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.”
Over-priced and under performing! Compete with a Tesla, what? I can get a hybrid Fusion for half the price, though it lacks the same fuel economy. But the price difference I can buy A LOT OF GASOLINE! I can even get a CTS with 3.6L twin turbo decked for 70k and use the 5k to buy a bunch of gasoline.
So taxpayers bailout GM and this is how they rebuild their brand. Design a vehicle that they may sell 100 to 150 units. Good luck with that!
TJ makes an important point that this is the Volt with a snappier body. In another comment thread we discussed the difference in engineering teams between luxury models and standard models at car makers. It seems that the engineering difference here is only with the body.
GTOlover, you nailed it. In recent articles about how well the Tesla S was selling in California it was noted that the taxxpayers were subsudizing rich drivers. This is always the case with EVs. Except for a small number of people electric vehicles have to be second (or third) vehicles. The specs on this car are not that impressive, and if it being sold as a sporty car, then I think people will be dissiapointed. It looks nice, though.
I think it's a good attempt to get an ignored consumer interested in the EV market. This doesn't compete with the Model S. Those are two completely different consumers.
Cadillac's base is older and aging. Although many have embraced SMART cars, EV's are too "odd" for most of them. This is a good compromise and a great introduction to get what would have been a lost market. The grandkids will be slightly impressed.
Luxury SUV owners never cared that they're just driving pickup trucks with different body styling. Calling this a "snazzy Volt" won't deter the target market. It's a smart move but just a first step.
Caldwell of Cadillac is correct when he says the battery and engine are the same as the Volt's. Because the ELR is a plug-in hybrid, it uses a 1.4-liter, inline 4-cylinder engine, along with the battery, electric drive motor and motor-generator. It's essentially a series hybrid, so the engine spins a motor-generator that charges the battery.
Rich, you and many of the readers have put their fingers on a problem that's likely to dog Cadillac. This car is virtually twice the price of the Volt, which already has a pretty high pricetag. Cadillac explained to me that the chassis, body structure, body panels, interior touches, seating, instrument panel, infotainment system and on and on are all exclusive to Cadillac. It really is a different car than the Volt. But the powertrain is the Volt's, and consumers are likely to keep asking the question you did. As our distinguished analyst, Thilo Koslowski, pointed out, it smacks of Detroit's old re-badging practices.
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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