Chevy Volt goes upscale in new electric Cadillac (Update)

Chevy Volt goes upscale in new electric Cadillac
The Cadillac ELR debuts at media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

General Motors is trying to take the Chevrolet Volt's electric technology upscale with a new Cadillac.

The company on Tuesday introduced the ELR, which has the same battery and gas-powered generator as the Chevy version.

The new car has angular lights and fenders like other new Cadillacs, but it also has a more sloped, forward-leaning aerodynamic look. It also has a plush new interior that differentiates it from the Volt and sets the tone for future Cadillacs.

Don Butler, vice president of marketing for Cadillac, said GM isn't expecting huge sales, but that's not needed to make a luxury car a success.

"With luxury it's not necessary to reach a lot of people. Luxury buyers want something that's special, that's unique, that's different from everything else on the road," he said.

Chevy Volt goes upscale in new electric Cadillac
Bob Ferguson, Vice President of Global Cadillac, left, and Mark Adams, Executive Director of Cadillac Global Design stand next to the Cadillac ELR after its unveiling during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Production starts late this year, and the car will hit showrooms early in 2014 in North America. GM promises to produce a limited number to make the car unique on the roads. The car will be exported to China and Europe:

UNDER THE HOOD: The ELR has a 5.5-foot (1.65-meter)-long, 435-pound (197-kilogram) T-shaped battery that can take the car about 35 miles (56 kilometers) on electricity. A 1.4-Liter onboard gasoline generator kicks in after the battery runs down, so owners don't have to worry about getting stranded when the juice runs out. The system has the equivalent of a gasoline engine's 207 horsepower. Just like the Volt, GM is putting an 8-year warranty on the battery. The generator runs on premium gas.

HOW IT ROLLS: The ELR will have 20-inch (50-centimeter) wheels pushed to the edge of the body, with tires designed For performance and fuel-efficient low-rolling-resistance.

BRAKES: Like the Volt, designed to use braking energy to help recharge the battery, especially in city driving.

Chevy Volt goes upscale in new electric Cadillac
Mark Adams, Executive Director of Cadillac Global Design stands next to the Cadillac ELR after its unveiling during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

FUEL ECONOMY: Not released, but the Volt gets an estimated 98 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (41.6 kilometers per liter gasoline equivalent).

SEATS: Four.

PRICE: Not released. But it will be more than the Volt, which starts at $31,645 including a $7,500 federal electric car tax credit. It also can be leased for under $300 per month.

WHERE IT'S MADE: Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant.


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Jan 15, 2013
Electric and hybrid models can be a lifesaving technology until we are able to harness hydrogen, I believe.

Jan 15, 2013
Never.

"When are these companies going to get the point and build an affordable electric car for the average person?" - packrat

Doing so just doesn't fit their traditional business model, which has been such a (cough) remarkable success over the years.

Jan 15, 2013
@packrat - You can make the argument that the prius makes effective economic sense for people who drive over 20k miles a year. A few of the soft hybrids make sense as well.

I don't know WTF GM is trying to do (With the Volt and 4 ton gas guzzler hybrid super SUVs), but if I had 80k spared to drop on a toy, I would actually buy this one. But it would be less an environmental statement than an expensive and pretty technotoy.

Jan 16, 2013
Tough to make an electric car make economic sense for the main stream average user. Reasonable estimates are the battery in this thing (and the Volt) alone has about a $10K price tag. Let's say about the cost of 4 complete engines or so. The car still has its gas engine, still has everything a conventional car does, plus the electric powertrain, plus the battery. BTW chances are high that in 10 years that expensive battery will have degraded to being 'junk' and any real benefits will have expired with it. One would hope that a $70K car (a CTS starts at $52K) would last longer with nominal performance. Like the gratuitous solar panels or toy windmills you see at the entrance of some municipal airports, this car is about image, politics.

As is usually the case with "green" tech., if it was easy or actually made sense (or cents), they'd have done it already.

Jan 16, 2013
As is usually the case with "green" tech., if it was easy or actually made sense (or cents), they'd have done it already.

Well, gas engineshave had nearly a century to be perfected in vehicles. Serious EV development is barely a decade old.
I think it's WAY too early to call this race "over".

in 10 years that expensive battery will have degraded to being 'junk'

Resale value of a 'junk' battery should be considerable since the materials can be extracted and used to make new batteries. It's the lithium in them that's expensive - not the manufacture of the battery cells themselves. And the lithium is still in there.

Jan 16, 2013
If I could afford a $40,000 dollar car the odds are I can also afford to put gas in it. When are these companies going to get the point and build an affordable electric car for the average person?

Given the state of the technology, I'd guess in another 20-30 years.

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