General Motors Drops Price on Cadillac ELR and Spark EV

By · April 16, 2015

2016 Cadillac ELR

2016 Cadillac ELR

General Motors announced this week that it’s dropping the price of the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid by $9,000 and the Chevrolet Spark Electric by $1,500. This is a continuation of an industry-wide trend of lowering sticker prices for plug-in cars.

Cadillac said that the 2016 ELR will sell for $65,995—compared to the previous price of $75,000. These prices do not include a $995 destination fee. The ELR shares most of its technical elements with the current Chevy Volt. Whereas the Volt is a small hatchback, the ELR is a low and angular luxury coupe.

The drop in price coincides with enhancements to the ELR, such as a 25-percent increase in power and acceleration, as well as adjustments to suspension, steering and braking for better handling. The 2016 ELR has a modified Sport mode that uses a combination of power from the gas engine and electric motor to move the ELR from 0-60 in 6.4 seconds, a 1.5 second improvement from the current model.

For 2016, Driver Assistance safety systems, such as alerts for blind zones, cross-traffic and lane changes are standard. These features were previously optional. Adaptive cruise control, a $2,000 item, remains an option.

In the 2016 model, the all-electric range nudges up to 39 miles, from the previous 37 miles. The optional Performance Package, which adds a thicker sport steering wheel and Brembo brake calipers, reduces EV range by about four miles as a result of the enhanced grip of the 20-inch summer-only tires. The 2016 ELR offers OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspots.

An Attractive Lease for Spark EV

Chevy Spark EV

Chevy Spark EV

GM also announced this week that the base model of the Chevy Spark EV will be cut to $25,995. The lease pricing is more dramatically reduced to $139 a month—for 39 months with no deposit at signing. That’s a drop from $199 a month and $999 at signing. The Spark EV, which provides 82 miles of range on a single charge, is only available in California and Oregon. Select dealerships in Maryland will be added in mid-2015.

GM is sweetening the deal on the Spark EV by offering Chevrolet “bonus cash” at these levels: $3,500 in Oregon, $1,200 in Maryland, and $1,000 in California. Depending on your location, and the availability of the cash incentives, the price of the Spark EV will come close to the $23,800 Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the $25,700 Smart Electric Drive—the least expensive electric cars on the market.

The driving dynamics and range of the Smart and Mitsubishi generally get lower scores than the Spark EV, which offers an impressive 400 foot-pounds of torque. Chevy is planning to introduce an affordable 200-mile electric car in about two years, leaving the fate (and future pricing) of the Spark to some degree of uncertainty.

“The Chevrolet Spark EV is helping us reach new buyers in critical markets like Los Angeles,” said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet Car and Crossover Marketing. “Spark EV owners recognize the car as an opportunity to drive an all-electric vehicle that fits their budget and lifestyle.” The Spark EV has an EPA-estimated combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 119 MPGe.

Sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids are essentially flat this year. In 2014, GM sold about 110 units of the Cadillac ELR on average per month. In the first three months of 2015, sales slightly dropped to about 104 per month. The Spark EV, which is currently only offered in California and Oregon, sells at nearly the same rate—95 units per month in 2014, and 119 so far per month on average in 2015. These levels are eclipsed by the Nissan LEAF, which sold in 2014 at a clip of about 2,500 units per month. In 2014, the Chevy Volt sold at about 1,600 units per month.

This week, GM also published the online order and reference guide for the 2016 version of the Chevy Volt. The 2016 model is due in the second half of 2015. Pricing is still not available for the 2016 Volt. The guide suggests that the most affordable base 2016 Volt, with limited features, will be aggressively priced, with costs rising with a long list of optional features.

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