Cap'n, the trading of a few miles range for performance seems to be going in the wrong direction. I would think that people would realize that this is not something they are really going to use. Really, how many people street race these days? It is really the relative skill and agressiveness of the driver that counts.
On the other hand, if this helps sell more cars, so be it. A Cadillac owner will not be as price sensitive as a Chevrolet owner, so much of the discussion around the Volt will not be relevant.
I do wonder at the weight, though. You list the car as a compact with a weight of two tons. Wow!!
I'm with you, naperlou. I would think ELR owners wouldn't worry so much about power and instead are focused on efficiency. But maybe because of Cadillac's brand identity, power is a selling point. I guess time will tell.
I had the same thought, naperlou - why trade range for performance? But, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the people buying Cadillac over Volt are probably looking for the performance factor. Another reader called the ELR a wolf in Volt's clothing. Maybe they are simply paying for the nameplate/prestige of owning a "Cadi." Chuck, has the list price on this car been made public yet?
It's not yet known how much range will be traded for performance, but whatever it is, I don't think that GM engineers consider it critical in comparison to the performance that Cadillac buyers want. Remember, the ELR is actually a plug-in hybrid, not a pure electric car. So even if the all-electric range drops by four or five miles (that's my hypothetical figure, not a GM figure), it's still backed by 300 miles of gasoline-based range. When you drive the ELR's cousin, the Volt, the changeover between all-electric and gasoline is almost unnoticeable because the drive mechanism remains the same. The same will go for the ELR. Given that, I can understand why Cadillac is doing this. If Cadillac owners have to dish out a few extra cents to pay for gasoline, most of them won't fret. But performance is a big issue to them.
I think it's a good step. Most consumers still believe that more hp is good. Even if it's wasted in their driving habits. It will take time to get people to realise that more power doesn't equal a better car.
By highlighting this now, GM may have an open window to introduce an update that is more efficient but with less "performance" as we define it today.
It takes time to change consumers' habits and desires.
In the end I think the market place is currently showing that the consumer wants to have something that might be called green but doesn't want to give up power and performance. There are still a lot of people still buying SUVs instead of hybrids.
With four drivers in our household (1 off at college, 1 driving to varsity practice, and Mom & Dad driving to 2 different employers) we currently own 3 Toyota Corollas and 1 Jeep Grand Cherokee. We own the SUV for the "U". Even if we won the lottery and upgraded to three new Prius Hybrids, we would still keep the "U". We need a vehicle to tow 7500 pounds, to carry those big boxes from the big box store, and to haul odds and ends for my wife's school because all of the 24-year old teachers are still driving their college hatchbacks. I just don't see many young families financing 65K for a hybrid SUV. I also don't know why folks would purchase an electric Cadillac so that the first 30 miles can run on electricity generated by the local coal-burning power plant. At least in my extended family, most Cadillacs are owned by retirees that use them for long road trips, not 15-mile commutes into the city to their desk jobs... I'm not sure why the technology appears to be driving customer demand rather than customer demand driving the technology...
My impression of the Cadillac owners that I have known is that they seldom ask "how much" in reference to something that they want. So for those self-imdulgent individuals it may be just the right choice.
There is a whole large segment of the population to whom style means far more than substance, and I would certainly hate for the economic situation to worsen enough to change their attitude. Not that I think it is smart or good in any way, but that if things were bad enough to change it, we would all be suffering a lot.
So the Cadillac ELR is probably one good attempt to show that an electric or hybrid vehicle does not need to include any compromise in creature comforts, which would probably advance the cause of electric vehicles somewhat. Besides that, it should be one more thing that GM has been doing right recently, which would improve the economy a bit and therefore benefit us alll, at least a little bit.
That is exactly what I thought, Jennifer--that people who typically buy a Cadillac would look for a certain type of performance from an ELR from that manufacturer. But if it's not so much different than a Volt, it seems silly to sacrifice efficiency, which sort of defeats the purpose, I would think.
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