The 2014 Cadillac ELR—combining a powertrain similar to that of a Chevy Volt with a full complement of Cadillac luxury features—will go on sale in January with an MSRP of $75,000, a destination charge of $995, and expected eligibility for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits. With the latter taken into account, the 2014 Cadillac ELR would have a net cost, with destination charge, of $68,495; going by sticker price, it would give the car the highest MSRP in the current Cadillac portfolio.
Now, that is a lot of coin, but the 2014 Cadillac ELR does seem to exemplify the concept of “you get what you pay for.” In this case, for example, standard equipment includes:
- Electrifying modern design that earned the 2014 Cadillac ELR this year’s EyesOn Design Award for Best Production Vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit
- Cabin appointments that rely on handcrafted leather, real wood-grain accents and chrome trim
- Advanced technologies like Cadillac’s CUE infotainment/connectivity system with an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen and navigation
- Driver-assistance features such as GM’s Safety Alert Seat, lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert
- “White-glove customer care,” ranging from a concierge representative to 8-year/100,000-mile battery and propulsion-system warranty
- A national rollout, backed by trained, ELR-certified dealerships in “all major U.S. metropolitan areas”
The party line from Bob Ferguson, senior vice president of Global Cadillac. “The ELR is a unique blend of dramatic design with electric vehicle technology capable of total range in excess of 300 miles. ELR is also unique in that it will be offered nationwide within a luxury customer experience, with proven benefits and care extending from the shopping process all the way through the ownership experience.”
Which brings us to the 2014 Cadillac ELR’s powertrain. Along with the 300-mile overall range, it provides about 35 miles of all-electric, zero-emissions travel. But it’s how the vehicle covers those miles that will be the big difference-maker here.
2014 Cadillac ELR: Driving Details
All the creature comforts and tech toys in the world won’t help sell the 2014 Cadillac ELR if it doesn’t offer a premium driving experience, and while the quality of that experience will have to await seat time in the car, we can glean some clues about what to expect.
First off, it’s notable that Cadillac is quoting a torque output of 295 lb.-ft., as that is a non-negligible 8 percent more than on tap in the Chevy Volt, and the minor differences between the efficiency performance of the two also may indicate the potential for quicker acceleration in the ELR. Consider: The EPA certifies the Volt as having a 38-mile EV driving range and an overall range of 380 miles; the 2014 Cadillac ELR is currently quoted at “about 35 highway miles” with a total range “in excess of 300 miles.” This is completely unfounded speculation on my part, but it would make sense if this showed the Cadillac were swapping some of its green abilities for more in the way of traditional performance results.
Also, like a number of today’s other enthusiast-oriented vehicles, the 2014 Cadillac ELR benefits from upgrades that boost performance without worrying about boosting power. And here we do find a green connection, thanks to Cadillac’s Regen on Demand technology. The system boasts steering-wheel-mounted paddle “shifters” that allow the driver to engage the car’s regenerative-braking capabilities on demand.
Said Chris Thomason, chief engineer for the 2014 Cadillac ELR: “Regen on Demand enables ELR drivers to actively re-capture energy when slowing down, such as when approaching slower traffic or setting up for a tight turn. … Pulling back on the paddle to slow down allows the ELR driver to keep their foot close to the throttle, ready to accelerate.
“It provides a more engaged, satisfying driving experience, and when you consider the added benefit of re-capturing energy, it’s also a smart thing to do.”