GM Exec: Cadillac ELR To Debut In January, Will “Use Battery Differently” Than Volt

5 years ago by Jay Cole 24

General Motor's North American President Says Chevy Volt's Sister Car, The ELR to Debut in January

Last week Mark Ruess, GM North America President, confirmed that the Cadillac ELR (sister to the Chevrolet Volt) will be build in Hamtramck, Michigan, and that production would being in late 2013.  This week, some further details on the car, and its show-dates to the public were made known.

Concept ELR Takes a Spin Earlier This Year in Los Angeles

First debuting as the concept Converj at the North American International Auto Show, or NAIAS, in 2009, the production-intent version of the renamed, 2 door,  Cadillac ELR will bow four years later at the same venue around January 14th, 2013.

Mr. Ruess noted that, while the ELR will share the same basic platform and powertrain as the Chevrolet Volt, the performance “will be quite different from a Volt.”

As has been the case since the program’s debut in 2009, GM’s North American President would not go into any specifics on the ELR, but did offer that the ELR will get bolder styling than the Volt, as well as bigger wheels and more precise steering.  And although the Volt and upcoming ELR will both use the same battery, the ELR will “use the battery differently.”

Hopefully, The Production-Intent ELR Will Stay True To The Concept

The Chevrolet Volt is expected to undergo a mid-generational powertrain upgrade to accomodate the Cadillac’s high performance demands next summer, and this year’s NAIAS should give us our first look at the anticipated new extended range gas engine for both vehicles, as well as perhaps an all new electric motor as well.

InsideEV’s has also learned that the first production 2014 Cadillac ELR from GM’s Michigan facility will be put on public display August 18th, 2013 in Pebble Beach during the Concours d’Elegance.

The Chevrolet Volt Concept Car Bowed At The 2007 NAIAS (or Detroit Auto Show if you will)

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24 responses to "GM Exec: Cadillac ELR To Debut In January, Will “Use Battery Differently” Than Volt"

  1. Anton Wahlman says:

    January 13, 2013 or 2014? I thought January 2014.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Definitely 2013…just 12 weeks away, (=

      The ELR is expected to go on sale in November 2013, as a 2014 model year car.

      1. Anton Wahlman says:

        Why would they show it so far in advance? When you have an existing product in the market (Volt 1.0), why wouldn’t showing a next-gen product so far in advance depress sales of the current product, when they’ve shown the 2.0 (aka Volt 2.0 and Cadillac ELR)?

        Wouldn’t it make more sense to show the new products in January 2014 just days or weeks before they hit the dealerships? I mean, if production starts in December 2013, showing them in January 2014 would be ideal. That’s how Steve Jobs does it — “Shipping next Friday” (which means that production started 1-2 months ago).

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Perhaps, but that is seldom how the car industry rolls (forgive the pun). Its really hard to keep secrets in this business. Like the pre-production muls that hit the road recently, a Dham worker let me into the loop fairly quickly that GM had build a pair of them.

          What might end up happening is just the car itself debuts without any further insight as to the power train (as GM has said it will be shared with the Volt). That is unless of course the reports are unfounded and the same existing 1.4L will be in the new ELR…but I very much doubt that.

  2. MrEnergyCzar says:

    I would assume the EPA range for the ELR would be like 28-30, unless the battery gets re-tweaked again to 17 KWH or more….

    MrEnergyCzar

  3. Tom says:

    I’m not sure I care for this design. Too pointy…and the two door, looks a little impractical. The 5 seat MPV5 (codename) looks much more interesting to me. Actually, wish they would make that like the HHR or similar retro.

  4. James says:

    Is this just GM just fiddle-farting around with Voltec?

    Nobody expects ELR to be a big seller – it’ll be a halo for a maker that

    really doesn’t need a halo. ELR is not a performance/image halo for Caddy

    since they could’ve built a very limited run of the Cien ( Google it ) which

    absolutely would do the trick.

    GM’s Cadillac division is no stranger to

    sporty duds – or just plain big duds like Cimarron , and don’t get me started

    on the eighties Eldorados….Those did sell, but not extraordinarily well, and the

    quality was that of a iPhone clone.

    If you’re not following my drift yet – tell me how many Allantes sold. How about the XLR?

    These vehicles just hit the market with a resounding “THUD!”…

    I’m not sure if Cadillac really has a distinct vision – if the ELR is the brainchild

    of old Caddy cronies ( old mindsets ) near retirement, or if they just somehow

    think lots of the golf course crowd are just yearning to go green for a two

    door luxo Volt in this here rotten economy….

    Like those Caddys mentioned above, the ELR just doesn’t make much

    sense. It’s gonna have steep competition from Tesla’s Model S and

    most likely not near the 0-60 or handling performance. It just looks

    like a Motor Trend, Car & Driver and Automobile magazine bitch-fest

    looking to happen. Don’t get me wrong – the concept and I’m sure

    the real McCoy are sexy looking. Being Volt underneath means it’ll

    be a solid piece, and you bet it’ll have CUE and all the electro

    goodies slathered with leather. But will it sell? Who is it’s market?

    Is this a “take that, BMW and Lexus! ” machine or just some

    committees idea of how to stretch more production out of

    Hamtramck?

    Please forgive my pessimism, but while GM could be leveraging

    Voltec with CUVs, low-cost and 5 seat versions of Volt to shootout with Prius,

    Fusion and C-Max hybrids and Energis –

    cars the mainstream can sink it’s high mileage teeth into,

    Instead they insist on building HUGE QUESTION MARKS like this.

    1. James says:

      2 door, 6 or 7 second to 60 mph luxo coupes instead of VIA V-Trux

      EREV pickup trucks that would sell in large volumes and become

      mainstream, not to mention making meeting the new stringent

      C.A.F.E. standards a breeze.

      It seems like it’s just out there in plain black-and-white for GM

      but they don’t see the forest for all the trees. Volume sellers bring

      down the costs of expensive batteries for all of us.

      GM is making me crazy!

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Agree with you James that there are more ideal platforms to expand into, but expanding the existing Delta II on the Volt is easier.

        Personally, I would really like to see an EREV truck and/or minivan/SUV. I think they make a lot more sense over converted compacts that already have an expected mpg north of 40.

        Doesn’t even have to be the 16.5 kWh/40+ miles like on the Volt. Even a plug-in Prius-like 10-12 miles would be a big plus. Drop something like a 10 kWh Voltec system into a reskined Equinox and Silverado.

        1. James says:

          Agreed. Thing is, the V-Trux shows how nicely the electronics and

          Batteries fit inside an existing fullsize truck ladder frame.

          It seems like a no-brainer, and to make GM look worse – VIA

          made their trucks into EREVs. Why not take the segment that

          sells the most ICE vehicles and the least efficient, and turn it

          around dramatically with a VIA-ish system? VIA can’t sell ’em

          for $40,000, GM can.

          1. Schmeltz says:

            When I was at the Detroit Auto Show, I had a short talk with one of the Via Motors reps on their EREV trucks. I think he figured one of their EREV Silverados at about $70000, and for lease only. Now it is probably fair to say that mass production of a truck like that by an OEM would bring that price down a bit, but that’s still eye watering high. I like Jay’s suggestion above to have a smaller range battery on a truck like that. $40-50 grand for a truck that would get maybe 50 mpge total would be a lot easier sell IMHO.

        2. James says:

          “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon… (interrupted by applause) we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” – John F. Kennedy

          – But GM chooses to “leverage” it’s Voltec advantage in the ELR…..
          as you say, Jay – because it’s easier than those other things….

  5. BlindGuy says:

    So the ELR will use its battery differently than the Volt; what a tease. I know, I know; “stay tuned”. B TW, I thought that the Opel Ampera was the sister to the Volt, not the ELR? Or is the ELR the sister and the Ampera the cousin? Or is the Holden the Step sister and the Ampera the cousin? I can’t keep these car families straight LOL.

    1. James says:

      “Using it’s battery differently” is kind of corporate speak for performance-oriented
      software programming vs. economy as priority.

      ELR should have a larger electric motor, so it goes without saying it will not
      see the same efficiency as Volt with the exact same battery pack.

  6. James says:

    I will say the ELR looks good. How many girls did I date before I

    met my keeper, who looked great but just didn’t make sense for

    that permanent partner for life?

    And ELR proponents can argue that every automaker has it’s

    share of duds. Lexus and BMW make very limited run halo

    cars with questionable image perks to their brand. I’m not sure

    BMW or Mercedes could survive with as many as Caddy has

    pumped out.

    Cadillac has to show it’s importance to GM at this after-bankruptcy time.

    At this crucial time as they try to increase their viability against

    a strong list of competitors – ELR just doesn’t seem the prudent

    product, except for stretching production at Hamtramck.

    The General could surprise us all and back up their hints of

    a year ago that 2015 will see a bevy of new product with a plug.

    1. kdawg says:

      With Pontiac gone, GM has to introduce sportier versions of Buicks & Cadillacs. Will the ELR sell in huge #’s? No. Will it be a competitor to Lexus, Fisker, and Tesla? Yes. Will it help GM learn more about applying Voltec as it goes through another iteration? Yes. Will it help reduce Voltec cost? Yes.

  7. GeorgeS says:

    “Using the battery differently”

    Perhaps as I speculated in this paper called “Voltec power train improvements for ELR” the ELR will provide an expanded battery buffer in super sport mode”. (see figure 6.)

    http://gm-volt.com/2012/10/11/voltec-power-train-improvements-for-the-new-cadillac-elr/

  8. kdawg says:

    So if they are going to start selling them in November, we should know the pricing soon.

    1. Koz says:

      Sales in November 2013. Expect pricing just before.

  9. Koz says:

    Great article Jay. Some exciting new, at least new to me, tidbits of info. I wonder if the ELR’s different battery use translate to all EVT components, including the engine. Specifically, I wonder if they will have a sport mode combining the power sources.

  10. Mileater says:

    You guys sure have an astronomically higher expectation from GM than any other brand. GM is head and shoulders above the rest with the Volt, but EV technology is not easy and will take time to expand to pickup trucks and other type of vehicles.
    I am very happy to see the ELR being produced soon. Gas cars cannot compare. Anyone who compares any gas car to an electric car, clearly has never driven a Volt.
    It also takes more than just one test drive to appreciate. It will take a few days to get accustomed to the superior ride. When I go back and drive a gas car, it feels like a piece of outdated junk.

    1. Shel says:

      Guess I’m in the minority, but I think the ELR looks great!

      We already own a Volt, which my wife uses. We’re absolutely thrilled with the Volt’s ride, with the range we get on a full charge, which generally exceeds 38 miles, with just about everything about the Volt.

      I’d have to compare the ELR to what else is available, but having now owned an electric range extended vehicle, I can tell you that it’d be hard for me to consider going back to an ICE vehicle!

      Release this for a somewhat reasonable price, provide improved performance, and I’d seriously consider it!

      GM wants to move Cadillac’s rep up, and an elegant, performance Caddy that’s electric will certainly do that!

  11. Jason says:

    I have to agree with Shel here. Having driven a e-assist car from BMW that was very nice, the Active Hybrid 3, I’d say Caddy is on the right track. Leverage the Volt platform into something that is a little higher performance/upscale in a two door. As long as they can keep the weight below 3950 lbs they should have no problem with this being another winner.

  12. Riko says:

    It is ashame they will not give the Cadillac ELR at least 22Kwhr of lithium ion battery instead of the same 16 Kwhr found in the Volt. To be a competitor with the Tesla Model S, the ELR would need at least 50 miles of all electric mode range and a 0-60 time of under seven seconds. JMHO.