• Is Cadillac’s Surprise EV Concept a Preview of the Next-Gen Cadillac Escalade?

That’d be some kind of statement, wouldn’t it?

A few days after identifying Cadillac as the brand that will spearhead its EV initiative, General Motors doubled down on that announcement by revealing a sketch design of an EV crossover concept that could point to its plans for Cadillac in the not-so-distant future. The design was unveiled at the Cadillac XT6’s launch party ahead of the 2019 North American International Auto Show. The General didn’t dive into the details behind its first electric vehicle, opting only to say that it will use an all-new skateboard electric platform and will come in either two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. It’s also going to be a crossover, adding weight to the company’s renewed focus on crossovers and SUVs to drive the brand moving forward. That said, is it possible that this electric concept is actually a preview of the next-generation Cadillac Escalade?

Is Cadillac's Surprise EV Concept a Preview of the Next-Gen Cadillac Escalade?
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So, this is it. Cadillac is going to be General Motors’ lead electric brand. The decision isn’t surprising because Cadillac’s status as a luxury brand offers plenty of growth and potential in the EV segment. It will compete against the likes of Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. It just so happens, too, that all three German brands have upcoming electric crossovers.

So Cadillac is joining the EV party with big plans to roll out a full model lineup, beginning, it seems, with its own electric crossover.

That segment would be a good place to start for Cadillac. It’s a healthy segment in it of itself as consumers have turned it into one of the most popular segments in the auto industry. Automakers far and wide know that trend, which is why you see so many automakers have made electric crossovers and SUVs their top priorities over sedans, coupes, and the like. The three aforementioned German titans are in on it already. Audi’s already working on the e-tron quattro and BMW’s doing the same with the iNext. Mercedes is further along in the game with the EQC crossover. Production for that bad boy starts this year. Let’s not forget Porsche, too. It’s currently working on the production version of the Mission E Cross Turismo Concept to supplement the Taycan electric sedan.

Caddy’s not too late to enter the EV crossover fold, though GM should’ve probably entered it sooner.

Details about the concept are still scarce at this point, but we at least now that Cadillac will get first dibs on a lot of the tech that General Motors will use in its EV initiative.

That includes an all-new flexible platform that can be used in a variety of models. That’s all part of GM’s goal to turn Caddy into a full-scale electric brand with a number of models in its portfolio. Drive units and battery cells are also being developed as part of GM’s long-term goal.

Is Cadillac's Surprise EV Concept a Preview of the Next-Gen Cadillac Escalade?
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By the looks of it, General Motors isn’t lollygagging its EV plans anymore. It’s going all-in on the segment through Cadillac. This, then, begs the question? What is Cadillac’s model lineup going to look like in the future? GM needs to answer that question quickly because Cadillac is largely a luxury sedan-driven brand, and those models aren’t doing well anymore. The arrival of the three-row XT6 SUV signals a more aggressive push towards the crossover and SUV segments, but it’s hard to imagine Cadillac just stopping there, not with all the momentum these segments have generated in recent years. The automaker has already said that a crossover will its first EV model. It’d be interesting, though, if it sticks to that proclamation or it goes all-out on a large electric SUV that could, in theory, at least, succeed the current-generation Escalade.

The monolithic SUV is Cadillac’s most popular model, and if it wants to leverage the Escalade’s popularity with an EV version, the near future is as good a time as any to strike.

Remember, the current-generation Escalade is five years into its life cycle. If it lasts as long as the last-generation model — that one lasted seven years in the market — we could be looking at the next-generation model to arrive sometime in 2022. Depending on how far along GM is in the development of all the technologies it needs in the EV segment, the stars could align for Cadillac to roll out an electric version of the Escalade by the time the current-generation model is put to pasture.

Most of what Cadillac has done in recent years focused on establishing a crossover and SUV lineup that can compete in the segment. It’s done that to varying levels of success, but if it wants to make a statement in the EV segment, rolling out an EV crossover probably isn’t the way to do it. By the time it does that, the market’s going to be filled with them.

But if it goes against the grain and decides to turn the next-gen Escalade into an electrified and future-driven version of its current self, that could turn into the kind of statement that would put Cadillac in the EV map. The balls in your court, General, sir.

Further reading

2020 Cadillac XT6
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The Cadillac XT6 is a Ground-Rule Double That Should’ve Been a Home Run

2021 Cadillac Escalade
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Cadillac Escalade.

GM Offering As Much as $10,000 off the Escalade in Hopes Customers Will Forget About the New Lincoln Navigator
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Read our full review on the 2018 Cadillac Escalade.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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DETROIT — Cadillac furthered its recent product blitz today with the reveal of the brand’s first EV. This will be the first model derived from GM’s future EV platform. GM announced on Friday that Cadillac will be at the vanguard of the company’s move toward an all-electric future.

“Cadillac’s EV will hit the heart of the crossover market and meet the needs of customers around the world,” said Steve Carlisle, president of Cadillac. “It will represent the height of luxury and innovation while positioning Cadillac as the pinnacle of mobility.”

The Cadillac EV’s name and additional details will be revealed closer to launch. Today’s announcement is part of Cadillac’s aggressive product acceleration announced this week — in addition to revealing the all-new XT6 crossover, the company also hinted at both a future Escalade and an upcoming performance sedan. Overall, Cadillac will introduce new models at the rate of roughly one every six months through 2021.

GM’s future EV platform, which Cadillac will be the first to use, will be flexible, allowing the company to respond quickly to customer preferences with a relatively short design and development lead time. The Cadillac portfolio will eventually benefit from a variety of body styles that can be spun off this architecture.

The most advanced components within this platform are the drive units and battery cells, both of which are being designed for maximum usability throughout GM vehicle lineups in different countries. The EVs can be configured in front-, rear- or all-wheel drive, and the output of their battery systems will be adjustable based on vehicle and customer needs.

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