Cadillac's been making large luxury cars for a long time. And their newest one is a little different, because it plugs in and can drive on battery power.
"From our range, we're actually better than some of our competitors," said Lyndon Lie, chief engineer for the Cadillac CT6. "Against some of them we double the range, which for most people on their daily commute they could drive back and forth to work on electric only."
Officially from the EPA, 31 miles is the estimate for driving on battery power alone. Base price for the car is about $75,000, but Cadillac says it does qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. There may also be state and local incentives for buyers.
The CT6 Plug-In isn't really a first for Cadillac in terms of electrified vehicles. The ill-fated ELR coupe (2014-2016) was a more expensive, less practical variant of the Chevy Volt. With a sticker price of nearly $80,000 and a very small rear seat, it pretty much flopped in the marketplace. Cadillac sold fewer than 3,000 ELR's during its three model years.
This time around, we get another hybrid choice in the U.S. from Cadillac because of another place: China, where the car is also sold, and where they're increasingly aware of the environment.
"They're trying to cut down pollution there, as pollution is a really big deal. So they have electric-only areas in cities, so we developed this car for both the U.S. and for China," remarked Cadillac's Lyndon Lie.
And California is another hospitable place for a model like this. Cars that plug in tend to do well here.
Other large vehicles have recently gotten the plug-in hybrid treatment too, including Volvo's XC90 SUV, and Chrysler's Pacifica minivan, which is finally going into production after a lengthy delay.
One thing that's noticeable right off the bat about the new CT6 Plug-In is how quiet it is in electric mode, even quieter than the already quiet conventional CT6. That's just one advantage, in addition to producing a lower carbon footprint and saving an owner on fuel costs.
But in the grand scheme of things for Cadillac and other auto makers, this car is about helping to get their mileage numbers up, today and in the future. And plug-in battery power can help greatly. The regular CT6 2.0 liter is rated at 25 MPG overall, while the plug-in bumps the MPGe (the added "e" stands for equivalent) up to 62.
For other plug-in hybrids, the Volvo XC90 goes from 25 MPG to 54 MPGe, and the Chrysler Pacifica climbs from a so-so 22 MPG, to an impressive 84 MPGe.
One downside for choosing plug-in hybrid Cadillac CT6 over the conventional one is reduced trunk space due to the hybrid battery. It takes up the forward portion of the trunk's interior, and eliminates the fold-down rear seat function.
But if you can live with that small annoyance, you'll get to drive a big Caddy around, without gasoline. At least for short trips.
Cadillac now offering plug-in hybrid luxury sedan CT6