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Detroit show: Cadillac finally to get its ‘Volt’

Finally plugged in: Cadillac’s ELR range-extender coupe is based on the Converj concept shown three years ago.

Volt-based Cadillac ELR petrol-electric coupe teased ahead of Detroit reveal

19 Dec 2012

CADILLAC’S belated coupe version of General Motor’s range-extender Volt will make its debut at the Detroit motor show in January ahead of production start up in late 2013.

To be called Cadillac ELR, the wedge-shaped two-door petrol-electric eco-mobile has been teased in an image that shows the production version should be largely faithful to the Converj concept shown by GM’s luxury brand at the same show in 2009.

However, GM says the ELR “will advance the design theme” of the original Converj that was voted the best concept at the 2009 show.

The Cadillac ELR – to become Cadillac’s smallest model – will be made at the same Detroit-Hamtramck plant as the five-door Chevrolet-Holden Volt hatch and its Opel-Vauxhall spin-off, Ampera.

The Cadillac ELR reportedly was a pet project of former GM vice chairman Bob Lutz, but it has taken years to get it off the ground in the wake of the global financial crisis and reorganisation of GM.

As powertrain specifics have been held back until the show appearance, it is unclear if the ELR will have the same power, torque and all-electric range as the Volt or if it will be stepped up a notch to suit the car’s luxo-sporty pretensions.

163 center imageLeft: Cadillac Converj concept.

The front-wheel-drive Volt uses a combination of 111kW/370Nm 1.4-litre petrol engine and 55kW electric motor, driving at all times on electric power. The Volt can cover up to 87km on electric power – depending on driving style and terrain – before the petrol engine kicks in to drive a generator for more electricity and a total driving range of more than 600km.

The Volt’s T-shaped lithium-ion battery stores 16.5kWh of electricity, and can be charged in under six hours on a standard 10-amp household power point or under four hours on a 15-amp socket.

Like the Volt, the Cadillac ELR will sit on the same Delta II platform as the Cruze and Opel Astra, but with major modifications to house the battery under the vehicle.

Because the battery occupies the so-called ‘transmission tunnel’ running the length of the cabin, the ELR – like the Volt – is expected to be a 2+2 four seater, with two rear seats split by the raised battery housing.

General Motors North America president Mark Reuss said the ELR would be in a class of its own, and further proof of GM’s commitment to electric vehicles and advanced technology.

“People will instantly recognise it as a Cadillac by its distinctive, signature look and true-to-concept exterior design,” he said.

So far, the Cadillac ELR has cost $US562 million ($A533 million), including $35 million to bring it into production at Hamtramck where it becomes the first two-door Cadillac built there since the 1999 Eldorado.

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