Do you know what regenerative braking is? If so, raise your hand.  My hand is up, but only because I have Engineers I can ask about it.  The simple explanation is that the car uses braking energy to charge the battery. The kinetic energy is transferred into electrical energy and fed back into the high-voltage battery which in turns increases range or the distance you can drive.  

This occurs in three different ways automatically:
1. Releasing your foot from the “gas” pedal
2. Lightly applying the brakes (just enough to get the tail lights to come on)
3. Full application of the brakes. 

Now, should you get a smart electric drive with the paddle shifters (the word “shifters” is used loosely here because the car only has one drive gear), you have control as the driver over the amount of regeneration you want. Foolishly I only took one picture of the instrument cluster as you can see. So, I will draw the other scenarios to best explain.

Level 0 - This is the “D” for drive with a minus next to it. This means that regenerative braking is completely off.

Level 1 - This is the “D” for drive with nothing next to it. This means that regenerative braking is on and in “normal” mode or the standard setting which is also the default setting when the car is turned on.

Level 2 – This is the “D” for drive with the plus next to it. This setting offers the most amount of regenerative braking possible. When you lift your foot off of the accelerator you can really feel the car brake harder and this will also offer the most recharging.

Below is a screenshot of what Level 2 looks like in the instrument cluster.

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Comment by Arvind Kumar on April 30, 2013 at 7:55am
Any info on when the 22kw on board charger will be available in the US?
Comment by Marc G on April 23, 2013 at 2:55pm

Excellent, thanks agin Eric! Looking forward to the launch next week (if it doesn't slip again...)

Comment by Eric Angeloro - smart USA on April 22, 2013 at 9:12pm

Yes. The smart electric drive will have "recuperation paddles" as an option. Code i79 and they come with the 3-spoke leather sport steering wheel as a complete stand-alone option.

Comment by Marc G on April 16, 2013 at 7:26pm

Even Cadillac is putting regen paddles in their ELR:

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 >>

Let's hope the Germans decide to give Americans the benefit of the doubt when it comes to being smart enough to use such a feature, and provide this option for US-bound smart electrics...

Comment by Marc G on April 8, 2013 at 7:39pm

Thanks for the info Eric! This looks like a very useful option for those of us who like to "one-foot drive" EVs.

One question though: is the option to have regenerative paddles available for US customers of the ED3?

Thank you very much!

Comment by Rob Fairman on December 28, 2012 at 3:20pm

Will the regen be adjustable without the steering wheel paddles?

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