Cadillac’s new ELR electrified luxury coupe is built around the same basic powertrain as the popular Chevy Volt, but is designed to deliver a much more exciting driving experience. This week, Cadillac released some details of ELR’s advanced suspension and steering systems.
“ELR’s methodical use of advanced suspension and steering technologies front and rear has resulted in the quiet cabin, agile handling and superior ride that Cadillac customers have come to expect,” said Chris Thomason, ELR vehicle chief engineer. “ELR will redefine for many people what the electric car driving experience is all about. Not only does it make smart use of energy, it makes energy-efficient driving fun and luxurious.”
ELR offers four driver-selectable modes: Sport, Tour, Hold and Mountain. In Sport mode, the accelerator pedal provides “quicker torque application and more sensitive feedback through altered suspension and steering settings,” and the steering gear provides “increased on-center sharpness and steering sensitivity for dynamic steering.” The more “relaxed” Tour mode allows precise control with less driver steering effort.
With 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of instantly available torque, engineers chose a HiPer Strut front suspension to eliminate torque steer and increase front axle grip while cornering. The HiPer Strut is also designed to reduce unwanted steering system disturbances over rough roads and bumps for an overall smoother ride.
ELR’s rear suspension uses a Watt’s link design to center the car’s rear axle during turns. When cornering, the Watt’s link provides greater lateral stiffness for more positive vehicle response to steering inputs. On a straightaway, the Watt’s link allows the suspension to travel up and down freely to make the ride more comfortable.
ELR’s electric power steering system is designed to provide excellent feedback while saving fuel. The rack-mounted, dual-pinion system – one for steering and one for power assist – consumes energy only when the vehicle is actively steered. A combined electric motor and sensing unit monitors steering angle and delivers appropriate assist to the steering gear at all times, correcting for crowned road surfaces and cross-winds.
ELR’s continuous damping control monitors sensors throughout the vehicle, and adjusts damping for each wheel every two milliseconds to maintain optimal vehicle ride control. When driving on smooth roads, the dampers are automatically adjusted to the softest setting to provide increased isolation and ride comfort.
The Cadillac ELR is scheduled to go in sale in early 2014.