Cadillac CT6 PHEV Is A Volt On Steroids

FEB 22 2016 BY MARK KANE 46

Cadillac CT6 PHEV

Cadillac CT6 PHEV

Green Car Congress recently released a very detailed description of upcoming Cadillac CT6 PHEV and its operation, which will enter U.S. market this year right from China.

The article is partly entitled Chevrolet “Volt on steroids” as CT6 PHEV will offer more fun-to-drive performances from rear-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

Acceleration 0-62 mph (100 km/h) takes just 5.6 secondsvery fast for a vehicle in this size class, and also as compared to the 8.4 second time to 60 mph for second-gen Volt.

Similar in size 18.4 kWh battery pack will provide more than 60 km (37 miles) of pure electric range, but as you can see on the right – architecture is completely different. Batteries sit in the back along with the charging port; the CT6 PHEV definitely isn’t sharing from the Volt as much as Cadillac ELR did.

Cadillac CT6 18.4 KWh Battery Trunk Protrusion

Cadillac CT6 18.4 KWh Battery Trunk Protrusion

There is also larger 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder direct-injected gasoline engine and two electric motors (one induction and one permanent magnet motor). Drivetrain is extraordinary sophisticated with one more third planetary gearset and two more clutches:

“The new electrically variable rear wheel drive transmission comprises 2 electric motors, 3 planetary gears (two simple, one double-pinion) and 5 clutches that deliver four continuously variable transmission modes with 3 fixed gears.”

Just look at the operating modes chart:

Cadillac CT6 PHEV operating modes

Cadillac CT6 PHEV operating modes

Cadillac CT6 Interior (Premium)

Cadillac CT6 Interior (Premium)

Quick specs:

  • 335 kW (449 hp) combined system power – 198 kW (266 hp) 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder direct-injected gasoline engine with a two-motor, 120 kW hybrid transmission.
  • 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.6 seconds
  • more than 60 km (37 miles) of all-electric range on 18.4 kWh lithium-ion battery
  • all-electric top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph)
  • combined fuel consumption of less than 2.0 L/100 km (117.7 mpg US)

As the Cadillac Ct6 plug-in is a rare “imported from China” product, we expect to see a hefty price premium on this model when it hits US shores late this year.

The standard CT6 starts from $53,495, but the luxury sedan can quickly set one back $68,565 for the Premium Luxury edition, and a full $88,460 for the Platinum version with all the bells and whistles.  Hazarding a guess, we imagine the base plug-in version will land somewhere between the Premium Luxury and Platinum Version – around $79,000 perhaps.

Cadillac CT6 PHEV

Cadillac CT6 PHEV

Cadillac CT6 PHEV battery

Cadillac CT6 PHEV battery

Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Powerplants

Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Powerplants

A Look At The 18.4 kWh Battery Housed Behind Rear Seats

A Look At The 18.4 kWh Battery Housed Behind Rear Seats

Cadillac CT6 Rear Seating - "Volt On Steroids" Here Too

Cadillac CT6 Rear Seating – “Volt On Steroids” Here Too

source: Green Car Congress

Categories: Cadillac, Chevrolet

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46 Comments on "Cadillac CT6 PHEV Is A Volt On Steroids"

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This is what the ELR should have been. What concerns me is that the already-complex Volt drivetrain has become even more complex (3 clutch system –> 5 clutch system).

It also appears that the “EREV” mode is only a tiny portion of the operating modes diagram. This implies they are focusing more on performance than fuel economy (which, for Cadillac, seems appropriate).

I hope the CT6 does a lot better than the ELR.

Two thoughts occurred to me on reading and perusing the diagram:

1) Kluge.
2) Good luck getting that thing fixed by your local mechanic.

But then . . I thought the same thing about the Prius when it hit the streets in largish numbers in ’04.
Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Aaron, it couldn’t do much worse!!
The thing I see is QC which has never been good on a Chinese built car, could be a large problem here.

Aaron said:
“It also appears that the “EREV” mode is only a tiny portion of the operating modes diagram.”

That chart is misleading and I can see why one would jump to your conclusion.

The chart is showing the modes in “extended range” mode. EV mode is a whole different story. Make no mistake this car will be able to operate as a pure electric no matter what speed or throttle postion you select.

It will still be an EREV.

It seems to specifically say that maximum EV-only speed is 78 MPH for the CT6 PHEV.

This differs from how the Volt/ELR behave.

And it will only have 160 hp in EV mode to push around those 4,400 lbs. which will not be Volt-like much less “Volt on steroids”.

So,$80K wasn’t enough for an ELR,it should have been priced at $100K?
Silly,the flaws in the 2014 ELR were price related not product related. The 2016 ELR corrected both pricing and minor product improvements.
It is a great car but most people don’t realize this because they have never driven a 2016 and simply rely only on what they have read.

“Volt on steroids”

Well not really. The max output in EV mode for the Volt is 149 hp to the CT6 PHEV’s 160 hp.

And seeing that the CT6 has the same battery pack size/weight but being a bigger and heavier car I doubt it will be even as quick as the current Volt is in EV mode.

11 hp in a much bigget and heavier car will not make the CT6 a “Volt on steroids”.

Ironically the analogy of steroids is kind of appropriate in a different way though since the CT6 will need to “juice up” on gas to get that quicker time.

The first Volt and gas-engined CT6 are both ~3,800lbs. From a V6 CT6, you’d be shinking the engine to a 2.0 and adding a ~430lb Volt battery.

Over 4,000lbs, but not by a heck of a lot.

.. and I think we’d be remiss not to recognize the benefits of taking weight out of the engine bay, and putting it just ahead of the rear axle.

So it may come in at about 500 lbs. more than the gen 2 Volt but with only 11 hp more in EV mode.

Apparently it weighs 4,400 lbs.

So almost 1,000 lbs. heavier than a gen 2 volt with 11 more hp in EV mode. 0-60 in 12 seconds.

If its just 4000 more than the ERL when it was first announced, I’ll laugh my ass off. It might as well be 4 quadrillion.

Wonder how high the cg is going to be and the F/R distribution? Even the 330e has a 49/50 F/R weight distribution and over 30 mpg on gas. What is the fuel economy of the Cadillac on gas?

A nice car to 0wn while Under warrantee.
“ALL* THOSE PARTS WILL WEAR & BREAK” sooner than later..Extremely Complicated, There is toooo much going on here Solely to achieve forward motion. 0ne powertrain should be enough for one vehicle …Too Expensive a Repair Proposition Longer Term, For Me.

Makes even the Bolt look so simple. I think I’ll stick to the Leaf, even if it’s slow.

Complexity has been my complaint about hybrids from day one. Fortunately not *all* complexity results in more maintenance. Several 100k+ Prius-driving friends convinced me to try the 2013 Volt. Due to brake regeneration, rare use of gasoline/engine, in the 3 years / 28k miles of my lease I never had to clean wheel dust, brakes were as good as new, one single oil change was barely needed, and I averaged > 100 mpg (only that low because of quite a few 300+ mile trips). Never had such a low maintenance car in my life. I hope my 2016 Volt is half as good (so far it seems almost twice as good)!

$79K? It still loses to the Model S 70D, or a low mileage CPO P85+… And top speed of 78 mph? While I understand EV’s aren’t for racing, I know some open stretches of highway out in the desert I enjoy going 80 at times. Heck, my Nissan Leaf goes 94…

“all-electric” top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph)

If you are going 80 or better on freeway best to put in hold mode and use electric for when in city streets

JackDFW said:

“‘all-electric’ top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph)”

That appears to confirm the impression I got when skimming the ad copy and specs provided by Cadillac: That unlike the Volt, this car won’t perform equally well when using only the EV powertrain.

However, it could be not quite as good yet still be far closer to a true switch-hitter than, say, a plug-in Prius or a Ford C-Max.

The significant thing to note is that this same power train could easily be transplanted into a pick up truck.

I’d like an EREV pick up.

Meh. Should have done it in an SUV. The mixed materials body, however, is completely awesome. Far ahead of what any other car maker has done with a high volume production vehicle (the i3 and i8 are designed as low volume vehicles).

Hilarious that people think this design will be a problem. The Volt with a complex design is more reliable than average. The Model S with a simpler design is less reliable than average. Many parts to a car and any one of them car fail.

+1 On that… As stated above, never had any car close to as low maintenance as my 2013 Volt (one dealer visit to change oil in 3 years/28k miles and could easily have gone without the oil change to 40k). My new 2016 Volt is getting me nearly twice as many pure electric miles due to my drive cycles and it’s 40% greater range and I expect to hit 3000 miles before visiting a gas station 🙂

I hate complexity and truly don’t love the Volt when out of battery power (much like I dislike every other hybrid I’ve driven), but purchasing and charging a 200+ mile battery is just not sensible (cost, weight,…) yet and I’d have a range anxiety ulcer with any car that had < 100 mile range so this complexity seems warranted for now.


It’s a nice engineering effort but the overall design strikes me as an old folks road barge. It would take a real Cadillac fan to buy this thing over a Tesla Model S.

I find this a slap in the face for the US.

Tax payers bailed out GM and GM ships the jobs and manufacturing of this car to China all to “Import” it back here in the US.



I can’t believe someone driving a car made in Japan has a problem with one made in China.

The big market for the CT6 Hybrid will be China. The ICE CT6’s are made in America.

They will export a limited number for the US, and my guess is they will be a hard sell.

1. The numbers don’t add up, 198 kw and 120 kw don’t add up to 335 kw. 2. The Green Car Congress article had a lever diagram illustration of the new 3 planetary gear set, 5 clutch layout. What struck me was by simply opening one of the added clutches, the operation of the transmission is exactly the same as the Volt. That means the all electric performance will be 120 kw, far less than the 335 kw claimed in the hybrid mode. Never the less, pretty impressive for moving around a 4400 pound vehicle. Adding the additional PG set and two clutches allows 3 fixed gear outputs instead of one in the Volt and 4 eCVT modes instead of 2 in the Volt. By the way, this transmission, as well as the one used in the Volt is no more complex and probably simpler than the standard automatic transmission. 3. The RWD layout and the ability to propel such a heavy vehicle means Voltec technology can be expanded to include large sedans and trucks 4. The battery packaging is ingenious, but not without problems. Trunk space is reduced and the ability to pass thru large objects by folding down… Read more »

198KW and 120KW shouldn’t add to 335KW.

The first two numbers are PEAK HP ratings. The Peak EV cannot be hit with the gas engine at Peak HP. So you can’t just simply add them.

Based on previous GM statements about the CT6 hybrid, I suspect the correct answer is that the article should say 335 HP rather than 335 kW. Green Car Congress, the underlying source of this report, probably calculated the 449 HP themselves based on the incorrect “335 kW”.

The corrected 335 HP (250 kW) is a total system output number so it includes the gas engine running and being helped out by one of the electric motors being supplied by the battery pack. So, 198 kW engine power plus 60 kW from one electric motor is 258 kW which close to 250 kW. There can be various reasons why the total system output might be a little less than simply adding the engine and electric motor power together.

The two electric motors can likely be used additively together for 120 kW of electric power output but only in EV driving with the gas engine off and clutch brake C5 engaged to prevent the gas engine from spinning.

This vehicle is designed for the Chinese market so it makes sense to build it in China. Also, I believe this new transmission is based off the “4-Mode” architecture which has been in development since like 2006. You can almost bet that this performance version will find its way into heavy duty vehicle (trucks/suvs)very shortly.

Not at all remarkable. Tesla 70… not even D outpaces it in every way. Caddy should just give up on the design game. Beg Tesla to sell it the chassis of a Model S and build their car on top of it. Then it wouldn’t simply be a lame “Next Tesla Killer” but rather something that actually meets a Tesla in function and maybe exceeds it in glitz and some nice tech… but no… instead they offer a packaging disaster… no trunk space… center of gravity is too high… might as well stick the battery on the roof… the handling will not be good. Very tail heavy… in an accident the back seat passengers will suffer from a large weight and bulk immediately behind their seats.

Tremendously bad design… agree with the comments about the complexity of the tech… where’s the trunk?… Where’s the beef? Silly waste of time.

Yeah, this is what happens when you wedge an EV drivetrain into a car designed to be a gasmobile. At best, it’s a compromise.

That battery placement is simply awful. As far as center of gravity (and resistance to rollover) goes, the battery pack placement is probably the worst I’ve ever seen except in a conversion car.

It’s basically a roomier ELR but with a 0-60 EV mode time of 12 seconds instead of the mid 7’s for the ELR. Still starts at a similar MSRP as a Tesla. I guess they didn’t learn.

Every car is a joke compared to the Model S

While I won’t try to defend all the design or manufacturing decisions of this Cadillac any more than the ELR, I’d just like to state that the Model S is a joke compared to almost every other car when it comes to long road trips or driving in very cold weather. Batteries are still way too expensive, heavy, slow to charge (lots of improvements Tesla is working on but none of it will support massive increase in pure electric cars being driven long distances), and inefficient in cold conditions. The Model S is a great car for a niche… Lots of work needed to make it a great car for the masses.

I was initially hopeful for the PHEV ct6, but now that it is made in China and is displacing American Jobs, along with what seems to be an incredibly complicated drive train for not much of an improvement over the tried and true Volt – I for one won’t be buying one.

Does JoHann really think he’s going to recoop all the engineering cost of this vehicle from Chinese EV sales? Well, maybe, but I’d think they’d recoil from excessive complication there as well.

My main concern is not a split-second better performance, it is in a larger All Electric Range. While I applaud GM finally coming out with some kind of larger vehicle which runs on electricity, this seems an overcomplication.

I keep asking why not take the already designed Hybrid Escallade from several years ago, put a big battery in it and a charging jack on the side? Almost no reengineering would then be needed and they’d have the LARGE CAR SUV EV market to themselves. (I believe the X is more midsized, and is not as large as a Chevy Suburban or Tahoe).

GM sells more car in China than anywhere else in the world. Seems to make sense that they make cars there as well as the US.
Simple business concept.

GM sells more cars in China than anywhere else in the world. Seems to make sense that they make cars there as well as the US.
Simple business concept.

I think this CT6 is, like the Spark EV and ELR, a retail “test vehicle” that the will sell in limited numbers to collect technical data on that drive train and new power electronics units. That data will be used for future generations of more mass-market RWD Voltec drivetrains in their PU’s nd SUV’s. Profit is not the goal. Real-world experience is. Note also this IS the Gen2 Volt battery pack reconfigured as a cube instead of a tee.

Once again, Cadillac mis-prices a car. Good luck with it!

Seems like an overly complex way to make sure you burn gasoline, for not much performance or efficiency…

Lack of a skateboard for the battery pack limits size and optimal placement. The tall battery in the trunk eats up cargo room, prevents you from having split bench seating for carrying longer items, and the height / weight probably does not help handling in turns.

Reminds me of the Ford Focus EV, which is a normal ICE Vehicle with EV bits shoved into it. Ungh. I agree with Koenigsegg

I’m very disappointed that this is being put together in China.

I don’t think Cadillac cares about what most of you says about the CT6PHEV.

It already made its projection that many of you won’t be buying it so it is designed to sell mainly in China. It is only importing some of them back to the US for few that might want it.

It seems that Cadillac is already betting that Chinese want this car more than American.