating in Drive and using the Regen on Demand paddle on the back of the steering wheel.
• Operating in Low and easing off the accelerator.
• Operating in Low and using the Regen on Demand paddle in tandem.

The first mode is standard with any EV, as all provide a bit of regenerative braking on decel, and coasting is still easy. The second through fourth add regen effect, and using another corollary, it is something like shifting an automatic transmission in Low – and feeling the drag in forward momentum – and then if there were an extra-low, the drag effect is felt more and more.

“Bolt EV customers who want an engaging driving experience will love the thrill of one-pedal driving,” said Bolt EV Chief Engineer Josh Tavel. “They will be able to tailor the vehicle to their preferred driving style and maximize their range.”

Reports have been that the Bolt will come to a complete stop even on a decline meaning the regen paddle can be used like a brake.

In actual use, the system will likely be easy to adapt to, and become an extra means to control the car. Drivers will be able to time stops to a light or slow the car without having to touch the brake pedal in many circumstances.

It is not actually a replacement for the brake pedal though, and when faster stops are needed, that will be the one to use.

Meanwhile, Chevrolet has also recently reiterated what it says on its consumer website that the Bolt EV will be here this year, and thus is not delayed.

Further details like all-important range have yet to be disclosed. The automaker, which has consistently said range will be more than 200 miles range in its latest statement says it will be at least 200, if not more.

“During interviews with Chevrolet, EV enthusiasts expressed their desire for one-pedal driving capability,” said the automaker. “Bolt EV owners, much like Chevrolet’s enthusiastic Volt customers, will enjoy using regen braking to maximize every charge of the vehicle’s 60 kWh battery pack. The Bolt EV is GM-estimated to provide 200 miles or more of range.”