GM unveiled what you might call “the Cadillac of plug-in vehicles” at this week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The 2014 ELR luxury coupe is a plug-in hybrid, or an Extended Range Electric Vehicle, as GM prefers to call it. Developed from the Converj Concept, first shown in Detroit in 2009, the ELR is based on GM’s Delta II platform and Voltec electric propulsion system, both shared by the Chevy Volt.
“ELR is an unprecedented combination of luxury, advanced engineering and progressive design in a coupe that is both sporty and environmentally friendly,” said Bob Ferguson, Cadillac Global VP. “An additional aspect of ELR’s appeal will be exclusivity. It will be a specialized offering produced in limited numbers.”
The ELR’s 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is located along the centerline of the vehicle, and powers an electric drive unit capable of 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque. All-electric range is estimated at about 35 miles (56 km). Like the Volt, the ELR’s wheels are driven by the electric motor at all times. A range-extending 1.4 L, 207 hp gas engine kicks in when needed.
Like most PHEVs, the ELR has several driver-selectable modes, including Regen on Demand, which allows the driver to manually turn on energy regeneration using steering-wheel paddles.
Charging can be done with a 120 V electrical outlet or a dedicated 240 V charging station, which delivers a full charge in about 4.5 hours. Drivers can schedule and manage charging via a smartphone app.
As you’d expect of a Caddy, the ELR is packed with luxury features: LED lights, twenty-inch wheels, leather seats and (if we’re reading this right) a power-assisted cup holder. High-tech goodies include an eight-inch configurable color touch screen, Cadillac CUE, a voice-recognition-enabled navigation and control system, and Continuous Damping Control, which adjusts damping every two milliseconds for optimal ride. Safety features include Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning. A driver-activated feature that sounds a noise to alert pedestrians was developed in conjunction with the American Federation of the Blind.
The Cadillac ELR will be manufactured at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. Production is scheduled to begin by late 2013, with North American sales starting in early 2014.