The Cadillac Celestiq will take General Motors forward into the past. In a return to the days when the most exclusive luxury products featured hand-built coachwork bodies, the low and sleek sedan will allow extensive customization.
But what will become the brand’s new flagship is no retromobile, certainly not with its high-performance battery drive and onboard infotainment and other technologies that might look like they were borrowed from a science fiction film.
The Celestiq was one of nearly a dozen new, all-electric models General Motors revealed during a media backgrounder on Wednesday that lifted the corporate kimono to offer insights into the automaker’s expansive electrification program. All told, GM plans to invest about $20 billion between 2020 and 2025 on EVs, as well as autonomous vehicles, CEO Mary Barra revealed during the presentation.
Barra confirmed plans to roll out 20 battery-electric vehicles by 2023, but she also announced that there will be “many more” in the years to follow, including the Caddy Celestiq.
More significantly, GM President Mark Reuss said the automaker plans to offer BEVs through every one of its brands, in every product segment and size, and from affordable price segments all the way up to what is expected to be the significant, six-figure asking price for the Celestiq.
There had been a fair amount of skepticism about GM’s EV plans considering it has not rolled out an all-new, all-electric model since the debut of the Chevrolet Bolt EV during the 2017 model year. But that’s about to change, and fast. Here’s a look at some of the products GM has confirmed:
- The mid-luxury brand showed off two new SUVs, including a smaller, more athletic one aimed at young buyers and empty nesters. While just clay models, a GM designer noted that both will feature blended digital gauge and infotainment screens totaling about 30 inches in width.
- The second Buick model appears aimed at families needing more room. It also will get the big video display hardware. Both models are primarily aimed at China, Buick’s biggest market, but could come to the SUV-crazed U.S., as well.
- There’s the Celestiq, for one. “Cadillac once defined Luxury and innovation and it will do that again,” proclaimed Reuss, promising the ultra-premium sport sedan will feature breakthrough infotainment and other technologies. This will be hand-built and an extremely limited production run.
- The Lyriq will debut next month and will be one of the first of the new GM BEVs to come to market. It will feature a wide combo gauge and infotainment display and introduce the new “face” of Cadillac which will return to the vertical lighting the brand was known for.
- An all-electric Escalade? “Not yet,” said Reuss, hinting this massive, electric SUV may eventually take the place of the current flagship of Caddy’s sport-utility vehicle line-up. It will feature, among other things, a full, pillar-to-pillar video display, with smaller screens throughout.
- Chevrolet Bolt EUV. The current Bolt got a range extension for 2020 and will get some more updates shortly. But the big news is the arrival of a stretched version, which adds another three inches, next year.
- An unnamed Chevrolet SUV was also on display, something that would target buyers looking for an all-electric alternative to the popular compact Equinox model.
- A planned Chevrolet pickup was a no-show, but GM officials did confirm it is in the works.
- The Hummer that was teased with an ad during the recent Super Bowl actually will come in two forms. The first will be the pickup, or SUT, short for Sport-Utility Truck. It will make its formal debut on May 20 and be the next battery vehicle GM brings to market.
- The Hummer SUV will be, as its name implies, a sport-ute more in-line with the Hummers of yore – albeit with a pure electric drivetrain. Both SUT and SUV will be offered in various configurations, including one with a three-motor drive system producing 1,000 horsepower.
During the presentation, GM officials noted the new Ultium battery the company is developing will allow packs of anywhere from 50 to 200 kilowatt-hours and ranges running up to 400 miles. Various motor configurations will permit front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive layouts and power up to the 1,000 hp package for the Hummer.
All models will get new and much larger digital gauge clusters and infotainment screens, some running the full width of the vehicle.
While some of the products will be targeted at specific markets, like the Buick SUVs revealed on Wednesday, “All (will be) capable of being brought here” to the U.S., said Reuss.
GM expects to see a sizable increase in EV demand – targeting 1 million annual sales on its part, by the latter part of the decade.
Depending upon how fast demand does ramp up, don’t be surprised to see some of these and other BEVs to follow fully replace existing gas-powered model lines.