New & Used Cadillac ELR: In Depth
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The Cadillac ELR is an all electric vehicle compact luxury coupe that first came out as a 2014 year model.
The ELR was a new and perhaps unexpected type of vehicle from GM's luxury brand, but it shows the company's determination to expand its lineup of plug-in electric cars with range extenders beyond the more mass-market Chevrolet Volt. In some respects, the high end might have been the more logical launch point for the Voltec powertrain technology used by both cars, but Cadillac's buyers may not have had the appetite in late 2010 for a plug-in car.
Now, with the Tesla Model S selling more than 10,000 units a year in the U.S. and plug-ins coming from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and other high-end brands, Cadillac's little coupe gives it a stake in the game--but in a dedicated car, not a converted gasoline model.
The ELR coupe retains the stylish, aggressive wedge lines of the Converj concept car that spawned it way back in 2009. The production version has all the latest Cadillac interior refinements, including leather upholstery, elegant high-end materials, and the CUE touchscreen system for infotainment. The ELR’s interior is essentially that of a rakish mid-size coupe; there are two backseat positions, in small individual buckets, but full-size adults will have trouble getting in, and feeling comfortable with the very limited amount of headroom and legroom.
But while it may share running gear--including a small 1.4-liter engine as a range extender, possibly the smallest engine ever used in any Cadillac--the ELR promises entirely different driving characteristics to its Chevy Volt sibling. It will be, GM says, smoother, quieter, and more powerful, perhaps drawing on more of the 16.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack than the Volt does.
Just as in the Volt, you won’t need to worry about driving range in the ELR; you’ll get about 35 miles of driving on electric power alone before the gasoline engine fires up seamlessly to provide range-extending power for the motor system (as well as traction-motor support at higher speeds). The electric motor system delivers a bit more: 207 hp (154 kW), with 295 foot-pounds of instant torque, and 0-60 times are expected to be eight seconds, or possibly even a bit better than that.
While GM hasn’t released any information about energy consumption of MPGe figures for the ELR, it’s said that the ELR’s total range will exceed 300 miles; its electric-only range will be about 35 miles, or slightly shorter than that of the Volt—due to the ELR’s more aggressive calibration, plus its heavier (around 200 pounds more) curb weight. Charging times will be the same as the Volt, with a complete recharge in 4.5 hours on 240-volt power.
Cadillac will release final performance specs, including powertrain output and rated electric range, closer to the time it goes on sale late this year or early in 2014. The other unknown is price, which may determine what cars the ELR competes against. There are no other plug-in luxury coupes on the horizon, at least in the short term, so Cadillac's most unlikely car may have the field to itself. We look forward to learning exactly how it performs.
For more information, including impressions from an early press event, see our 2014 Cadillac ELR preview.