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Captain Hybrid

Slideshow: Cadillac's Plug-In ELR Will Sell for $75K

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GTOlover
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Over-priced luxury!
GTOlover   10/17/2013 9:10:28 AM
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!

naperlou
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Re: Over-priced luxury!
naperlou   10/17/2013 12:35:44 PM
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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.

NadineJ
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Re: Over-priced luxury!
NadineJ   10/17/2013 1:21:22 PM
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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.

Arden Dulou
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Silver
Re: Over-priced luxury!
Arden Dulou   10/18/2013 8:53:31 AM
This is the single biggest issue for cars like this. Price for what you get.

http://www.efficient-mileage.com/mpg-illusion.html

The cost savings per year on fuel past 30MPG doesn't make an EV car cost competitive if it costs more than a standard Fusion hybrid or even a high mileage Focus/Fusion/etc.

You buy this car to stroke your ego, not to save money. It is a rich person's play thing regardless the subsidy our broke government hands out...

AREV
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Re: Over-priced luxury!
AREV   10/18/2013 10:04:54 AM
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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.

TJ McDermott
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Only two common components
TJ McDermott   10/17/2013 11:09:58 AM
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Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell is apparently living in a different reality.  First, he called it an "engine".  Electric engine?  Maybe it's straining at semantics, but it is an electric motor.

Saying the two vehicles only have two components in common is more than a little disingenuous.  They're the two most important components.  All else is window dressing.

The phrase that comes to mind is "Putting lipstick on a pig".  Granted, the pig DOES look very attractive, but in the end, it's still a pig.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Only two common components
Rob Spiegel   10/17/2013 12:09:03 PM
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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.

Charles Murray
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Engine
Charles Murray   10/17/2013 1:40:50 PM
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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.

richnass
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Re: Engine
richnass   10/17/2013 3:47:51 PM
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That's not making sense to me. If it uses the same engine as the Volt (a $35k car?), why does it have a price tag of $75k?

GTOlover
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Re: Engine
GTOlover   10/17/2013 4:22:16 PM
Rich, notice the emblem on the front grill? $40k right there.

Charles Murray
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Re: Engine
Charles Murray   10/17/2013 5:50:48 PM
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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.  

RogueMoon
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high priced expecting low volume
RogueMoon   10/18/2013 9:00:50 AM
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Cadillac is dipping their toe in the waters of EV's, no doubt.  Their hope is that their typical customers are already used to paying too much for a car calling it luxury. Green does appeal to some, no doubt.  Some of that premium price is in the name, Cadillac.  As a car, the ELR may do well (at least for their sake I hope they don't have problems), but this high sticker price is more indicative of Cadillac being realistic with how many they think they'll sell.  I think Cadillac wants to get as much profit as they can from each unit sold.   This isn't the car for the mass market.

GTOlover
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Re: Engine
GTOlover   10/18/2013 9:13:37 AM
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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?

ChriSharek
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Gold
Re: Engine
ChriSharek   10/18/2013 9:22:27 AM
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GTO Lover, what government subsidies are you referring to? 

If the battery is > or = 16 kw-hrs, the first 200,000 vehicles of that type are eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.  The Volt and the ELR have a 16 kw-hr battery and are therefore eligible.

Are you talking about subsidies to develop the vehicle (R&D)?  Please clarify. 

GTOlover
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Platinum
Re: Engine
GTOlover   10/18/2013 9:30:05 AM
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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!

Charles Murray
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Re: Engine
Charles Murray   10/18/2013 6:05:34 PM
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Yes, the Chevy Volt will have better fuel efficiency numbers, but Cadillac has acknowledged that it traded fuel efficiency for power in the ELR. I believe the Volt only has 149 HP. And the ELR offers 295 lb-ft of torque, compared to 273 for the Volt. Cadillac's belief is that their buyers aren't as interested in fuel efficiency, and I think that's a pretty fair bet.

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?doc_id=258113

Charles Murray
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Re: Engine
Charles Murray   10/18/2013 5:59:19 PM
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Valid points, GTOlover. They've carried over the powertrain, which saves them some money. But as for the rest of it...we're seeing here what often happens in the luxury end of the market. In the rest of the vehicle (not the powertrain) Cadillac is bearing costs that aren't shared with the other divisions of GM. This is why many consumers like to wait for technology to trickle down -- trickledown means less cost.

Watashi
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Platinum
Re: Engine
Watashi   10/18/2013 10:48:06 AM
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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". 

 Maybe this is the "Sophisticated Volt".

ChriSharek
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Gold
PHEV market is clearly strong
ChriSharek   10/18/2013 9:06:29 AM
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Charles, thanks for the report. 

Clearly a Volt is a better choice (range, MPG, interior room) than the ELR with a straight up cost comparison.  But, the fact that more and more PHEVs are hitting the market is a clear indication that the public is ready to step into the shallow end of the EV pool. I saw an ad for the Porsche Panamera Plug-In just last night!

How can anyone bash Caddy for this luxury EV when Tesla took DOE loans too and came up with an $80-$110k vehicle!? 

STV55
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Iron
Good luck with that!
STV55   10/18/2013 9:26:33 AM
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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.

ChriSharek
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Re: Good luck with that!
ChriSharek   10/18/2013 9:34:00 AM
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STV55, you are absolutely right.  The Model S is so much more car from performance and function. 

GTOLover, I have to agree with you - the Volt's numbers are actually better than the ELR's.  Probably everything except 0-60.  I've got 36k on my 2011 Volt and I'm still getting 45+ miles on a charge. 

Quacker
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Bronze
ROFL
Quacker   10/18/2013 9:35:01 AM
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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.

shrimper53
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Gold
Re: ROFL
shrimper53   10/18/2013 10:02:00 AM
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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.

Intertesting article nonetheless, as always. 

STV55
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Iron
Nothing new here...
STV55   10/18/2013 1:41:12 PM
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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.

Bunter
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Platinum
Late to the party?
Bunter   10/22/2013 9:56:38 AM
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One of my first thoughts is "would this project get the go ahead today?"

Keep in mind, like any new car, the go-ahead was several years ago.

IIRC, last month saw lower year-over-year sales for the Volt inspite of the $5k lower price. I have posted before that I suspect that the EV market is already saturating the demand for the current offerings price/range/capability combinations.

With Volt interest possibly flagging, I think the ELR will probably fail hard.

Cheerio,

Dennis

Charles Murray
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Re: Late to the party?
Charles Murray   10/22/2013 6:54:08 PM
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I don't know about the ELR project, Bunter, but a lot of automotive engineers are now talking about the optimistic times of 2008 and 2009, when electric car projects were viewed in a very different light. I suspect many of those projects would be curtailed or even dropped if automakers could do it over again.

Bunter
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Re: Late to the party?
Bunter   10/23/2013 9:37:19 AM
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Interesting thoughts on the engineers hindsight.  Personally I think a lot of things are getting driven by panic reactions these days (was this always so?).

The A123 article is a good illustration.  As we see more clearly every day Gummit intervention typically leads to really "brilliant" solutions.

One more thought on the ELR-I don't see the typical "EV's will save us" excitement defending it.  Kiss of death?  Condemnation with faint praise?

Cheerio,

Dennis

Charles Murray
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Re: Late to the party?
Charles Murray   10/23/2013 8:41:52 PM
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You're right, Bunter, the euphoria just wasn't there with this announcement. The Volt generated far, far more public interest. Right now, the euphoria is in Tesla's corner.

Bunter
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Re: Late to the party?
Bunter   10/24/2013 10:36:53 AM
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The current EV "boom" rather reminds me of the "retro-style" surge in the auto industry.

THe Prowler was all over for awhile then the PT Cruiser exploded.  Then the T-bird was hot for maybe 72 hours.  The Chevy SSR?  The what? DOA.  Everbody had their cool retro ride already.

I really expected the price drop to perk up Volt sales, but if they are still dropping (not certain) after that...I think we may be seeing a fad starting to fade.  Could be wrong.

Anyway Chuck, have a great day.

Snowing here in MI, love it , ready to ski.

 

Cheerio,

Dennis

Charles Murray
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Re: Late to the party?
Charles Murray   10/28/2013 6:09:25 PM
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It's hard to say how the Volt is doing these days, Dennis. It set a record of 3,351 in August, then dropped sharply to 1,766 in September. Year-to-date sales are 17,760. Sounds to me like Chevy's looking at about 25,000 this year.  

Bunter
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Re: Late to the party?
Bunter   11/7/2013 9:35:55 AM
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Hi Charles,

I realize this thread is dead but I thought I'd throw you a note.

Volt sales for October-2,022  down 32% from 2012.  The industry was up 10% overall.

Little early to call a trend but I wonder if the August sales were a bubble with the lower price and reality is that demand is flagging. 

I suspect that if the "pause" in global warming continues (17 years and counting) we will see EV's and wind/solar enthusiasm retreat a great deal.  Double that if the planet enters a cooling cycle (solar & oceanic cycles indicate that this is a possibility).

We will see.

Take care my friend.  Have a great, and thankful, Thanksgiving.

Dennis

Charles Murray
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Re: Late to the party?
Charles Murray   10/22/2013 6:58:56 PM
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One more point, Bunter...If you want to see what happens as companies rethink their earlier decisions, take a look at this story:

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=268739

 

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