GM Promotes the Cadillac ELR Luxury Plug-In in Silicon Valley
General Motors took its argument for the luxury environmental vehicle to the heart of the market yesterday, showing the $75,000 Cadillac ELR range-extended electric vehicle – aka a plug-in hybrid EV – at a Silicon Valley dinner hosted by the Churchill Club at the Four Seasons Hotel in East Palo Alto, Calif., near Stanford University. updated November 15
It’s all part of GM’s drive to bring cleaner and more efficient transportation to the widest possible range of drivers, said Pam Fletcher, GM executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles.
“You’re going to see a multitude of solutions,” she said. “One size doesn’t fit all.”
The Elephant in the Room
Implicit throughout the evening was the close proximity of GM’s prime competitor in the luxury EV space – Palo Alto-based Tesla.
Fletcher was chary with details but didn’t deny that GM is working on a Volt variant with longer all-battery range than the current Chevrolet car’s 38 miles.
The heavier and more powerful Cadillac ELR will have a battery range of 37 miles. “It’s not quite as aerodynamic but beauty wins,” Fletcher said. “I’m pretty darn proud of 37.”
“We’re working on a whole host of cars for the future,” she said. “Our pipeline for development is full.”
Scale is needed to reduce costs, especially battery costs but of other components and as well, and “to get scale we’ve got to get adoption.”
Hence GM’s strategy of offering the high-end Cadillac ELR to upper crust buyers, and vehicles like the MSRP $19,185 all-battery Chevy Spark EV at the lower end.
300 Million All-Electric Miles for Volt
Fletcher said that more than 300 million all-electric miles have been logged on some 58,000 Volts in service, accounting for 80% of all Volt miles. “We have most people driving all electrically all the time,” she said. And, “We have the most satisfied customers in the industry right now.”
The 435-pound T-shaped battery pack is located along the centerline of the vehicle, between the front and rear wheels, for optimal weight distribution.
Made in Hamtramck
The result is a lower overall center of gravity, Fletcher says, contributing to a driving experience she calls “the ultimate luxury feature” of the car.
The ELR has a GM series EREV – extended range electric vehicle driveline – with an electric motor drawing power from a 16.5 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack and, for range extension, a 1.4-liter gasoline engine (both the same as the Chevy Volt). Total power is 154 kilowatts or 207 horsepower.
“Instantaneous torque,” she says: “I equate it to a liquid.”
GM notes that the Cadillac ELR is manufactured at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, “the world’s only automotive manufacturing facility that mass-produces extended-range electric vehicles for global markets in 21 countries.”
One man at the dinner praised his Chevy Volt, which he said was the first America car he’d bought in 40 years.
“We’re actually getting some critical mass,” said Fletcher.
The Cadillac ELR hits showrooms in January.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels in East Palo Alto