The same T-shaped, 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack in the Volt finds its way underneath the creased sheet metal of the ELR, as well as its 1.4-liter gasoline-powered range-extending engine. That allows the Caddy to motor along on electric power alone for up to 35 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in to juice up the pack and keep the ELR going for a claimed range of 300 miles.
Cadillac is touting the ELR’s 8-inch touchscreen powered by its CUE infotainment system — which two years in is still a buggy mess — along with a range of safety and convenience features, including lane departure warning, forward collision alert, and a 24-hour concierge service to answer questions. There’s also a “regen on demand” feature that allows the driver to boost the brake regeneration, slowing the vehicle and recouping energy by pulling on the flappy paddles behind the steering wheel.
GM’s bean counters are quick to point out that depending on what federal and state tax incentives buyers are eligible for, the net pricing could be as low as $68,495, but that’s still a tough sell considering you’re basically getting a Volt with more presence and less practicality.
By comparison, $70k will get you into the entry-level — but absolutely excellent — all-electric Tesla Model S, with a 208-mile range from its 60 kWh battery. That makes the ELR almost impossible to justify what Caddy is demanding. Here’s hoping we’re wrong. We’ll find out when sales begin in January.
Photos: Alex Washburn