2014 Cadillac ELR Not A Cheap Green Ride

GM luxury division Cadillac has announced pricing and availability plans for its forthcoming 2014 ELR extended-range electric vehicle. This higher end cousin to the Chevy Volt, offering up a total driving range of over 300 miles, will hit Cadillac showrooms in January in all major U.S. metropolitan areas for around $76,000 starting.

Seen by some as being a competitor to the Tesla Model S, the Cadillac ELR is more akin to a plug-in hybrid in nature, and less a true electric vehicle. It is driven by a combination of a

pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending 1.4L gasoline-powered electric generator. A T-shaped, 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is located along the centerline of the vehicle, between the front and rear wheels to make the most of weight distribution. The pack supplies energy to an advanced electric drive unit to propel the vehicle.

Much like the Volt, when the ELR’s electric battery is nearly depleted the generator kicks in to recharge it. Also helping to keep energy in the battery is a unique spin on the brake regeneration technology seen in so many green cars. Known as Regen on Demand, the driver first removes his or her foot off the accelerator. The car begins to coast. The driver then toggles the paddle shifters on the steering wheel to activate the system. (In most autos, paddle shifters are used to manually row through the gears in the transmission.) Regen on Demand starts converting the kinetic energy into electricity. According to Cadillac the system, when turned on, makes the ELR driving experience feel something like downshifting in a manual-transmission vehicle.

2014 Cadillac ELR at 2013 Detroit Auto Show (image copyright EarthTechling)

2014 Cadillac ELR at 2013 Detroit Auto Show (image copyright EarthTechling)

The batteries of the car can also be recharged through a standard 120 V outlet, which takes around 12 hours to reach full capacity, or through a dedicated, 240 V charger, which cuts recharge time to roughly 4 – 5 hours. With a fully charged battery, said Cadillac, the vehicle’s initial range before the extender comes into play is about 35 highway miles, or 82 MPGe, of electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and ambient temperature. Official EPA estimates are not yet available.

With regard to the high pricing, the vehicle is targeted towards technology-driven luxury buyers, and it is Cadillac after all, so there’s no real big surprise here. What might help is the fact the ELR qualifies for a federal tax credit up to $7,500. Net pricing after tax credits could be as low as $68,495, including a $995 destination fee.

The ELR comes equipped with standard advanced technology features such as Cadillac CUE with navigation accessible through a large, eight-inch, full-color capacitive-touch screen, light-emitting diode, or  LED, front and rear exterior lighting, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert and the Safety Alert Seat. Interior touches include handcrafted leather complemented by authentic wood grain and chrome trim.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.