Nearly five years since its introduction as a concept car at the 2009 North American International Auto Show, the 2014 Cadillac ELR is finally slated to hit the streets at a starting price of $75,995.
The ELR will use the same lithium-ion battery and 1.4-liter engine as its cousin, the Chevy Volt, in bringing a plug-in powertrain to the luxury end of the auto market. It offers about 35 miles of all-electric driving and approximately 300 miles of total range when burning gasoline. Cadillac is emphasizing, however, that the higher-priced ELR is not an upscale Volt. “It has the battery and the engine in common, but that’s it,” Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell told Design News. “There’s not a single shared exterior panel and not a single shared interior (element).”
Click on the image below for an up-close and inside look at the Cadillac ELR
Cadillac’s ELR will hit the streets in January, starting at $75,995. A federal tax credit of $7,500 could bring the price as low as $68,495. (Source: Cadillac)
Scheduled to hit the road in January, the ELR is based on the highly publicized Cadillac Converj concept car, introduced at the Detroit Auto Show in 2009. Its aerodynamics, forward-leaning profile and sweeping body line are virtually identical to those of the Converj.
In breathing life into the vehicle, GM engineers maintained the Converj’s original performance-oriented concept. Torque tops out at 295 lb-ft and horsepower at 207 hp. Both of those numbers are higher than those of the Volt, despite their use of the same powertrain.
Like the Volt, the ELR employs a series hybrid drive configuration. In all-electric electric mode, its wheels are powered by a 135-kW electric drive motor, using energy from the lithium-ion battery. When the battery is depleted, the ELR employs the 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine to spin a generator-motor that recharges the battery. Owners can also recharge the car by plugging it in when it’s parked.
“Cadillac is definitely going after the technologist,” Thilo Koslowski, vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner Inc., told Design News. “But they’re also aiming at the technologist who has a green conscience.”
The pricetag -- approximately twice that of the Volt’s -- could be a problem for Cadillac, Koslowski added. “To introduce it at more than $70,000 is difficult,” he told us. “The problem is that it looks too much like the kind of rebadging that Detroit became known for.”
To some degree, Cadillac sees the ELR coupe as a competitor of Tesla’s Model S sedan. One of the big differences, however, is its use of an internal combustion engine. “You don’t have to worry about, ‘Oh, I forgot to plug it in,’ ” Caldwell said. “You always have the convenience of the extended range.”
I have nothing against car companies trying out new and bold ideas, but this Cadillac puzzles me.
What exactly is new about it as far as cars go? It can't be that it's a hybrid. Been there, done that.
Is it the suspension, innovative steering or stability control? What?
As far as I can tell it is an exercise in aesthetics. But like with all "art" some will love it and some will hate it, but the majority will stand back and wonder what makes this vehicle worth $75K.
Even people with money to burn will shrug at the prospect of spending 50% more on a Volt with designer sheet-metal. But it's not even that. There is no fashion designer or famous coach builder associated with it.
Way back when, Volkswagen realized that the Beetle, as popular as it was, didn't appeal to all, so they came out with the Karmann Ghia. It was a WV Beetle in "real" designer clothing. It looked fantastic. Everyone knew what was underneath, it was expensive to build, but it didn't sell for twice what the Beetle did.
There are many more examples of car makers, especially GM, re-skinning the same chassis/platform and marketing it as a totally different vehicle, but even then, the chassis were size specific. The more expensive cars were all built on C-platform, for instance. You did not see a Vega frame with a Corvette body.
Here, however, Cadillac is clearly trying to make as much profit with as little effort as possible.
For this to succeed Cadillac needs to make a compelling case for the existence of this car.
With that said, it does stand a great chance to become a collector's item. There won't be many of them around.
GM has been known throughout its existence for using common components, even chassis (sp?) between models. It does make some business sense, but leads to uninspired engineering.
The worst case I can think of is what they did with HUMMER. They took a Chevy Tahoe/ GMC Yukon chassis, put a blocky, ugly body on it, and called it a HUMMER H2. The military HMMWV (HUMVEE) was not popular because of its aesthetics. It was popular because of its performance. The unique drivetrain gave it high payload, superior ground clearance, while keeping an overall lower height/CG. Since GM used the standard chassis, many of us simply referred to the H2 as the "Ugly Suburban".
This will have a nitch. But in 5 years take photo # 3 with the "frame " of the batteries, the engine, and suspension, send it to California in the '50s. Watch it come back with a bucket T body and performance and range that would challenge the best. We've got to put automobiles on a diet. It looks like an over weight middle aged guy.
What this really highlights to me, is the sheer folly and irrationality of the whole notion that PHEV's have any practical application on a mass scale at this point in time or in the near future. Regardless of the impressive performance numbers, the astronomical price tags of ANY of these vehicles (including the massive GOVERNMENT subsidies) place these products out of reach of anyone where daily operating costs are a concern.
Folks that can afford these vehicles generally have no worries whether gas is $3.00/gallon or $7.00 . It is another ego boost for the well-heeled elites.
What everyone should realize is that these technologies are part of an evolutionary process. I also know that the progressively stringent CAFE standards are an attempt to force the technology along, with some apparent success. However, until costs can become truly competitive with the tried-and-true ICE, it's all still going to be primarily a luxury novelty.
Same old weak-minded GM attempts at marketing. So you're going to use the same battery and motor as the Volt, hang a bunch of different sheetmetal and gadgets on it and then charge me how much more? No wonder we had to bail you idiots out.
Yes, the R and D. The Chevy Volt had money to help develop the tooling for the production vehicle.
But another commenter already answered what I believe the real reason for the price. Profit. Cadillac knows that the volume will be low and wants to make money on these. I do not have the ability to see Chevy Volt's manufactureing costs, but it seems they are either losing money, or barely breaking even on each Volt sold. Irregardless of the Volt's financial status, the Cadillac is using the look, their reputation, and the EV green angle to make sure that each one sold moves their division to profitability.
What is funny, looking at the specifications for the ELR, the Volt appears to be a better car!
Lipstick on a Pig is right! This is an elitist car, a Chevy Volt for the well-heeled that wouldn't be caught dead in one. It's an attractive car, but in no way will it stand-up to a Tesla S. If you've ever drove one you'll understand. But, given that the magic "lipstick" did such an amazing job on GMC trucks (read Escalades) this marketing gimmick just might work for Cadillac, but it won't be easy. I don't plan to be a customer.
Charles, here is the quizzical point of this: Cadillac made the rest of the car "exclusive to Cadillac". That means the body panels had to be designed and the tooling purchased. The electronics of the infotainment system designed and purchased. The interior appointments designed and tooling purchased. As I recall, the Chevy Volt had to design body, interior, and controls that also required tooling and manufactureing. I understand leather seat coverings are more expensive than cloth and the 6-way surround sound with satellite Chinese TV is more complex, but $40k difference. It seems the purchasers for Cadillac are being ripped off by suppliers.
However, perhaps the real answer is that the Cadillac is not getting the government subsidy that the Volt is rumored to get?
Tesla Motors’ $35,000, 200-mile electric car may not revolutionize the auto industry by itself, but it could serve as a starting point for a long, steady climb to a day when half of the world’s vehicles will be plug-ins.
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