Many in the automotive media world have questioned why GM produced the Chevy Volt as, well, a Chevy. Wouldn’t a high-tech, high-priced car like the Volt be better positioned as a Cadillac? Well we will get our answer in about a year, as GM has confirmed a few key facts about the Volt-based Cadillac ELR, including a production date of late 2013.
Much has been written about the Cadillac ELR, formerly known as the Cadillac Converj concept. It is known that the Chevy Volt Voltec drivetrain will serve as a basis for the Cadillac ELR, but there was question as to whether it would be front or rear-wheel drive.
Alas, despite my hopes, GM has confirmed that the ELR will be front-wheel drive. Disappointing, but not unexpected given the front-wheel drive chassis of the Volt. But the Cadillac ELR will be a coupe, a bold but good move in my opinion. While a coupe lacks the versatility of a four-door sedan, it gives designers more freedom to design a better-looking car. Spy photos of the Cadillac ELR reveal a much sportier-looking car than the Volt.
The Cadillac ELR will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, where the Volt is also built. GM is investing $35 million into the plant to bring it up to speed for the extra production, which is slated to begin in late 2013.
If I were a betting man, I’d wager that GM is planning to roll out the Volt 2.0 before then, and the Cadillac ELR will use that improved drivetrain with more range rather than the 35 miles-ish most drivers get from the current setup. Pricing is said to be in the $60,000 range.
Industry historians will no doubt debate the wisdom of building a Chevy versus a Cadillac plug-in hybrid for years to come, but there is no going back now. Will the Cadillac ELR do better than its Chevy cousin?