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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Detroit Auto Show: 2014 Cadillac ELR

    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    January 15, 2013

    In 2009, Cadillac unveiled the Converj concept which melded the Volt's Voltec powertrain in a drop-dead gorgeous body. Today at the Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac revealed the production model of the Converj, which is named the ELR.

    The ELR stays very much true to the Converj's styling. The result is a very handsome and daring vehicle to wear the crest and wreath. The design features a low, fast roofline; strong shoulder line running from the doors towards the end of the vehicle, twenty-inch wheels, and LED head and taillights.

    The ELR's interior is very luxurious. Designers lined the interior with stitched leather, suede microfiber, wood, and carbon fiber. There is also a load new tech including Cadillac's CUE infotainment system, digital instrument panel that is configurable, 10-speaker Bose system with noise cancellation, and a industry first; "power-assisted" sliding cupholder cover. (Not a joke).

    Under the ELR's skin is the same Voltec powertrain that is in the Chevrolet Volt. That means a 1.4L inline-four that acts as the generator, two electric motors, and the T-shaped, 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Total output is 207 horsepower and and 295 pound-feet of peak torque thanks to a reprogrammed electric-drive controller. 0-60 MPH takes about eight seconds. The ELR will be able to travel up 35 Miles on electric power alone, a decrease from 38 Miles on the Volt. Total range also decreases from 380 Miles on the Volt to 300 Miles on the ELR.

    Cadillac says the ELR will be a pleasure to drive thanks to stiffer body structure, electronically controlled, variable-rate dampers; and an available sport program that changes throttle response, steering effort and damper settings. The ELR also features a "Regen on Demand" feature that temporarily increases the regenerative braking level by the driver using the steering-wheel paddles.

    The Cadillac ELR begins production in late 2013, with sales beginning in 2014.


    Album: 2014 Cadillac ELR

    12 images



    Album: 2014 Cadillac ELR from the show floor

    28 images


    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    Press Release is on Page 2

    Cadillac ELR Electrifies the Luxury Market

    Luxury coupe blends dramatic design, industry-leading extended range technology

    DETROIT – Cadillac unveils the 2014 ELR today at the North American International Auto Show. The sleek luxury coupe features the first application of Extended Range Electric Vehicle technology by a full-line luxury automotive brand.

    "ELR is an unprecedented combination of luxury, advanced engineering and progressive design in a coupe that is both sporty and environmentally friendly," said Bob Ferguson, Cadillac global vice president. "This is a pivotal moment in Cadillac's history, as we continue our product-driven expansion."

    The ELR delivers on the promise of the Converj Concept on which it is based. The exterior establishes a new, progressive proportion for the brand while the interior introduces a new design theme that will define future Cadillac models, emphasizing modern elegance, technology and precisely crafted details.

    Industry-leading Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) technology provides full driving range exceeding 300 miles (480 km), combining pure electric driving and an efficient, range-extending generator.

    "ELR marks a fresh, even surprising new dimension of Cadillac," Ferguson said. "An additional aspect of ELR's appeal to will be exclusivity. It will be a specialized offering produced in limited numbers."

    ELR's confident and responsive EREV driving technology is enhanced with exclusive Regen on Demand and selectable drive modes that enhance driving and make the most of efficiency. Regen on Demand allows the driver to temporarily regenerate energy from the ELR's momentum into electricity that can be stored in the battery pack for later use. It is engaged via steering-wheel paddles adapted from traditional performance cars.

    The industry-leading, proven EREV technology is uniquely tuned for Cadillac in the ELR. Most daily commutes will require zero gasoline with zero emissions. Longer trips are free from electric-vehicle range anxiety because EREV technology enables the same long-distance freedom as a conventional car.

    Additional vehicle highlights include:

    • Enhanced AT-PZEV emissions meet California's criteria for single-occupancy access to high occupancy vehicle lanes

    • Light-emitting diode (LED) headlamps, daytime running lamps and taillamps, as well as signature front and rear lighting elements

    • Twenty-inch wheels paired with tires designed to balance responsive handling and a comfortable ride with efficiency

    • Interior design featuring cut-and-sew accented leather incorporating sueded microfiber, chrome, wood and available carbon fiber finishes throughout

    • Cadillac CUE with Navigation is standard. CUE is Cadillac's breakthrough system for connectivity and control, using Natural Voice Recognition, capacitive touch and hand gestures used on smart phones and tablets

    • Programmable charging schedules and downloadable energy efficiency reports available online and through smartphone notification charging alerts

    • Cadillac's advanced active safety features, including Safety Alert Seat, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning, along with available Side Blind Zone Alert with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and full-speed-range adaptive cruise control

    • Advanced chassis and suspension systems, including HiPer Strut front suspension, compound-crank with Watts link rear suspension and Continuous Damping Control, which adjusts damping every two milliseconds for optimal ride and handling in all conditions

    • Standard premium Bose 10-channel audio system with active noise cancellation.

    ELR production begins in the United States in late 2013 with sales starting in early 2014 in North America and expanding to global markets including China and Europe.


    The Cadillac ELR has an aggressive, forward-leaning profile that introduces a new, progressive theme and proportion in Cadillac's design evolution. It carries over almost unchanged from the 2009 Converj concept that inspired it. The overall shape is reinforced by a prominent, sweeping body line accented by 20-inch wheels pushed to the edges of the body.

    "The ELR represents a new dimension of Art & Science, the guiding philosophy of Cadillac," said Mark Adams, Cadillac design director. "Cadillac's DNA is innovation, with dramatic and provocative design. ELR delivers this in a luxury coupe that stands alone among major luxury brands globally."

    Vertical headlamp and taillamp elements create Cadillac's signature for the ELR, day or night and from the front or rear – a brand tradition since 1948.

    Aerodynamics play a crucial role in the design as airflow is managed to help the vehicle slip through the air with minimal drag. A flush front fascia and grille – with active shutters behind the grille opening – as well as tapered fascia corners, enable air to move easily around the car to reduce drag. In the rear, sharp edges and a carefully designed spoiler also manage airflow. An aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass help reduce turbulence and drag and contribute to ELR's 0.305 coefficient of drag.

    Inside, the ELR's classic 2+2 layout is driver focused, emphasizing modern luxury, connectivity and precisely crafted details. The leather-trimmed interior blends authentic chrome and wood accents – and available carbon fiber trim – as well as a sueded microfiber headliner and steering wheel covered in leather and sueded microfiber. Additional features include:

    • Eight-inch configurable instrument and driver information displays, offering four configurations ranging from elegantly simple to technologically enhanced information

    • Auto-glide/power-assisted covered storage/cup holder in the center console

    • Fold-down rear seat backs accommodate longer items, including multiple sets of golf clubs

    • LED-powered accent lighting in the instrument panel and doors

    • Available Opus semi-aniline leather seating.

    Cadillac CUE with Navigation is standard and accessible through a large, eight-inch, full-color capacitive-touch screen in the center of the instrument panel. It supports the electrified driving experience with displays on driving efficiency, energy usage, charging options and more, in addition to a broad range of infotainment options.

    Using Cadillac CUE via the touch screen features gesture recognition, proximity sensing (revealing information when needed) and a three-core microprocessor for faster response. Some features are accessible via steering-wheel controls and the motorized screen pivots up to reveal a hidden storage compartment with a USB port for phones and other personal items.

    Driving Experience

    The Cadillac ELR's dramatic design is matched with an engaging driving experience, supported by the EREV propulsion system calibrated for uncompromising performance. With 295 lb.-ft. of torque (400 Nm) – about 12 percent more than the 3.6L V-6 in the SRX – acceleration in the city and on the highway, including merging and passing, is achieved with reassuring power on demand.

    Driving confidence is further enhanced by advanced suspension and damping systems, including Continuous Damping Control – which adjusts damping every two milliseconds – to maintain optimal vehicle ride control over varying road surfaces and profiles. The ELR rolls on 20-inch wheels with specially engineered low-rolling-resistance tires designed to balance excellent control and cornering capability with efficiency.

    A solid, stable foundation underpins the ELR, featuring a body-frame-integral structure with main underbody rails running continuously from front to rear. Advanced, high-strength steels add strength and conserve weight. Additional contributors to the ELR's driving experience include:

    • Wide front and rear tracks – 62.1 inches (1,578 mm) in front and 62.4 inches (1,585 mm) in the rear – along with a long wheelbase (106.1 inches / 2,695 mm) and a low center of gravity

    • HiPer Strut front suspension featuring lightweight forged aluminum components for reduced weight and more nimble, responsive action

    • Dual-pinion, rack-mounted electric power steering system with premium ZF steering gear designed to provide excellent feedback while helping to save fuel

    • A semi-independent rear compound-crank suspension with Watts link that incorporates weight-optimized trailing arms to absorb lateral forces, allowing the suspension to be tuned to handle vertical, forward and rearward motions

    • Hydraulic ride bushings in the front and rear suspensions

    • An electro-hydraulic regenerative brake system that captures energy and sends it to the battery pack

    • Standard chassis control systems include antilock brakes, traction control and StabiliTrak electronic stability control.

    Because the ELR operates so quietly in all-electric mode, a driver-activated feature sounds a noise to alert pedestrians, particularly those with visual impairments, in an intersection. The alert was developed in conjunction with the American Federation of the Blind.

    Propulsion and Charging Technology

    The ELR is powered by GM EREV technology, combining pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending 1.4L gasoline-powered electric generator capable of 154 kW (207 hp) of total system power.

    The ELR's battery is a T-shaped, 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located along the centerline of the vehicle, between the front and rear wheels for optimal weight distribution. The 5.5-foot-long (1.6 m), 435-pound (198 kg) pack supplies energy to an advanced electric drive unit capable of 295 lb.-ft. of instant torque (400 Nm) to propel the vehicle. Using only the energy stored in the battery, the ELR will deliver a GM-estimated range of about 35 miles (56 km) of pure electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature.

    A driver-selectable Hold mode directs when the ELR uses its electric generator. This feature helps optimize the electric-driving experience, allowing owners who mix city and highway driving to save the battery charge for city travel, where the ELR EV mode operates most efficiently.

    Charging the ELR's battery can be done with a 120V electrical outlet or a dedicated 240V charging station. The vehicle can be completely recharged in about 4.5 hours using a 240V outlet, depending on the outside temperature.

    Once the vehicle is plugged in, owners can schedule either immediate or delayed charges, even coordinating charging according to departure time or when electricity rates are lower. Owners also can manage and monitor the ELR online or with their smartphone and RemoteLink, a mobile app powered by OnStar.

    The ELR's battery is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty.


    The Cadillac ELR will be manufactured at General Motors' Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, the world's only automotive manufacturing facility that mass-produces extended-range electric vehicles for global markets in 21 countries. It is also home to Southeast Michigan's largest photovoltaic solar array. The 264,000-square-foot feature generates up to 516 kilowatts of electricity – enough to charge 150 ELRs per day.

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    User Feedback

    I love the interior. I like it even more than the ATS interior.

    Nice looking car. I wonder how it would do if they had this car offered with no battery and a 2.0 Turbo? It would be a nice option.

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    They have some good features, but this is basically the same interior look and feature set of other Cadillacs, mainly the XTS and ATS which cost less money and have over 300 hp, not 207. The Lexus Prius bombed, I just can't see this working well, even though the ELR has good styling and the Lexus hybrids have terrible styling.

    I do like the Sixteen-style grille on the ELR, I wish that was on the ATS. The ELR front end on a rear drive proportioned car would look good, and the ATS front end just don't pop, it is missing something.

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    The Lexus Prius never looked this good.

    The way I see it this car is the best looking Electric car on the market and cost less than the others. It has most of the advantages of the Karma with no bad Karma traits or cost. It also can be driven cross country in days vs weeks like a Tesla and will have better fit and finish.

    This is not a car for everyone but it will be big in California and other trendy liberal areas. It will become the see me for this class and will help regenerate the Cadillac image along with the ATS and coming CTS. Each I see as a building block to the future.

    As for performance it is just great they did not lose more than 1 mile of range as this is not Volt and has much heavier items on it and in it. The 20 inch wheels along have to add 70 pounds over the Volts.

    As for working well? It depends on just what you expect. This is not a 20,000 unit per year car and GM will not saddle it with any high numbers. They learned the hard way they have to grow this segment with the Volt already. As long as they slow but steady growth in this segment it will be all they need to see.

    The Electric car is only a part of the auto market not the market nor will it be for some time to come. It will take time for all of them to grow. It will be no different with the Diesel or any other new or different powertrains they may bring out.

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    I see this car in the same vein as the Range Rover Evoque: both are low-volume but global "boutique" cars that are more about style and design than anything else. Both are contemporary interpretations of traditional brands, and both make a bold statement. ELR will probably cost about the same, too. I figure around $60K fully-loaded.

    Considering the majority of the world now lives in cities, I think many--me included--will find this more appealing than a CTS-V coupe because it's more stylish, more compact, quieter and more refined, and less polluting. Luxury and prestige can be quantified in many ways; there are traditional metrics like horsepower and handling, but there are also values like technology and efficiency, which the ELR appears to excel at.

    The Voltec powertrain is much more fitting for such a car than something as coarse and ordinary as a turbocharged Ecotec.

    Edited by pow
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    Having first hand knowledge of the Turbo Eco engines they are no more harsh than the non turbo. In fact they tend to not have to get rev happy for powers so I tend to feel the harshness is cut down.

    Vs the Voltec in electric mode now what is not more quiet and smooth than a electic motor.

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    Also remember how happy and satisfied the Volt owners are. Imagine taking that to the next level with the same features plus Cadillac style and luxury.

    That is a very good point. All 27 people who bought a Volt have reported very little, if any, trouble with them. Hopefully, the extra features on the ELR won't change that.

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    Seeing the ATS though, and how the body is "stretched" over and around the wheels, makes me think an ATS coupe will be fantastic. Heck, the sedan looks great as is.

    Edited by ocnblu

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    They need an ATS coupe to erase this car away. Imagine how good an ATS coupe could look with the ELR's front end. And the ATS coupe would weigh 500 lbs less, and have 100 more hp, use Alpha platform not Delta 2, and cost $10-20,000 less.

    They could also make an ATS 2.0 liter diesel with 200 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque that posts 40-45 mpg.

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    Car and Driver is estimating $60-75,000 for the ELR, 0-60 in 8.0 seconds and top speed of 100 mph. This is a 4070 lb car that is longer than the ATS sedan. The ATS is a really good car and sells about 2,500 a month, I just can't see people paying double ATS money for less car because it goes 30 miles on battery. And if it is about styling, then make the ATS look better and sell more of them.

    I do think though that the Gen 3 CTS could kick ass though as Cadillac is finally getting Sixteen and Cien styling cues into their cars and upping the interior quality, and that CTS should have new powertrains that aren't out of the Chevy parts bin.

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    They need an ATS coupe to erase this car away. Imagine how good an ATS coupe could look with the ELR's front end. And the ATS coupe would weigh 500 lbs less, and have 100 more hp, use Alpha platform not Delta 2, and cost $10-20,000 less.

    They could also make an ATS 2.0 liter diesel with 200 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque that posts 40-45 mpg.

    You realize that not everyone is a speed freak right? The 0-60 may be in the 8 second range but that doesn't mean the car will feel slow in normal driving. Drivers appreciate the low end torque of Voltec. The Fleetwood was also an 8 second car and few people would find that car to be slow in normal driving even today.

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    Car and Driver is estimating $60-75,000 for the ELR, 0-60 in 8.0 seconds and top speed of 100 mph. This is a 4070 lb car that is longer than the ATS sedan. The ATS is a really good car and sells about 2,500 a month, I just can't see people paying double ATS money for less car because it goes 30 miles on battery. And if it is about styling, then make the ATS look better and sell more of them.

    Your favorite Mercedes S-Class 350 bluetec, with as tested price of $113,000 ran 0-60 in 7 seconds.

    According to your logic, it is twice the cost of the ELR it should have done the time in half. Even the lowly Camry V6 is faster than that. Chevrolet Silverado Duramax outruns it.

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