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Cadillac ELR Brings Sophistication to Plug-In Hybrids


Dec 23, 2012
V-Series Cadillac(s)?
2012 Cadillac CTS-V
The Chevrolet Volt, on which the ELR is based, is a perfectly fine car. It’s an attractive, eye-catching design partnered with an advanced powertrain that negates range anxiety even as it offers close to 40 miles of all-electric motivation. But the ELR, which is the production version of the Cadillac Converj concept we’ve always loved, and is a different beast entirely. It brings sexy sophistication and a dash of luxury to the extended-range EV segment.

To begin with, it’s a svelte two-door that makes the CTS Coupe — one of our favorite modern Caddy designs — look bloated and overwrought. The front takes all the right cues from the Concept Ciel andCadillac Sixteen of nearly a decade ago, but wraps them around a body that’s sporting a 0.305 coefficient of drag – about the same as Prius, without the look of a suppository. It’s even better out back, where the wedge shape forms a pointed hatch accentuated by taillights that wrap up and over the rear fenders, nearly touching the chrome window accents. And every single light — inside and out — is an LED, with the turn indicator on the driver’s side mirror providing a visual readout of the ELR’s battery level when plugged in.

That powertrain is a tweaked version of what you’ll find in the Volt, with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine feeding power to a lightened, T-shaped 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that spans the center of the coupe. Nail the throttle and you’ll send 207 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque (the same as a BMW M3) to the 20-inch front wheels. Cadillac isn’t citing performance numbers, but the 4,070-pound ELR should be good for mid-seven second run to 60 mph. And judging by the collective enthusiasm of engineers we spoke with, the driving experience should be far more engaging than the Volt’s, including paddle shifters on the steering wheel that up the regenerative braking force to mimic the feel of a downshift.

But forget about performance and exterior flourishes for the moment. The ELR is an extended-range EV, meaning it’s good for an all-electric range of 35 miles (the Volt comes in at 37), before the gasoline generator kicks in to feeding juice to the battery pack and power the electric motor. Cadillac even worked with the American Federation of the Blind to equip the ELR with a driver-activated tone that alerts pedestrians at intersections. Total charge time on a 240-volt outlet is around 4.5 hours, while the 110-volt outlet next to your toaster will get the ELR’s batteries recharged in around 12 hours.

The interior is a further evolution of Caddy’s new focus on driver involvement and advanced infotainment, with the CUE system in the center stack, a configurable instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and tasteful combination of leather, aluminum and hand-stitching that provide some warmth to balance out the angular exterior. The only puzzling bit is what Cadillac is calling a “power-assisted” cup-holder cover, providing an answer to a question that no one in history has ever asked.

Regardless, sales of the ELR are set to begin early next year, and while pricing has yet to be announced, we’re told production will be limited — which suggests a price tag well north of $50,000 isn’t out the question.
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I think AutoWeek (or another eRag site) mentioned a price of $65k for the ELR. That 20K above the Volt. That's a lot above the Volt. There better be 20K worth of improvements in the ELR.

We have a Volt and use the Level 1 charger (110v). From all used up to fully charged takes only about 10 hours. Given the ELR has the same battery, I'd assume that it would show the same charge times.

We'll be keeping the Volt at any rate - leased for another 1.5 years anyway.

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