• Cadillac EV

Detroit Auto Show: Cadillac Reveals Electric SUV, To Lead GM EV Push

The First Of 10 Or More New Electric Vehicles from General Motors

In an investor conference call last Friday, General Motors announced that Cadillac will become the “lead electric vehicle brand” and get a vehicle based on the automaker’s BEV3 platform. That global electric vehicle platform will provide the underpinnings for the yet-to-be-named Cadillac EV’s expected launch in 2021 and be the basis for 10 or more vehicles.

A Big Surprise

Two nights later, on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show, during a media event to introduce the 2020 Cadillac XT6, a three-row crossover utility vehicle, Cadillac surprised the media with a first look at an upcoming electric crossover SUV, perhaps the first of many electric vehicles to come for the marque. Everyone expected to see an EV unveiled soon, just not this soon.

Cadillac EV

It’s only a rendering, but it looks ready to go

Presented in renderings, the EV’s name and specific details regarding its powertrain and range will be revealed closer to an also yet-unspecified launch window. Cadillac president Steve Carlisle said the battery-powered utility would be the first vehicle derived from GM’s future dedicated electric-vehicle platform.

 “While I can’t divulge all of our secrets,” Carlisle told assembled media, “I can tell you it will be sold globally and will arrive as the vanguard of the product wave that follows our current three-year product assault.”

Even though driving range of the upcoming electric crossover wasn’t revealed, GM CEO Mary Barra recently said the company has determined that the sweet spot for range is 300 miles, and company president Mark Reuss, who most recently headed product development, said that is the target for all the company’s upcoming electric vehicles.

A Versitile Vehicle Platform

The BEV3 platform, GM said, will allow the company “to respond quickly to customer preferences with a relatively short design and development lead time” due to its flexibility and variability. Cadillac is expected to benefit from the various body styles that can easily and quickly be spun off the basic architecture, which is similar in concept to the GM Autonomy “skateboard” chassis it debuted in 2002.

The underpingings can accommodate front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive configurations, and the battery system output can be varied depending on the specific vehicle and the needs of its buyers. The platform can support a variety of battery sizes through an “ice-tray” like battery pack that can be filled with as many or as few battery cells as the automaker wants.

Classic Cadillac Styling

The renderings show an attractive, angular, upright vehicle that stretches some of Cadillac’s styling cues. Unlike other all-electric vehicles with a blunt front end, there’s a giant trapezoid grille at the front, with a glowing logo. The headlights are thin horizontal slits; the daytime running lights are tall and vertical in what design chief Andrew Smith said will be the new face of Cadillac.

Cadillac EV

Two years away, the Cadillac EV will join a crowded field

Inside the five-passenger electric SUV is a square steering wheel that retracts into the dashboard to herald the eventual age of fully autonomous driving (which GM’s Cruise division is working on). A digital screen extends across the entire dash and large screens on the backs of the front seats can entertain those in the second row. Like most concept vehicles, many of the razzle dazzle features won’t make it to the production model

Plenty Of Competitors

This will be the first pure-electric vehicle for Cadillac, which has had the CT6 and ELR plug-in hybrids. Chevrolet has the Bolt EV, which consumers have been slow to embrace. Sales fell 23 percent in 2018 to 18,019.

While some are saying this Cadillac EV is a Tesla Model X fighter, an EV crossover would also match up well against other luxury brands’ new electric offerings, such as Audi’s E-tron, Mercedes-Benz’s EQC, BMW’s iNext and Jaguar’s I-Pace.

Carlisle credited Tesla for popularizing electric vehicles and making everyone else up their game. Across its lineup, Cadillac will introduce six new vehicles in the next three years, one of which will be this unnamed electric crossover SUV.

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About Author: Larry E. Hall

Larry E. Hall is the Editor-At-Large at Clean Fleet Report. His interest and passion for automobiles began at age 7, cleaning engine parts for his father, a fleet manager for a regional bakery. He has written about cars and the automobile industry for more than 25 years and has focused his attention on “green” cars and advanced technology vehicles. Larry’s articles have been published by Microsoft’s MSNBC.com and MSN Autos as their alternative vehicles correspondent, and is currently the Senior Editor at HybridCars.com. His work has appeared in metro and suburban newspapers as well as business publications and trade journals. He is the founding president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association and a member of the Motor Press Guild. Larry lives and drives in Olympia Wa. with his wife, Lynne, who shares his passion for cars.

4 thoughts on “Detroit Auto Show: Cadillac Reveals Electric SUV, To Lead GM EV Push

  1. Samuel Salamay
    January 16, 2019 at 6:57 am

    Let’s hope GM markets this “right” this time. I own a 2016 ELR and GM forgot all about us.

    • January 16, 2019 at 9:59 am

      @Samuel,
      We can only hope. We loved the ELR, too, but saw little marketing done with it before it was abandoned. Third time’s a charm? (after the CT6 here & gone, too). –ed.

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