Cadillac Obsessively Benchmarking Tesla For Upcoming Electric SUV

JAN 17 2019 BY VANJA KLJAIC 53

General Motors is putting Cadillac as its front runner in the EV race

Clearly, when GM decided to put Cadillac at the forefront of the EV race, it was a smart move. After all, this legendary brand is synonymous with the American dream and the luxury it brings to the table. And judging by the images revealed last week, their entry into the EV world is going to be a big one.

Featuring stylish looks and a rather imposing figure, Cadillac’s first EV will utilize GM’s “BEV3” next-generation electric vehicle platform. The platform is designed to allow flexibility for use in many different vehicle types. In turn, this will allow the carmaker to utilize it in front, rear wheel drive and all-wheel-drive models. Furthermore, unlike some other carmakers that are developing a platform that will be able to utilize both ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) and fully electric powertrains, the GM platform is designed from the ground up to accommodate electric vehicles only.

However, the electrification path that will be used by GM, where Cadillac will be their front runner in the electric vehicle race, is being heavily compared to Tesla. And somewhat surprisingly, Cadillac doesn’t shy away from that fact at all. While Cadillac once ruled the world of comfy, luxurious cruisers that were adored by everyone from businessmen, mobsters, movie stars and presidents, right now, it’s kinda behind everyone in the EV game. And taking notes from Tesla – if they produce a viable Tesla killer – is nothing to be ashamed of.

While some automotive execs would never admit something like that, we applaud the Cadillac president President Steve Carlisle for coming out with that publicly. This was revealed in an interview that Carlisle did for CNBC, where he said that they are doing it “obsessively”. Furthermore, Cadillac’s president also added some interesting tidbits about the way he and others gauge Tesla’s success, and why he isn’t convinced on it just yet.

“I think they have done a lot to popularize electric vehicles and to get into the minds of consumers. I think that has been very valuable. They’ve pushed the envelope in terms of that process and that made everybody a little sharper and on their game. I think we have to wait a while to rate the whole story because we don’t know what happens when EVs really start to scale from a distribution and customer experience perspective and from a profitability perspective. I think we have to wait a little while before we rate the whole story.”

In true fairness, it’s hard to bash on any manufacturer looking at Tesla when developing their own EV programs. After all, it’s hard to argue against Tesla’s success in various fields of electric vehicle production, ranging from batteries, electric motors to the autonomous driving software used. However, we can all (at least somewhat) disagree with the latter statement, as Tesla is clearly making strides in the automotive world and soon enough, will have to be valued as an equal to legacy car makers like GM. Overall, it’s interesting to see various legacy carmakers, shedding away their old skin and joining in on the electric vehicle fun. After all, it is us, the consumers, that will benefit the most out of these battles.

You can watch the complete interview above.

Source: Electrek

Categories: Cadillac, Tesla, Videos

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53 Comments on "Cadillac Obsessively Benchmarking Tesla For Upcoming Electric SUV"

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I don’t know why everything has to be described as a Tesla-killer. For example in European luxury sedans, the Mercedes C class, BMW 3 series, Audi A3/A4 all compete roughly evenly, none has to be a killer to sell decently.

Since Tesla is leading the EV market, it shouldn’t be shocking that they will be the yardstick for comparison.

Yeah, it’s like describing Pepsi or RC Cola as a “Coca-Cola killer”. Offering competition, even strong competition, is a very long way from actually killing a product line. If there is any term that’s over-used in news coverage of the EV market, it’s “Tesla killer”. I’d be happy to never, ever see the term again, unless some EV maker actually does manage to drive Tesla out of the market… which is extremely unlikely to happen anytime soon!

Let’s see if Cadillac will be the Pepsi of EV makers… or merely the Shasta. 😉

I think the goal is to be the Cadillac of cars once again.

GM has a big leg up on Tesla as far as manufacturing and customer service. Yeah, some dealers are not on board and they will fail. The ones like Sewell, Classic, and Frank Kent (all in DFW) are embracing everything EV.

FK never ever tried to steer me away from ELR or CT6 PHEV. They have very visible charging infrastructure and are a Fiskar dealer as well. I always get a high-end loaner.

GF, verticals, mobile techs and a private SC network may seem like advantages early on, but, they all are expensive. GM knows how to get value from their suppliers. Tesla is a baby in some of these areas.

From article: “Cadillac Obsessively Benchmarking Tesla For Upcoming Electric SUV”
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GM Cadillac needs start with benchmarking the Tesla Supercharger network and asking themselves how does that compare to what Cadillac’s EV customers will experience.

And by benchmarking I mean real-world getting in an EV and taking several long distance trips; perhaps a Bolt then same trip in a Model S. Very educational and worthwhile exercise that I bet few if any GM execs have done.

Can’t stress enough importance of a robust convenient and reliable fast charge network for those occasional long distance trips… especially true for luxury car segment.

…. Electrify America *will not* have that base adequately covered in one, two, or three years.

I wonder what the benchmark of their OTA updates will be.

OTA updates are a little blown out of proportion with Tesla since they use it to implement features that normally would have been there from the start with other brands.

Pure anti-Tesla FUD by a long-time hater.

That’s like claiming microprocessors in car engines are “a little blown out of proportion” since service shops sometimes use them to diagnose engine problems.

But hey, good job of parroting anti-Tesla FÜD there. 🙄

So most car manufacturers have GPS enabled Homelink?
Most have PIN protected Speed limiters?
App controllable seat heaters?

Both enabled on my 2015 by OTA. (there are a lot more but those I believe are Tesla exclusives that came to my mind first).

…and probably not ever.

Depends on whether they are willing to go beyond the investment mandated by the settlement, I’d say…

Well, GM had a team “studying” Tesla since early 2012s… So, maybe it finally learned few “good pointers” from Tesla.

lol… true.

Studying is one thing. learning something from that study, and then implementing it is quite another.
Clearly GM has not accomplished the later two in any meaningful way.
The Bolt, their pure ev, is just limping along selling fewer models each month.
The last Volt rolls of the line this March.
The weight of results outweighs the weight of announcements, plans, and possibilities.

Yet Tesla still isn’t able to build a $35k vehicle. Imagine what GM could have done if they would have targeted at $50k+ vehicle? GM basically designed at $30k vehicle and Tesla designed at $45k vehicle. Apples and oranges comparison.

Did GM design a $30K vehicle? Can someone show me the profit they are making on each Bolt? I am not sure I believe it exists, since they seem to be selling the smallest amount possible and marketing it not at all, despite it winning huge awards.

Tesla is actually making a profit on the Model 3. GM pretty obviously isn’t making much profit on the Bolt EV; not enough of a profit to want to sell more than a token number beyond what they need to earn ZEV credits.

Actually, it’s pretty silly to compare the Model 3 to the Bolt EV. They aren’t in the same price segment. Everybody wants to focus on the still-unobtainable $35k price that Tesla touts for an entry-level Model 3, and everybody ignores the fact that Tesla aimed for the Model 3 to compete with the BMW 3-Series and the Audi A4.

Would you describe either the 3-Series or the A4 as $35k cars? I’m guessing not.

GM designed a nearly 40k vehicle that performs like a 25k vehicle. Tesla designed a 45k vehicle that performs at that price or better. Tesla is delivering value for dollar, GM is not. Until GM can flip that scenario they will not have the success Tesla has had. And I actually believe Tesla will produce a 35k vehicle. When will we see a vehicle from GM that has that sort of price/performance/utility factor.

Bolt is about $21K to $23K in SoCal. When will we see $35K Tesla? If you include destination, never.

We’ll see the $35K Model 3 by the end of the second quarter 2019, would be my best guess.

Not all of us live in Cali, prices on Bolts around here (Colorado), are between ~$35-44K. (Low and high from cars.com for the Denver area).

Why would I buy a premium Bolt at 44k when it’s not much to stretch to get a Model 3 at that price.

“Why would I buy a premium Bolt at 44k when it’s not much to stretch to get a Model 3 at that price.”

More importantly, why would anybody buy a Bolt at $44k versus all of the other cars available at that price range.

Yup. It’s not like it’s a deep secret about heavily discounted Bolts. Simple google search will show Bolt way under $40K, some even under $30K, before subsidy.

Nobody buys Bolt for $44K so that comparison is moot. Bolt premium is going for about $38K. Even if you buy in MD or CA and have it shipped (like you’d do with sight unseen Tesla purchase), it’s only $39K (or $33K for base). With subsidies, Bolt is $32K/$25K minus whatever CO offers.

You can imagine $35K Tesla 3, but it’ll likely not include destination, which will make it $36K, not $35K. In other words, there will probably never be Tesla 3 for $35K.

And I doubt you’d want $36K Tesla 3 even if available; it’ll be really basic, unfitting for $35K car (expired subsidies will mean full $36K and no negotiation).

Dealer discounts don’t count. MSRP to MSRP is the only fair, equitable comparison.

Can you show me a $25K car that can beat the Bolt in 0-60mph, sit 4 adults comfortable and get that amazing efficiency?

How about a $75K budget? They built the ELR…Supposedly the Buick “Bolt”/Encore/Enspire will come out and only be $3Kish more than the Bolt…

That Buick is seriously MIA, and can now be presumed dead. I would put money on not seeing any other vehicle being built on the Bolt platform for NA.

Those cars were designed before the team of studying was commissioned.

Um, Cadillac did build a 50k+ plug in and even though it is a stunningly beautiful vehicle it didn’t sell and was canceled after approximately 2000 total sales so I guess that answers your own question.

And that guy in charge is no longer there. Maybe that is the result from studying by removing the guy who is anti-EV. Well, that guy should never been hired to start with.

GM tried making a $37,000 EV when the profitability sweet-spot for BEVs was around $60,000 or so. Now that the market is getting ripe for profitable mass-market EVs, and Tesla goes for the $35,000 price point (and VW soon for the $25,000 one), GM is going for the $60,000 niche… They are doing everything backwards.

“Yet Tesla still isn’t able to build a $35k vehicle. Imagine what GM could have done if they would have targeted at $50k+ vehicle? GM basically designed at $30k vehicle and Tesla designed at $45k vehicle. Apples and oranges comparison.”

Tesla isn’t yet selling a $35k vehicle because selling one profitably is not yet possible. Instead Tesla is selling as many vehicles as they can make installing their premium EV drivetrains in premium class vehicles that can sustain their costs. B segment hatches don’t sell in the U.S. market with any drivetrain much less carrying the added cost of a premium EV drivetrain. Yes, imagine what GM could have done had they targeted the premium market with the premium EV drivetrain they had.

Doubt it, results to date don’t seem to point that direction.

Most Cadillac buyers are not fully aware of evs. In fact most of them aren’t fully aware.

Most EV buyers are looking for the best specs/features and the best price. If someone creates something better than Tesla they might just go there.

That’s a big if.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that your snark is actually true. Then it’s good that Cadillac is going to change that situation very soon.

Average age 59.5.

Since they discontinued ATS, so the average age has been increased to 68 from 60ish.

Cadillac= a stodgy old brand in need of going thru death and resurrection ,Oh but I thought they already went thru that in 2008-09.

Well, we can always hope that this time it’s true… yet another triumph of hope over experience, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde. 😉

Good to see some refreshing honesty from a legacy auto maker about the impact Tesla is having on the market!

And sad to see yet another InsideEVs article using the term “Tesla killer” when the spokesman or spokesmen didn’t. 🙁

That stirs the pot and increase click and comment counts

By the time they get to market they will have a car benchmarked to an old Tesla. Tesla will have moved on and will out innovate the legacy makers.

Pure EV’s are still overpriced. Not going to give the greedy ones my money!

Cadillac should talk to ELR owners before finalizing their EV car. Big mistake to design in vacume. take a look at the latest CT6 plug-in numbers. it would have been a lot higher if they just called me before design. i have them all from BMW i8, ELR to porsche cayan plugin. it seems that they are out of touch with the EV world.

Talking to ELR owners is too small of a sample and are self-selected old school Cadillac buyers. I are one of these old codgers. My first Caddy was a ‘72 El Dorado ragtop 500cid.

They need to talk to Leaf, Model 3,X,S, Bolt and iPace owners. Plus high-end SUV owners. XT6 is not it. XT4 is not as equipped as the competition. XT5 is junk. I always get an XT5 as a loaner. I would never buy one.

This SUV EV needs to out-perform their CTS-V V-8 or they are doomed.

Maybe Cadillac will go bankrupt!

I am very encouraged that they are making changes to enable the needed investments for this transition. That doing so involves making tough decisions which hurt some people today is not surprising, though very unfortunate. But they either do that themselves by choice now and have a chance of making it though this changeover or they kick the can down the road and still have to do it later when the whole firm is then teetering towards insolvency.

I wish Cadillac well but I think they have a tough road ahead. They could try to out-Tesla Tesla by offering a more radical UI and style. Or, they could go the Audi and Jaguar route and attempt to offer a more traditional offering. Since the Escalade is selling pretty well I could see a large, spacious, soft riding and quiet BEV CUV doing well if it is priced well under the X, Jaguar and Audi offerings. Certainly Tesla can be beat on interior noise (especially road noise) and some people want softer riding cars than Tesla offers. Since it will be a while before the CCS infrastructure permits road trips outside of the US west coast it probably makes sense for them to market it as an in town car and offer just enough range to make that feasible. This would let them keep the initial price down. Later when the CCS infrastructure is there and batteries get cheap they could offer a long range version. Given how many multi-car households there are in the US I think the replace 1 ICE vehicle with a BEV market is pretty huge.

someone would want a cadillac el camino

This is how the automotive industry works. Everybody benchmarks each other.