Cadillac's Uwe Ellinghaus
In Dubai, for Cadillac's first ever world debut outside of the U.S. (Cadillac XT5 CUV), Cadillac chief marketing officer Uwe Ellinghaus was in attendance and Automobile magazine quickly took the opportunity to question him on the future and recent past of Cadillac.
At one point during the interview, the topic of discussion was the Cadillac ELR.
Automobile magazine asked:
"When you first came on board, you said that a car like the ELR was a priority for you. Is it still that way given where it's at saleswise? And also, how important do you feel hybrid and alternative powertrain technology and Super Cruise and things like that ... getting that kind of stuff across your lineup is important?"
To which Ellinghaus replied (in condensed form):
"Put it this way: The ELR's a big disappointment; there's no denying, yet still I want it, and want it because it is a statement how progressive how Cadillac is and that we can tackle electromobility in the brand."
"So a coupe two-seat is already limited, right? Then, we spec'd it to the maximum degree and said we don't want a rolling declaration of sacrifices, and I approved that as well and said, no, we don't. We didn't want to position it as a green car, right? So I like the luxury features, but it priced it into a level where people started comparing it to, dare I say it, the Tesla. And then they said it has the same price. Nonsense, because our car comes fully equipped and the Tesla is completely naked. But the Tesla is a four-door, right?"
"And that's why my outtake is; we no longer go down this road that we have a certain car that has the electric credentials, the green credentials. Going forward, we’ll simply add plug-in hybrid-electric modes into almost all our cars."
Basically, Ellinghaus is saying that the ELR was a niche car (a tiny niche at that) and was destined for failure from the get go.
Then, Automobile magazine question Ellinghuas on the electric versus hydrogen debate
"Speaking of future propulsion, there’s a lot of talk about electric versus hydrogen fuel cells."
Ellinghaus replied (again, in condensed form):
"Hydrogen is infrastructure. I have some experiences there. I worked for BMW for 15 years. I say one thing: If you look at the environmental balance of electromobility as it is now, it makes no sense whatsoever. Nobody wants to hear it. But as long as the majority of the energy is generated from fossil fuels ... and that's about 80 percent right? U.S. ... the environmental balance is negative."
"...I do believe that very long-term hydrogen is really the way ... but I also realize that this industry needs to change its thinking in boxes, and in, let's say, their own way forward because hydrogen failed. Even in Germany, where the government for a while was very excited about it, two leading manufacturers could simply not agree on the approach."
For the full interview, click the source link below.