Even though the Cadillac ELR has only been on the market for less than a year, Edmunds reports that a revised version of the luxury plug-in could debut at November’s LA Auto Show. What can GM do to make its Tesla competitor more…competitive?
There’s a long list of common complaints from reviewers have not been kind to the Cadillac ELR. The most common criticism centers on the $76,000 starting price, but reviewers have also taken issue with the 2+2 seating arrangement, big and heavy doors, and so-so performance. The 4,070-lb curb weight doesn’t help the “sporty” plug-in coupe feel all that sporty, while the 207 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque from the electric motor has been mostly described as adequate, but hardly thrilling. It’s not all bad though; most people agree the ELR is a handsome car inside and out, and it’s HiPer suspension system delivers incredible ride comfort, Also, as Cadillac’s first plug-in car ever, it at least shows that GM’s heart is in the right place.
The automaker isn’t saying anything beyond “engineering enhancements” will be applied to the 2016 Cadillac ELR (there will be no 2015 model), so what can the General do to increase the appeal of the ELR? One thing that has helped sales rise and inventory fall have been incentives totalling $20,000 or more. Everybody knows the ELR is based on the $35,000 Chevy Volt, and the ELR just isn’t worth the $41,000 price premium GM tacked on.
As far as actual mechanical changes go, there are one of two things GM can do with relative ease that would make the ELR stand out; increase the performance of both the motor and the battery. An ELR with a 50-mile electric range would represent about a 40% increase in range over the Volt, and would allow drivers to make about 90% of their daily driving trips without ever tapping into the gas tank.
A more powerful electric motor could also breathe some life into the tremendously heavy coupe; consider that the Tesla Model S only weighs (at its heaviest) about 500 pounds more, but offers twice as much horsepower (up to 416 ponies). This allows the Tesla to keep pace with the BMW i8 hybrid supercar, both of which sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in about 4 seconds. Meanwhile the ELR has the same acceleration as the more-pedestrian BMW i3, an EV that also benefits from rear-wheel drive compared the the ELR’s front-drive setup.
More power and more electric driving range are the two things I hope the 2016 Cadillac ELR brings to the table. Besides a lower price, what else could GM do to make the ELR a better car?
Image: Chris DeMorro/GAS2