2014 Cadillac ELR

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Cadillac unveiled a first ELR concept back in 2011 and ever since then everyone was pretty sure a production will also follow. Things got pretty clear in 2012 when a leak from OnStar confirmed Cadillac will dive into the hybrid realm with a vehicle not named "Escalade ." The model finally made its world debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show and according to the first official details we have, it offers "an unprecedented combination of luxury, advanced engineering and progressive design."

However, this is not the first time in Caddy’s long history that it’s tread into the economy car world. The first one was the laughably Cavalier-like Cimarron. If you recall, Cadillac was so embarrassed by the Cimarron that the automaker refused to call it a Cadillac and instead dubbed it the “Cimarron by Cadillac” originally. GM later forced a name change to “Cadillac Cimarron.”

Needless to say Caddy does not want to relive those days, so they took things pretty serious with the ELR. The model is being powered by the latest GM EREV technology that combined a pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending 1.4 liter gasoline-powered electric generator.

Updated 02/10/2014: Cadillac unveiled a first commercial for its new ELR electric coupe featuring actor Neil McDonough. Enjoy!

Updated 03/25/2014: Cadillac unveiled a new video for the new ELR coupe which hopes it will help it sell the electric coupe better. Enjoy!

Click past the jump to read the entire review to see if the ELR will end up on TIME’s “50 Worst Cars of All Time” list alongside the Cimarron.

Update History

Updated 01/15/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images and video.

UPDATE 4/14/2013: Cadillac has just revealed the details on the ELR’s unique regenerative-braking system that allows you to regen on demand. See more after the jump.

Updated 10/11/2013: Cadillac reported today that the new ELR will go on sale in January 2014. The electric coupe will be priced at $75,995, including a $995 destination charge but excluding tax, title, license and dealer fees. After applying the federal tax credit, the price for the ELR could go as low as $68,495, including $995 destination.

Exterior

Cadillac ELR

The 2014 ELR looks almost similar to the Converj concept that inspired it and introduces a new "progressive theme and proportion in Cadillac’s design evolution." The model features Cadillac’s signature vertical headlights and vertical LED taillights and also the well-known trapezoid grille.

Next to making the ELR as elegant as possible, Cadillac also focused on delivering the best aerodynamics so the vehicle could "slip through the air with minimal drag." As a result the ELR is being equipped with a flush front fascia and grille with active shutters behind the grille opening, tapered fascia corners, sharp edges at the rear and a carefully designed spoiler. Cadillac also installed an aggressive rake on the windshield and back glass and obtained an impressive 0.305 coefficient of drag.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (in / mm)106.1 / 2695
Overall length (in / mm)186 / 4724
Overall width (in / mm)72.7 / 1847
Track width front (in / mm)62.1 / 1578
Track width rear (in / mm)62.4 / 1585
Height (in / mm)55.9 / 1420

Interior


The ELR offers a classic 2+2 layout and has been designed to offer the driver the best driving experience. The interior is trimmed in a combination of leather and authentic chrome and wood accents, while a carbon fiber trim is available as an option. The steering wheel is covered in leather and sueded microfiber, with the same material being used for the headliner.

As with all the other models launched in the past year, the new ELR is being offered with Cadillac CUE with Navigation featuring a large eight-inch, full-color capacitive-touch screen in the center of the instrument panel. It also includes a touch screen with gesture recognition and offers details on driving efficiency, energy usage, charging options and more.

Interior Dimensions

FrontRear
Seating capacity22
Headroom (in / mm)36.9 / 93834.7 / 882
Shoulder room (in / mm)55.2 / 140349.9 / 1268
Hip room (in / mm)52.9 / 134448.6 / 1234
Legroom (in / mm)42.2 / 107133.6 / 853
Cargo volume (cu ft / L)9 / 255 (est.)

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.

Engine and Technology

Cadillac ELR

We do know that the ELR will feature an electric drive unit, powered by a 16.5kWh T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack. This electric drive unit is good for 207 horsepower and will feature 295 pound-feet of instantly available torque.

Additionally, the ELR will feature an 84-horsepower, 1.4-liter four-cylinder electric generator. Not an engine, folks, a generator to provide power to the drive unit, much like the Volt .

Once the batteries become depleted, the generator kicks in to provide power to the electric drive unit, much like how an engine in gas cars spins the alternator to create current.

Using only the energy stored in the battery, the ELR will deliver a GM-estimated range of about 37 miles of pure electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature and over 345 miles of total driving with a fully charged battery and a full tank of premium gasoline (9.3 gallons). You can recharge you ELR on a 120-volt system or 240-volt charging station with the latter taking only 4.5 hours to recharge the batteries.

As expected, the ELR does include regenerative braking that helps use the heat energy used in braking to recharge the batteries, but this one is different from most. This system includes a set of steering-wheel-mounted paddles that are not used for shifting the gears, like on the traditional car. Nope, these paddles operate the Regen on Demand feature that lightly activates the system to recharge the batteries when you need it most. So, when you’re coming to a corner that will require braking, you simply pull back on the paddle and activate the Regen On Demand system, which slows the car slightly as you approach – like downshifting a traditional car – and stores this typically lost energy.

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.

Gasoline Generator Specifications

Type1.4L DOHC I-4
Bore & stroke (in / mm)2.89 x 3.25 / 73.4 x 82.6
Block materialcast iron
Cylinder head materialcast aluminum
Valvetrainoverhead camshafts; four valves per cylinder, continuously variable intake and exhaust cam phaser
Ignition systemIndividual coil-on-plug
Fuel deliverysequential multi-port fuel injectors with electronic throttle control
Compression ratio10.5:1
Output (kW / hp @ rpm)63 / 84 @ 4800
Max engine speed (rpm)4800
Fuel typepremium required
EPA-estimated fuel economy33 Combined, Est.
MPGe82, Est.

Electric Drivetrain Specifications

Typeelectric, two-wheel, front-drive
Motors (two)drive motor, 117-135 kW; generator motor, 55 kW
TransaxleVoltec electric drive system
Power (kW / hp)154 / 207 (total system power)
Torque: (lb-ft / Nm)295 / 400

Performance Specifications

0-60 mph7.8 Sec. (Range Extending Mode) / 8.8 Sec. EV Mode
Top speed (mph)106
EV range (combined city/hwy)37 Miles
EV / Extended rangeMore than 345 miles, including EV on fully charged battery and full tank of fuel (est.)

Pricing

The new ELR will go on sale in January 2014. The electric coupe will be priced at $75,995, including a $995 destination charge but excluding tax, title, license and dealer fees.

Competition

BMW i8

BMW i8

The only true competition to the ELR is likely to come from the BMW i8. The Tesla Roadster is an EV, not a hybrid. That really leaves only the i8 as a true performance hybrid.

Let’s just say that the i8 is a beautiful car, just like the ELR. In addition, we already know that the i8 cranks out a combined 354 horsepower and can hit 60 mph in about 5 seconds, but that is on battery and gas power. The ELR will run strictly on an electric motor with a four-banger generator making extra juice as needed. This leads us to believe that the ELR will likely fall well above the 5-second mark in 0-to-60 time. The advantage goes to the BMW i8.

Don’t get us wrong here, the i8 looks awesome, but it is a tad over the top for the average driver. The ELR, on the other hand, just looks like a really sleek and compact Cadillac. There is some appeal to Cadillac staying true to its design on the ELR, as many automakers go crazy on these futuristic cars. We have to give the concept version of the ELR the upper hand on this one. Now, this could change once we see the final production model.

The i8 runs a massive $132,600, so the Cadillac certainly wins out there.

Conclusion

Cadillac ELR

Without knowing all of the specifics on the Cadillac, it is hard to say what to do. Our gut instincts say to snag up an ELR the second their tires touch a showroom floor. Despite its lackluster sales, the Volt’s drivetrain has been tested and seems to be working just fine, as there are no complaints yet.

For now, we have to say just wait this thing out and we will pass on more information as it becomes available. We can offer our promise that the ELR, sans a drastic change from the original concept, will not end up in a “Worst Cars” article.

LOVE IT
  • Awesome outward appearance
  • Generator-operated electric motor
  • Caddy going "green"
LEAVE IT
  • A little bit expensive
  • No details on the performances

Press Release

Cadillac ELR

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.

Design

Cadillac ELR

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

Cadillac ELR

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.


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