Cadillac is boosting the performance of its ELR coupe even as it cuts the price of the plug-in hybrid in a bid to boost so far anemic sales of the compact battery vehicle.
The 2016 Cadillac ELR will get 25% more torque and horsepower, enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in just 6.4 seconds. At the same time, its base price will dip to $65,995 prior to U.S. federal tax credits of $7,500. Whether that will help move the needle is far from certain, however.
Cutting the price on plug-in electrics is in vogue these days. In fact, GM stablemate Chevy announced yesterday it was cutting the price on the Spark by 6% as well as offering a low-mileage lease of $139 a month. Tesla, perhaps the closest comparison to the ELR in terms of segment, introduced a base model for its Model S lineup with a price that is $10k lower than the next best model in the maker’s line-up. Ford, Hyundai, Kia and BMW have all announced low-priced lease options or prices cuts on their EVs to try to stimulate sales.
The ELR was one of the industry’s slower-selling plug-based models last year, Cadillac moving fewer than 1,500 units. As TheDetroitBureau.com has reported, Caddy plans to continue the plug-in model through the end of its lifecycle, which should run through around 2020. There is no direct replacement planned. Instead, Cadillac will add plug-in versions of other product lines, starting with the new CT6 flagship sedan.
“The upgraded ELR offers enhanced driving performance for buyers seeking uncompromising luxury and exquisite craftsmanship with electrification technology,” Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said in a statement. “It is unique in the luxury category, in that it completely eliminates conventional concerns over driving range, which has been the Achilles’ heel of other competitors in the luxury segment.”
The basic design of the Cadillac ELR will undergo some minor tweaks for 2016. Among other things, the grille will get the simplified Cadillac crest – which has abandoned the long-used wreath.
The powertrain, meanwhile, will see some of the biggest changes. The upgrades battery drive system now will produce 160 kilowatts, or 215 horsepower, or 174 kW and 233 hp when switched to Sport Mode. Torque jumps to 373 pound-feet. At that higher performance level, the new ELR will be able to launch from 0 to 60 1.5 seconds faster than the 2015 model.
Range in electric-only mode remains 39 miles, while the 2016 Cadillac ELR will be able to travel 330 miles by combining its electric drive and range-extending gas engine.
(GM slashes prices of Chevy Spark EV. For more, Click Here.)
While the numbers reflect a significant improvement in performance, Cadillac has pulled that off while continuing to use the same basic driveline – including its 1.4-liter gas engine — and platform as found in the original ELR. That, in turn, was based on the original version of the down-market Chevrolet Volt. The Chevy plug-in will undergo a complete changeover for 2016, with a new driveline and platform that will not be shared with the updated Cadillac ELR.
Other changes to the Caddy battery-car include updates to the ELR’s hyperstrut suspension and steering to enhance handling. It will get more responsive brakes, according to Cadillac, and a new Performance Package will be added.
(Click Here for details on TDBs first drive in the Tesla Model S 70D.)
New technology for 2016 will include an onboard OnStar system offering 4G LTE connectivity and built-in WiFi. Various safety features, including blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert and lane change alert, will come as standard equipment for 2016.
The Cadillac ELR was introduced with much fanfare in late 2013, but the maker sold just 1,310 last year. Sales rose by 70% during the first three months of this year, but still totaled just 311. The Chevy Volt, meanwhile, saw sales slide sharply last year, a decline that continued during the first quarter of 2015.
(To see more about Cadillac’s plans to revamp its line-up, Click Here.)
At the Shanghai Motor Show later this week, Cadillac will announce a plug-in version of the new CT6 sedan. Caddy President de Nysschen has told TheDetroitBureau.com his goal is to add PHEV versions of virtually all the many new models the Detroit maker will launch over the coming half-decade.
But the ELR will not be replaced after the current model winds down, the executive added. Going forward, he explained, Caddy won’t have a unique plug-in platform, unlike Chevrolet.