The Cadillac ELR will take its place in the market already busy enough top of the range vehicles partially or totally electric, or Tesla attempted to create a niche with its Roadster and Model S, 100% electric, and Fisker Karma, with its hybrid electric-gasoline. Fisker has experienced all kinds of technical problems, while Tesla is doing rather well.
Fisker and Tesla will soon have an important competitor in the tabs. General Motors has announced that it will launch the 2013 the Cadillac ELR, cut at the top of the range mu by the same propulsion system as the famous hybrid Chevrolet Volt, which works in the electrical and gasoline.
The Cadillac ELR engine based on an already well-honed with the Voltec system of the Volt, in addition to a manufacturing expertise for a long time. But the great advantage of the ELR on its competitors will be the size of the network of more than 1600 Cadillac dealers in North America.
We do not know what is the cost of the ELR, but this will surely be more than the Volt at $ 40,000 and certainly less that the Fisker Karma to $ 100,000. The Model S of Tesla should cost about $ 58,000 and it should not be surprising if Cadillac arrives with a comparable price.
By highlighting its hybrid propulsion system on a Cadillac, GM think it would be directed to a customer less sensitive to price. When the Volt is arrival on the market, it has not known the commercial success hope because of its high price for a mid-sized sedan Chevrolet. Several observers have noted that the hybrid of General Motors should perhaps have been launched in the beginning by Cadillac, not by Chevrolet. This is also the opinion of the former vice-president of GM Bob Lutz, who has played an important role in the decision to produce this hybrid when he was boss of the development of products.
As the wanted the rumor, the ELR will have as a jewelbox bodywork very inspired by the Cadillac Converj, car-concept which has been feeling (but not unanimously) in the lounge of the auto of Detroit in 2009.
For GM, the launch of the ELR could alleviate a serious problem of overcapacity in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant , which assembles the Volt. The plant has a capacity of 60,000 hybrid vehicles, but GM should not sell a lot more that 20,000 volts in 2012. The ELR will be produced in small series, but each additional unit will spread a little more the fixed costs of this plant under-used. GM will invest 35 million to equip the assembly line to the ELR, two-door four-seater, But provides no adding to 1560 employees and existing frameworks of Detroit-Hamtramck , factory opened in 1985.
Car demand partially or totally electrical is a disappointment so far and, by coincidence, GM has announced the launch of the Cadillac ELR the same day or the manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries has123 has declared bankruptcy (A123 is not the supplier of batteries for the Volt or the ELR, see page 21). The boss of GM for the North America, Mark Reuss, took the trouble to underline that GM considers the progression of the hybrid cars like ineluctable and that the constructor has a long-term engagement in the automotive electrification.
The Chevrolet Volt is driven by an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery which gives him a electrical autonomy of about sixty kilometers. When the batteries to fail, a petrol generator takes the relay door automatically and the total autonomy of the Volt at approximately 600 km. The ELR will have a similar engine.
GM has recycled from old photos of the Cadillac Converj concept of 2009 to illustrate the announcement of the ELR. But the final version of this new Cadillac should be unveiled at the auto show in Detroit next January. Perhaps his price will it be announced also on this occasion.