When whispers started getting louder about Cadillac’s plan of building a production version of the Converj Concept, a lot of people began to wonder whether this was another one of those merry-go-round statements that would be taken back pretty quickly. After all, rumors about a production version of the Converj have been going on for about two years now and on more than one occasion, General Motors has pulled the plug on the project.
But now it looks like the green light is finally on. The Cadillac Converj Concept is headed to production as the Cadillac ELR.
According to GM, the development of the ELR is currently underway and they are in the middle of testing and developing all the pertinent details of the car. Chief among this is the powertrain, which is expected to carry an electric propulsion system with a T-shaped lithium ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator.
The whole set-up is pretty similar to the Chevrolet Volt where the ELR is looking into using electricity as the primary energy source with the assistance of a gas engine generator as back-up in case the batteries are all used up.
The decision to finally grant production status on the ELR was a long time in the making for GM, but in the end, the company felt like it was now time for the car to be built. “The concept generated instant enthusiasm,” said Don Butler, VP of marketing for Cadillac.
“Like other milestone Cadillac models of the past, the ELR will offer something not otherwise present – the combination of electric propulsion with striking design and the fun of luxury coupe driving.”
Here’s a sexier approach to the Chevrolet Volt. Cadillac’s Converj concept takes the electric car with a gas back powertrain (now called Voltec) from the Chevy and wraps it in a sleek body that reminds of a larger version of the CTS coupe.
The Converj is a strict four-seater. While this is used to give this car a sportier image, this is also necessary because a big center section is taken up by the "T" shaped battery used to power the car. The battery pack contains more than 220 lithium-ion cells that can power the car for up to 40 miles. After the battery runs out, the electric will be replenished by a gas-powered generator. Just like the Volt, the car is designed to be fully charged after plugged in for eight hours on a normal household 120-volt outlet (three hours for 240v).
There is plenty of function to the Converj form. The dark roof contains solar panels to help recharge the car and the sleek body helps cheat the millage-killing wind. Now all that has to happen is for General Motors to find the capital to put the Cadillac of electric cars in production.
UPDATE 08/12/11: After a few jumps on both sides of the fence, Cadillac has officially given the green light for the production of the Converj. The latest news about Cadillac’s resident electric car concept is that GM executives have finally gone ahead and given their blessing to have the Converj hit the production block for a 2013 launch leading up to a release as a 2014 model. Took them a while to finally decide, but hey, better late than never, right?
The Cadillac Converj made quite an impression on a lot of people after it was unveiled at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show late last year. At that time, the Converj, which was being pegged as an upscale Chevy Volt derivative, was being touted as having a production date after 2012.
But now, it appears that the Detroit Auto Show could be the last time we’ll ever see the Converj after reports have indicated that General Motors is scrapping the car permanently.
GM has yet to confirm nor deny these reports but according to Auto Observer, the main issue surrounding the scrapping of the Converj was that the overall weight of the car – with all the added amenities – would be too heavy to even achieve a 20-mile electric driving range, at which point it became implausible to build a high-end version of the Volt without sacrificing all the luxuries that would have made it, well, high-end. Even if it the Converj did manage to scratch the 20-mile electric driving range – about half of the Volt’s marketed 40-mile range – General Motors would be forced to tack on an extra $30,000 of added cost for each car.
The loss of the Converj is a shame to a lot of us, especially after its highly-successful debut at the Detroit Auto Show. It just goes to show that in the auto industry, nothing’s for certain until we see it out on the streets.
General Motors is heading in a new direction with the scheduled production version of the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle that is set to come out sometime in the near future, however it was the luxury version of this economical EV, the Cadillac Converj, that most recently stole the spotlight at the 2009 Miami Auto Show, taking home the Concept Vehicle of the Show award. The Converj is set to be built upon the same platform as the Chevrolet Volt, and it was back in January at the 2009 North American International Auto Show where the Converj made its debut, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said if the luxury EV was approved, that the production model would resemble the concept, much like the Camaro did.
The Converj concept is a strict four seater, and although it has a swept back coupe like profile which is used to give this car a sportier image, the seating arrangement is also necessary because a large part of the car’s center section is taken up by the "T" shaped battery used to power the car. The battery pack contains more than 220 lithium ion cells that can power the car for up to 40 miles. After the battery runs out, the electric will be replenished by a gas powered engine that exclusively charges the battery. Just like the Volt, the car is designed to be fully charged after plugged in for eight hours on a normal household 120 volt outlet, or in as little as three hours if you have a high capacity 240 volt socket.
The Cadillac Converj has caused quite a stir amongst the head honchos of General Motors.
Ever since it made a successful debut at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, the fate of the Converj – which is based on the Chevy Volt – has been a hot topic of debate but now, it appears that GM’s big brass is finally on the verge – we say ‘on the verge’ because with GM, anything can still happen – of putting the Converj up for production.
But it’s not entirely the fault of the bosses at GM. The economic crisis and, to be more specific, GM’s filing for bankruptcy a few months ago all but spelled doom and gloom for the Converj. But now that GM has somehow regained its footing, a number of GM higher-ups, including vice chairman Bob Lutz, have steadily voiced their support to – finally – build the car.
Just as we suspected, the Cadillac Converj is stuck in a conundrum. Yesterday’s story of a General Motors insider confirming the Converj’s production was matched by an official statement from GM. Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell told Inside Line, "There is no change to the status of Converj. It is a concept — a proposal — and it’s being reviewed, and the review is not completed."
No surprises there. Yesterday’s story was about an insider, not an official statement. But another insider let the beans spill even more. This one suggested to IL that the Converj’s fate lies in the hands of the presidential automotive task force that is helping GM create it’s viability plan. So Cadillac will likely have to prove that it needs to spend the money on the Converj to make money — that’s not an easy thing for a bureaucracy to understand.
Cadillac stunned us at the Detroit Auto Show with the Converj, and apparently we we not the only ones. A source inside General Motors told Motor Trend the buzz from the car has caused GM to green light the hybrid car for production.
Although GM won’t officially confirm the car’s production, the target is to have the Converj on sale in 2011 as a 2012. That’s pretty ambitions considering Chevy is working overtime to reach the 2010 target date on the Volt, the car on which the Converj is based. While the Volt’s set up of the lithium-ion battery pack with 1.4-liter combustion engine backup will be a good starting point, it will take Cadillac a while to develop its own exterior and interior. Also Cadillac will likely modify the Voltec platform to accept more batteries, allowing for more speed and greater luxury (weight).
The Converj will be a step in the right direction for the fuel-efficient cars GM needs to show on its viability plan. This makes the Converj in charge of its own fate, because the only way the Converj can go into production is if the government approves the plan due on June 1.