The new Cadillac ELR will offer more power and torque than its cousin, the Chevy Volt, but it may have to trade some efficiency to get it.
Preliminary numbers released by General Motors indicate that the ELR will top out at 295 lb-ft of torque, versus the Volt's 273 lb-ft. It will also offer peak power ranging from 160 HP to 180 HP, whereas the Chevy Volt checks in at 149 HP. The result might be a slight drop in all-electric range, Cadillac engineers said at the vehicle's unveiling at the recent North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
"This is one of the tough decisions -- how much do we balance toward performance versus efficiency?" Darin Gesse, marketing product manager for electrified vehicles at General Motors, told Design News. "In the end, we will probably give up a little efficiency to get the performance."
Click on the image below to check out the Cadillac ELR
Cadillac's ELR, based on the Converj concept car, will be the only electric vehicle offered by a full-line luxury automaker when it reaches production in 2013. (Source: Cadillac)
Cadillac introduced the Volt's upscale cousin to huge crowds at NAIAS, calling it a blend of "art and science -- the artistic expression of innovative technology." The new vehicle will look racier than the Volt and will offer more luxurious touches, such carbon fiber elements in the decorative trim, as well as authentic wood and suede in the interior. The ELR will also feature the well-known Cadillac CUE infotainment system, which uses natural voice recognition, capacitive touch, and hand gesture communication.
The ELR will employ the same powertrain as the Volt, with the familiar 16.6kWh, T-shaped lithium-ion battery serving as a power source. Despite using the identical battery, however, the ELR's all-electric range is expected to be a few miles less than that of the 2013 Volt, which features a 38-mile range. Cadillac engineers wouldn't say what the final figure will be, however. "We will probably withhold any EV range announcements until we get an EPA estimate," Gesse told Design News. "We want to be able to deliver whatever we promise."
GM engineers reportedly considered changing the battery pack for the ELR, but ultimately decided that the 16.5kWh unit was the right size. "We found that most Americans drive between 35 to 40 miles each day," Gesse said. "And the ELR is meant to be charged overnight. So this size will meet the needs of most Americans to drive gas-free on their average commute. Giving them a bigger battery would just mean they'll be carrying around more mass."
Gesse said the ELR's higher performance will be reached through "software tweaks," since all of the powertrain hardware will essentially be identical to that of the Volt.
Higher horsepower and torque is consistent with the Cadillac theme, Gesse added. Cadillac customers expect to buy high-tech vehicles that provide enthusiast-type performance. "People are going to stop them on the side of the road and say, 'What kind of car is that?' " Gesse told us. "Our customers love that."
Cadillac ELR Specs:
EPA vehicle class: Compact car
Cells: 288 prismatic
IC engine: 1.4L DOHC I4
Electric motors: drive motor 117-135 kW; generator motor, 55 kW
Torque: 295 lb-ft
Charging times: 120V, about 12 hours; 240V, about 4.5 hours
I often wonder when I hear about consumer reports and surveys how much they are driven by the government trying to drive going green. Some of the new government regulations on water usage are really starting to be ridiculous. I'd rather have my dishes get clean with a little more water than have to run the dishwasher twice because the dishes didn't get cleaned on the first run.
I hear what you are saying but I wonder if it's not more of a I'll go green when I save money. I can honestly say from my stand point I won't go green unless it gives me an advantage. I don't believe a lot in the whole green house gases, global warming, so to me if it's a wash, I want the extra power.
One of the things that Consumer Reports always says is that most consumers won't go green until the fuel cost numbers work out in their favor, jmiller. In other words, many people want to be green as long as they don't have to pay extra across the life of the vehicle.
If you take the design away from the car companies, who does the work? I sure don't want the government to design my car. Until consumers are willing to pay more and get less, it will take some step improvmenet in functionality before electric cars take off.
I think you kind of hit it on the head. It's the government that has been nudging the industry along in this direction. And I just don't see the market really driving the industry this way. I hope it works because I can see the advantages. But I just don't know if you can tell customers what they want. I know it worked for Ford for a while (You can have any color car you want as long as its black) but sooner or later people want to give the customer what they want and not what might be best for some external party.
I like that correlation. I don't know that I agree but it does bring up a good point. In the case of cell phones people were getting more and more. In the case of cars I don't know if I see what people are getting yet. It might be more green but if it's not much of a financial benefit, I don't know if it's enough motivation.
Good point, Bill, regarding why "technology appears to be driving customer demand," rather than vice versa. I do wonder if GM would have reached this point yet without all the external pressure (government/environmental/public opinion) that has bubbled up since the demise of the ill-fated EV1. In a study by KPMG two week ago, one sentence jumped out at me: "By investing in alternative, fuel-efficient technology, automotive brands have managed to improve both performance and perception." The italics in that sentence are mine.
Baby steps...remember the days when everyone thought you SHOULD have a landline. It took a few years but perception changed.
The larger trend, in the true definition of the word trend, is toward "less is more". Less things and waste; More experience and sustainability. Early adopters are really looking at their lifestyles and buying to match THAT over collecting status symbols.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.