If the Chevrolet Volt is about selling the steak, then the Cadiallac ELR is about selling the sizzle; not a rebadged or even reworked Chevrolet Volt as the ELR is an all-new car that uses the Volt’s basic powertrain.
Recharge the battery at home to take you an estimated 35 miles on the battery; four-cylinder gas engine provides electricity once the battery runs out; no range anxiety; eight-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty and 207 total horsepower.
The quick-and-dirty description of the ELR is that it’s Cadillac’s version of the Chevrolet Volt, a fancier example of GM’s advanced electric technology. But this isn’t a case of the company trying to put Cadillac lipstick on a Chevrolet. Far from it. While under the skin, there’s a lot of commonality between the ELR and the Volt, they are wholly different products geared to very different audiences. As of this writing, Cadillac has not announced the price, but the buzz in the automotive trades is somewhere between $55,000 and $70,000, which makes it substantially more than the Volt, of course. The ELR clearly goes way beyond simply providing an electric platform and competent transportation, which are the Volt’s two main claims to fame. The ELR was actually designed to be a “halo” car — a superstar — that show’s Cadillac’s design and technology capabilities. So what’s so great about the ELR? In a word, style. The Volt had to accommodate four people in reasonable comfort and fit strict price constraints, neither of which was much of a factor in the ELR. The ELR is essentially a production version of the Converj Concept, which was the star of the 2009 Detroit auto show. As such, the dramatic angularity of the Converj was completely maintained. More importantly, perhaps, GM seems to have gotten the message that the interior is the last place you want to cut corners and not the first. On the inside, there are two available interior trims, including an optional Opus semi-aniline leather seating package. Real wood trim is prominently featured, along with optional carbon fiber. For tech buffs, there are “eight-inch configurable instrument and driver information displays, offering four configurations ranging from elegantly simple to technologically detailed information,” according to Cadillac. Under the skin, the ELR is powered by a 154-horsepower electric motor (207 total system horsepower), which also puts out 295-pound-feet of torque, right from a standstill. That’s up from the Volt’s 149/273 numbers. The ELR is expected to accelerate to 60 mph (96 km-h) from zero in about 8.0 seconds, which is a full second quicker than the Volt. The ELR has a range on electric-only power of about 35 miles, which is a bit less than the Volt’s, and has a range of more than 300 miles when the gasoline 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine cuts in to act as an electric generator. When you’re done for they day, just plug it in at home for the night and repeat. A full recharge of the ELR’s battery takes about 4.5 hours, depending on ambient temperature, with a 240-volt power source.
Base price (incl. destination): $60,000 (est.)
Type: Two-door luxury coupe
Base engine (hp): 154-horsepower electric motor plus 84-horsepower 1.4-liter DOHC gasoline generator engine; total system output of 207 horsepower
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmission: Single-speed controller
MPG (city/hwy): 95 mpg equivalent in all-electric mode (est.); 35 mpg gas only (est.); 60 mpg combined (est.)
Safety: Front airbags; front-knee airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 4,070