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GM has revealed that the second-generation Chevrolet Volt — Holden Volt down under — will be offered with a regenerative braking on-demand feature.

By flicking and holding a steering wheel-mounted paddle, the driver can opt to engage the electric motor’s regenerative braking system, which uses engine braking to both slow the car down and recharge the car’s batteries.

In the video above, the system is demonstrated by Mark Reuss, formerly head of Holden and now GM’s global product development chief.

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Although it’s still shrouded by hectares of partially translucent black sheeting, the video also offers us a first glimpse at the interior of the second-generation Volt.

An on-demand regenerative braking system was first used by GM in the Cadillac ELR. Launched in 2013, the Cadillac ELR is the Chevy Volt’s high-price, high-style two-door cousin.

In the ELR, the regen on-demand system, as it’s known, develops 0.2g of braking force. In theory it can bring a car travelling at just over 110km/h (70mph) to a complete stop in less than 250 metres, although the system is setup to prevent the regen on-demand system bringing the car to a complete halt. By way of comparison, a pedal-to-the-floor stop would generate 0.95g of braking force and stop the car within 53m.

Unlike the brake pedal that mixes together regenerative braking with physical retardation, and which can be modulated by the amount of pressure applied, the regen on-demand system is an all or nothing affair.

With a starting price of US$75,000 ($91,700), or more than double the Volt’s US$34,345 ($42,000), the ELR has struggled in the marketplace.




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