When the 2014 Cadillac ELR debuted on the North American Worldwide Auto Present in Detroit final yr it briefly knocked the world of electrical automobiles off of its axis. Right here, lastly, was a beautifully-sculpted, battery-powered coupe constructed by a serious automaker beneath the banner of its well-respected luxurious model. It appeared like the longer term had lastly arrived, that the coaching wheels have been off, and that mass-market acceptance of GM’s Voltec EV know-how was mere moments away.
After which, simply a short while later, they revealed the Cadillac ELR’s worth: $75,000, or roughly 2.5 occasions the price of anew Chevrolet Volt with which it shares its drivetrain.
It has been a tailspin of dangerous press and miniscule gross sales ever since for the ELR, a car whose excellent first impression has been overcome by the distaste of premium consumers unwilling to pay supercar cash for a really fairly vehicle that drives nicely however does not match up, performance-wise, with the expectations engendered by its lofty MSRP. After having spent a number of days behind the wheel of the Cadillac ELR, I can solely add my voice to the rising refrain calling for GM to drop the worth of entry for this marvelous electrical coupe in order that greater than only a handful of well-heeled early adopters can expertise its charms.
Every little thing Else Is Superior
Now that I’ve addressed the truth that the 2014 Cadillac ELR is roughly $15,000 too costly to promote in numbers, I can inform you the remainder of the story, which matches roughly like this: the ELR is a tremendous accomplishment. I am keen about the two-door Cadillac for a number of causes, beginning with its beautiful styling which appears lifted immediately from the serotonin glands in my mind after which writ into metallic and glass. From each angle, each close to and much, the Cadillac ELR sears into your retinas by means of the model’s now-fully mature Artwork & Science design language, which greater than a decade after its introduction nonetheless manages to really feel recent and very important. Once you cruise round within the ELR, everybody’s eyes are on you.
Cadillac stylists did not cease once they received to the inside of the ELR, both. Whereas parts of the Chevrolet Voltplatform utilized by the Cadillac may be detected by these accustomed to each automobiles – most notably, the full-length console that runs from front-to-rear within the ELR and sits on prime of its T-shaped battery – one can be hard-pressed to name the coupe by-product in any method. In truth, the ELR has maybe my favourite inside of any Cadillac I’ve lately pushed, with its comfortable, glove-like cockpit, abundance of leather-based and piano-black trim, and a really helpful and configurable LCD gauge show.
CUE Is Entrance And Middle
There’s additionally the Cadillac CUE system making an look as the first interface between the driving force and car methods corresponding to infotainment, communications, and local weather management. Some discover themselves shortly discouraged by CUE’s capacitive contact panels, whereas others are completely snug navigating their method round its numerous options. I discover myself someplace within the center.
Whereas discussing its inside, a word in regards to the 2014 Cadillac ELR’s practicality. It is extraordinarily unlikely that you’re going to discover a full-grown grownup prepared to fold themselves into the compressed form required to spend any time in any respect in one of many coupe’s two rear seats. Whereas the primary two positions within the ELR are cozy, the again buckets aren’t meant to do rather more than haul a couple of additional duffel luggage that did not match within the trunk. I do not see this as a strike towards the Cadillac, as solely a small slice of the automotive’s meant viewers can be utilizing it as their household car of selection.
Refined Electrical Motoring
It is no secret that the 2014 Cadillac ELR has been constructed utilizing the bones of the Chevrolet Volt, GM’s first broad-spectrum business foray into the EV panorama. Do not take that to imply that the ELR is merely a re-bodied Volt, nevertheless, as quite a lot of modifications have been made to the automotive to be able to give it a particular driving character to go together with its distinctive seems to be. Particularly, the Cadillac has been blessed with HiPer entrance struts, which do a superb job curbing torque steer and enhancing street really feel on bigger automobiles just like the Buick LaCrosse, Buick Regal, and Cadillac XTS, and it additionally comes with a revised rear suspension linkage. The Watts setup is not meant to carve corners, however it’s an improve over the Volt.
Park the ELR and Volt side-by-side and you will discover, too, that this can be a greater automotive: virtually 9 inches longer and over two inches wider, elements which feed into the Cadillac’s enhanced stability and smoothness whereas cornering. The truth is, the ‘compact’ ELR is inside 5 inches, when it comes to size, of the first-generation Cadillac CTS, which was the sedan that first launched the Artwork & Science design theme to the world in 2003. My, how we have grown.
Admittedly, the 2014 Cadillac ELR and the Chevrolet Volt do share a really comparable electrical drivetrain, one which makes use of a gas-fired generator to increase the car’s vary by a further 300 miles after its 37 miles of battery-only journey have been exhausted. That is barely much less EV journey than is out there with the Chevrolet, however there is a purpose for the drop, because the ELR gives up 157 horsepower when operating on battery energy alone – eight ponies greater than the Volt – and in the event you’re out of electrical juice and have the generator whirring within the background, then you possibly can pattern a full-system blast of 217 horsepower.
I did not discover an enormous distinction in acceleration between the Volt and the ELR, which is almost certainly because of the truth that each automobiles supply instant-on electrical motor torque that goes a great distance in the direction of disguising off-the-line efficiency. It is value noting that the Cadillac is 300 lbs heavier than the Chevrolet, too, which balances out any perceived positive factors in no matter imaginary quarter mile race the coupe may be operating. The automotive felt assured in each driving state of affairs, and I by no means lacked merging energy once I wanted it.
A number of Drive Modes
The 2014 Cadillac ELR options Tour, Sport, Mountain, and Maintain driving modes. The default Tour was the choice I made probably the most, because it allowed me to drive near 100 miles over the course of three days on battery energy alone. I did not really feel like I needed to child the ELR throughout this time as a way to maximize my vary – I merely drove usually and plugged into my family 110-volt outlet each time the car was parked in entrance of my storage. Sport mode enhances throttle response and prompts the automotive’s variable steering system in a extra aggressive means, whereas Mountain works more durable to cost the ELR’s battery by way of the regenerative braking system and the gas-powered generator.
Maintain is an intriguing addition to the drivetrain that was solely lately gifted to the Volt as nicely. It fires up the genny and retains it operating always with a view to ‘protect’ battery-only driving for a future date. I discussed generator noise in a earlier paragraph, nevertheless it’s minimal: whereas working the automotive in Maintain mode I solely sometimes heard the sounds of inner combustion leaking into the passenger compartment.
Distinctive to the 2014 Cadillac ELR is a paddle-braking function that makes use of steering-wheel mounted flappers to activate the automotive’s regenerative braking system. It isn’t straightforward to get used to this technique of slowing down the automotive, for in contrast to a standard brake pedal, paddle journey does not in any method relate to the quantity of brake being utilized. It is a set ratio that one triggers, as an alternative of manipulates, by holding down one or the opposite paddle, and the shortage of suggestions makes it troublesome to guage at what fee the coupe can be dropping velocity.
Constructing A Bridge
After having seen what might be completed on the earth of pure EVs by Tesla with the excellent Mannequin S sedan, it is clear that automobiles just like the 2014 Cadillac ELR characterize a bridge between plug-in hybrids and the subsequent step in battery-only transportation. With its potential to reduce vary nervousness by means of its gasoline generator, the ELR is the right match for a world the place super-fast electrical charging stations have but to propagate between main city facilities in North America. My expertise in utilizing the Cadillac round city, too, factors out that proscribing one’s journeys to city-specific driving means you will solely not often ever should pay for fuel once more so long as you personal the automotive.
As beautiful because the ELR is, and as nice and cozy as it’s to drive, it is nonetheless a lot too costly to be significantly thought-about alongside equally-pricy, but higher-performing fashions just like the Tesla Mannequin S. It’s, nevertheless, a mainstream electrical automotive that is backed by an precise supplier community that stretches from sea to shining sea, which is not a declare that upstart Tesla could make about its personal EV entry. Cost us a premium over the Volt, Cadillac, however make it one which extra individuals can abdomen and you will clear out that extra ELR stock in a rush.