This year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan gave the world its very first look at the production version of the 2014 Cadillac ELR. The Cadillac ELR turns a new page for the luxury brand, as it provides eco-conscious premium shoppers with the chance to slip behind the wheel of one of the most advanced hybrid vehicles ever designed. The ELR is also notable for maintaining a high standard of style and comfort without significantly subtracting from its green credibility.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 Cadillac ELR.
01. The 2014 Cadillac ELR Stands As The Brand's First Dedicated Hybrid
For many years the only hybrid vehicle available from Cadillac has been the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, a full-size SUV that offered considerable efficiency improvements over the standard Escalade but which still consumed copious amounts of fuel. The 2014 Cadillac ELR is a horse of a different color, a dedicated hybrid that has no equivalent gas-only sibling in the Cadillac lineup and a vehicle that can stand up to the likes of the Lexus CT 200h in terms of building its own unique identity. The Cadillac ELR is an all-new model for the automaker, and as such it points the way towards part of future for Cadillac in terms of styling and market approach.
02. The 2014 Cadillac ELR Is Based On The Chevrolet Volt Platform
The 2014 Cadillac ELR makes use of a modified version of the platform employed by the Chevrolet Volt hybrid sedan. Of course, numerous changes have been made to reflect not just the different brand position of Cadillac versus Chevrolet, but also the forward march of technological progress in the years since the Volt was originally released. The vehicle's drivetrain and power control systems have been improved, and although the overall proportions remain generally the same (with the ELR about 10-inches longer than the Volt), the vehicle's wider track, larger wheels and tires, and an enlarged front fascia contribute to giving the car a slightly less slippery drag coefficient (but one which still matches that of the Toyota Prius).
03. The 2014 Cadillac ELR Offers Coupe Styling
One of the most noticeable differences between the 2014 Cadillac ELR and its Volt predecessor is the move from four-door hatchback to sexy coupe styling. The Cadillac ELR is an undeniably attractive automobile, as it incorporates the best cues from the brand's Art & Science design language while updating the Converj concept that it shared substantial DNA with through the use of different headlights, and other more subtle details. The rising wedge shape allows the car to remain aerodynamic without hewing to the anonymous looks favored by numerous other hybrid cars on the market, and for a compact the ELR offers substantial road presence.
04. The 2014 Cadillac ELR Features Electric Power
The 2013 Cadillac ELR is motivated by an electric motor that produces a generous 154 horsepower (207 total system horsepower) and 295 lb-ft of torque. This is an improvement of six ponies and 12 lb-ft of twist when compared to the Volt, and it was achieved through the careful tweaking of the vehicle's software systems. A 16-kWhr battery pack stores the electricity needed to propel the Cadillac ELR forward, and it can be recharged using either a standard 110-volt wall outlet, a 220-volt outlet, or via regenerative braking. The Cadillac ELR has also been programmed to draw from a larger percentage of its battery than the Volt in order to give it an electric-only operational range of up to 35 miles, which is only a bit shorter than the range offered by its Chevrolet cousin.
05. The 2014 Cadillac ELR Comes With A Range-Extending Gas Engine
There is, of course, one more way to power the 2014 Cadillac ELR's electric motor system, and that is via the 1.4-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine that comes with the car. The Cadillac ELR is what is known as an 'extended-range hybrid,' which means that its gas engine is used almost exclusively to generate power for the ELR's electric motors and not actually drive the front wheels themselves (although that can occur during very specific operating conditions). This allows the Cadillac to continue on for an additional 300 miles once its battery has been depleted, erasing any of the 'range anxiety' associated with electric car ownership.
06. The 2014 Cadillac ELR Delivers High-End Features
Although the coupe shape adopted by the 2014 Cadillac ELR might make things a bit more snug inside when compared against the Volt, the luxury car comes replete with premium equipment that simply isn't offered by its predecessor. Carbon fiber and wood trim are available with the Cadillac ELR, as are unique-to-Cadillac information screens shown on an eight-inch LCD screen on the car's center console. Adaptive cruise control, the CUE vehicle interface, a noise-canceling stereo system, and more than one leather covering option for the ELR's seats are also in the cards. On the outside of the car, full LED lighting enhances the upscale image of the Cadillac.
07. The 2014 Cadillac ELR Offers Extensive Guarantees
The 2014 Cadillac ELR is being released onto a market where the general public are still somewhat suspicious of the reliability of the batteries that are used by electric cars. To help quell potential concerns, the Cadillac ELR is being offered with an eight year or 100,000 mile warranty on the battery alone, which is offered alongside the vehicle's standard new car guarantees. Given that we are well into our second decade of first-hand experience with hybrid batteries, and that automobiles like the first-generation Toyota Prius and Honda Insight are still plying the roads with very little loss of their energy-storage capacity, it would seem as though it is time to put aside these worries and trust in the engineering behind advanced hybrid automobiles.
08. The 2014 Cadillac ELR Will Be Fun To Drive
The 2014 Cadillac ELR will be a reasonably feisty performer, with the instant-on torque of its electric motor allowing it to reach 60-mph from a standing start in a predicted eight seconds. More importantly, the Cadillac ELR has seen the introduction of GM's HiPer front struts, an adaptive suspension system that can be set to a special Sport mode, a cross-car brace that improves structural rigidity, and an improved rear twist-beam and trailing arm design. Sport mode also sharpens the ELR's steering and throttle response, and for those who want to be engaged as much as possible while piloting the hybrid it also wears steering wheel-mounted paddles that can be held to call regenerative braking more sharply into play while decelerating.
09. The 2014 Cadillac ELR Will Go On Sale At The End Of This Year
The 2014 Cadillac ELR is not yet available, and those who are interested in owning this unique piece of automotive technology and sculpted styling beauty will have to wait a considerable length of time to do so. The Cadillac ELR will not go on sale until the end of 2013, which means almost a full year between its introduction in Detroit and its delivery to dealerships across the country. With no other dedicated hybrid luxury cars pegged for an unveil in the intervening period, Cadillac should be able to maintain interest and build momentum right up until the ELR reaches its first customer.
10. The 2014 Cadillac ELR Pricing Is Still Undecided
The 2014 Cadillac ELR could command a pretty penny once it does finally go on sale. Although official pricing has yet to be released, word has it that at a minimum the Cadillac ELR will retail for $60,000. This would make it considerably more expensive than the Chevrolet Volt with which it shares much of its technology, but its luxury trappings, higher power output, and swankier styling make up for most of the difference, On the outside edge, an ELR window sticker of $70,000 has also been bandied about, which would place it in territory similar to that occupied by the even more exclusive Tesla Model S sedan.