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Shanghai show: Cadillac plugs in with CT6

General electric: Cadillac's new CT6 sedan will be offered as a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid, the first of its kind from the American luxury marque.

Plug-in hybrid version of Cadillac's Aussie-designed CT6 limo to be built in China

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20 Apr 2015

CADILLAC will produce a plug-in hybrid version of its new Australian-designed CT6 flagship sedan in China that will be capable of sipping just 2.0 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.

To be built at the Shanghai GM Cadillac plant in Pudong Jinqiao, China, the luxury brand's first PHEV will offer an electric-only range of more than 60km, and it will qualify for the country's recently outlined energy vehicle regulations and incentives.

Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen highlighted the technological advancements of the CT6 PHEV, adding that it would offer a mix of performance and fuel efficiency.

“The first-ever CT6 is a technological showcase throughout, making it an ideal platform for Cadillac to offer its first plug-in hybrid,” he said.

“In the CT6, Cadillac presents a new formula for prestige luxury. The advanced Plug-In Hybrid system is a key addition providing a combination of exceptional fuel economy, crisp acceleration and strong electric driving range.”

The Cadillac CT6, which made its debut at the New York motor show earlier this month, was penned by a team of designers led by Australian former Holden stylist Andrew Smith, who was named executive director for Cadillac and Buick Global Design in 2013.

It will be built on GM's new Omega rear-drive architecture that will underpin other GM models, potentially including a production version of the Aussie-designed Buick Avenir that was revealed at this year's Detroit show.

As GoAuto reported earlier this month, Cadillac is eyeing an Australian roll-out within a decade, after aborting plans to launch here in 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

Mr de Nysschen told GoAuto at the New York show that if Cadillac was to expand into right-hand drive production, it would make financial sense to include a number of countries beyond the United Kingdom.

“If you want to invest in generating right-hand driver variants of your cars, you will never finance it with UK volume alone,” he said. “So where else do we find right-hand drive volume? Japan, Australia, South East Asia and South Africa.

“So it’s definitely in the plan, but in terms of time horizon, I would estimate probably seven or eight years out.” The CT6 PHEV matches a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an 18.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack housed between the rear seat and the boot.

General Motors' luxury offshoot said in a statement that the battery system is made up of 192 prismatic pouch cells, and that it uses an active thermal control system that helps maintain electric range for the life of the battery.

A 220-volt charger can charge the battery system.

The rear-wheel drive CT6 uses an electric variable transmission and features two “exclusively-designed” motors, which the American car-maker says provides “smooth and seamless power through the entire driving range”.

Total output for the powertrain is 250kW and 586Nm, which is in the vicinity of the regular CT6 that is powered by an all-new 298kW/543Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, but the PHEV's official Chinese-cycle fuel consumption of about 2.0L/100km will almost certainly undercut its petrol-powered sibling.

An “iBooster and ESP-hev” regenerative braking system is included on the electrified CT6, which assists in slowing the vehicle as well as capturing as much kinetic energy as possible. Cadillac says this will provide “improved brake pedal feel” while providing more opportunity for the idle-stop system to kick in.

Drivers can select from three driving modes, including Normal for everyday commuting, Sport that alters steering response and pedal mapping for a boost in take-off feel, and Hold which allows drivers to determine when the petrol engine is used.

The CT6 PHEV is latest vehicle produced by GM to use hybrid or electric technology, following on from the Chevrolet/Holden Volt/Opel/Vauxhall Ampera, the pure-electric Chevrolet Spark and the Volt-based Cadillac ELR.

Chevrolet ripped the covers off its Australian designed all-electric Bolt city car concept at this year's Detroit motor show, which has been given the green light for production.

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