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Cadillac ELR has functional sporty feel

The new Cadillac ELR combines electric and gasoline, and also has a striking sporty appeal.
January 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
America's oldest luxury car brand is getting greener. The new Cadillac ELR combines electric and gasoline, and also has a striking sporty appeal.

The new 2014 Cadillac ELR is very sleek, a two-door that looks like a high-tech sports car. But it's also an electric vehicle, able to get around on a battery charge for about 35 miles.

After that, a gasoline engine kicks in, keeping the juice flowing and allowing you to drive it anywhere you'd like.

If this sounds familiar, it's because the new Cadillac ELR uses essentially the same power system as the Chevrolet Volt.

General Motors spent millions developing and refining the combination of electric motor, battery pack, and the engine-generator. So it makes sense to spread the technology and the fuel economy around.

"With CAFE standards, everyone has to worry about getting that overall EPA rating up, and this is one way to do it, and it's actually a great way to do it," said Mark Takahashi of Edmunds.com.

As a Cadillac, the luxury and equipment level go way up. From the massive 20 inch wheels and tires to an interior is full of premium materials.

But, there's a premium sticker price too: $75,000 before options. With them, it can top $80,000.

The ELR uses the same basic power train as the Chevy Volt, but GM has priced it twice as much as the Volt. Are they crazy? Well, maybe not. They're probably noticing all the people who are paying up to and above $100,000 for a Tesla Model S, and waiting in line to get them.

The editors at Edmunds.com have been long-term testing a Tesla model, and its total price was $110,000.

So can Cadillac ride on Tesla's eco-upscale coattails?

The ELR, like other electric vehicles, qualifies for government rebates, so the price is more like mid-60s by the time those are applied. Like other plug-ins, it also qualifies for a carpool lane sticker.

This could be a big hit for General Motors - if it turns out that American buyers ready for an electric Cadillac, a fairly expensive electric Cadillac.


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