GM Confirms Production Date for Volt-Like Cadillac ELR

By · October 18, 2012

Cadillac ELR

Production of the Cadillac ELR is set to begin in late 2013.

General Motors is preparing its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly site for production of the Cadillac ELR, a luxury coupe that features the Chevy Volt's extended-range electric technology, General Motors North America President Mark Reuss confirmed on Tuesday.

GM will invest $35 million to prep the site for production of the low-volume ELR, and set a target production date of late 2013. Like the Volt, the ELR will feature an electric propulsion system made up of a T-shaped lithium-ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator. GM claims the ELR will use electricity as its "primary power source," but will seamlessly engage a gasoline-powered electric generator when battery energy is low. The lithium-ion battery will be built at GM’s battery assembly plant in Brownstown, Mich.

Production volume for the two-door, four-seat Cadillac ELR is expected to be relatively low, but as Reuss claimed, "ELR will contribute mightily to the brand momentum of Cadillac." As Reuss stated, "The ELR will be in a class by itself, further proof of our commitment to electric vehicles and advanced technology. People will instantly recognize it as a Cadillac by its distinctive, signature look and true-to-concept exterior design."

GM executives and outside observers have repeatedly second-guessed the company's decision to offer its first extended-range EV as a Chevy (in the form of the Volt), rather a Cadillac. It's believed that the Cadillac luxury brand would have more readily allowed a premium price. As Reuss's statement indicated, the Cadillac ELR will be a low-volume vehicle. When the Volt and its extended-range electric architecture was first unveiled, the company suggested that it would roll out to a range of products, in an effort to reach scale and reduce cost. The choice of a low-volume Cadillac as a follow-up to the Volt reveals the difficulty of ramping up production on a relatively expensive and complex electric drive system—especially considering that GM does not have a robust program for conventional hybrids (with or without a plug).

The production version of the ELR is expected to be unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. GM has yet to reveal pricing, but observers expect it to substantially higher than the Volt—perhaps in the range of $70,000.


· · 5 years ago

A beautiful car but if I was going to spend $70K then I would be looking to stretch a little further to get a Tesla Model S/X.

· · 5 years ago

This may not have come without a cost to the Volt design:
"When asked about what the replacement engine might be, it was said that apparently a new 2.0L turbo has been thoroughly vetted on the platform, and will most likely see its way into production of the Volt (and upcoming Cadillac ELR) ... However, one assumes if the 1.4L is out for a much larger engine, that the electric motor has to go as well." -

· Bret (not verified) · 5 years ago

I'm not a luxury car guy, but the ELR sure is a beautiful design. As Steven has said, they will need to pep up the performance to compete with other cars in its class.

· · 5 years ago

@Bret - This is probably irrelevant for me as well as I hope to soon have a 2013 Volt. But it is not irrelevant to anyone considering a 2014 or beyond Volt. It doesn't sound like down-sizing the electric motor is good news. I was a little concerned about being caught (again) on the bleeding edge with a 2013 in case a Volt with something like this - - came along. But it looks like GM may be reverting to form.

· · 5 years ago

The Volt only goes into parallel hybrid mode under low torque cruising conditions. The acceleration of the Volt depends 100% on the torque of the electric motor. The ELR will obviously get a more powerful electric motor but a more powerful ICE will do little to increase 0-60 times. I suspect the efficiency of the ICE is of greater importance to the ICE engineers. A Miller cycle turbo with direct injection is capable of 40%+ thermal efficiency.

· Bret (not verified) · 5 years ago


I love this diesel / rotary hybrid motor and I hope they can produce models that meet their expected 50% efficiency. There is another interesting engine called the OP-OC from ecoMotors. I works by using two pistons per cylinder. I have always believed lighter more efficient range extenders should be used instead of the current automotive engines that were designed for accelleration.

The big improvment I am waiting for is the Envia battery, which I believe is the next badly needed quantum leap for EVs and EREVs. I am still trying to decide if I should wait three years or take a cheap lease on a Volt or a Leaf in the mean time.

· · 5 years ago

@Bret - Why a cheap lease? (I am on the verge of buying.) I can see it for a LEAF if you don't live in San Francisco or Hawaii, at least until Nissan gets the battery cooling problem straightened out. But from everything I've seen there is no reason to expect any breakthrough battery technology to hit the market for at least the next several years. It has been suggested to me that the way the Volt battery system was designed may well allow it to offer Volt owners the ability to upgrade if there were. And with more capable batteries the importance of the range extender should decrease.

· EVlvr (not verified) · 5 years ago

I think the Gen I Volt may very well be the highest grade, most robust Volt that ever hits the road. GM had to hit a grand slam and could not afford to have their work be scuttled by design issues or parts failures, so they pulled out all the stops and came up with a car that many feel should have carried the Cadillac name.

All the more reason to expect the ELR to be a great car. GM has already done the major work, now it's about tweaking this and that to come up with a fabulous car worthy of the Cadillac name.

It'll be one heck of a halo car, and I wish it success faced up against the premium coupes from BMW and Benz and Audi.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Already thinking about trading the '12 Volt for this honey of a car, but that last line is a killer: $70K
Maybe I'll keep the Volt a few more years.....

· · 5 years ago

People will instantly recognize it as a Cadillac by its distinctive, signature look and true-to-concept exterior design."
I suppose this means tacky, fake radiator grill like the Volt.
Sigh, . . . not a big deal but it illustrates how much trouble Detroit is having coping with change.

· Bret (not verified) · 5 years ago


The reason for a cheap lease is because the technology is going to drastically improve over the next 3-5 years and I don't want to be stuck with the first generation technology. Some people will be happy to drive a Volt or a Leaf for the next 10 years, but I am already looking forward to the next generation of EVs.

I am interested in something like the BMW i3, that has an aluminum frame, carbon panels and tall LRR wheels. If you combine a car like that with the Envia batteries, which are also supposed to be available in 3 years, it would be light years ahead of the Leaf and Volt of today. It would have a 200-300 mile range, which would greatly reduce the need for a range extender. I believe the future EVs need to be built from the ground up, instead of being based on converted ICE vehicles.

· · 5 years ago

I don't know where this $70,000 number is coming from, other than the author's speculation.

@World2Steven "However, one assumes if the 1.4L is out for a much larger engine, that the electric motor has to go as well."

I have no idea what is talking about, unless they are speculating that the electric motor is going to be upgraded.

It is good to see some nice looking EVs coming out now. That can only help EV sales.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 5 years ago

Seeing as other blogs have stated that the 2014 volt will have a new engine (not the atkinson cycle 1400cc currently used), does anyone know whether this new volt engine and the one for the cadillac elr will be the same power level as the current2011-2013 volt engine, or will it be bigger?

· Spec (not verified) · 5 years ago

Putting the Voltec technology into a Caddie is a great idea. They can hide the cost of the battery better in a luxury car. And the luxury car segment should appreciate the extremely quiet ride of driving on electrons.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 5 years ago

ON Steven Reuche (sp?) head of GM North America put the TEASE in that the caddy will "Use the Battery Differently". All We can do is pretty much guess what he meant by that but some reporter could have a lot of fun with that statement, since it was so terse.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland,

I saw the same comment. My first thought was "oh no, I hope they don't water it down". I hope I'm wrong, but by differently I suspect they're going more of the parallel-hybrid route in order to eek out more performance at high speeds.

· · 5 years ago

@Brian Schwerdt,
re: "going more of the parallel-hybrid route"
. . . or perhaps more of a serial-hybrid route in order to save money.
Actually, the only performance metric (other than job security) that the transmission-lovers (Parallel hybrid aficionados) seem to be able to claim is fuel efficiency during cruising under ICE power. Acceleration, EV efficiency, and stop-n-go efficiency should all be about the same or better with a serial topology.

· · 5 years ago


I'm not sold that acceleration, particularly at high speeds (think highway passing), cannot be improved with a parallel topology. It's a well known phenomenon that electric motors loose oomph at high speeds whereas gas motors can often pick up the slack.

· maguro_01 (not verified) · 5 years ago

While the ELR is likely a good looking car, the driver visibility out the back in traffic must be miserable. That rear kickup as fashionable styling is nonsense. Why do we have to make laws to get safe cars? Why?

Recent Cadillac ATS's at the SF Auto Show were attractive also except the Cadillac emblem was oversize to the point of being bling. They used to sell cars with red velvet bordello interiors as well, but not to BMW buyers. They can't have it all ways. The ATS with V6 and 4WD is very interesting, IMO.

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