GM takes the Voltec range-extender electric-hybrid power train that underpins the Chevrolet Volt and wraps it in sexier sheet metal. The result is the 2014 Cadillac ELR coupe, which debuted at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show today.
Like the Chevrolet Volt, the 2014 ELR will be able to travel up to about 35 to 40 miles on silent electric power supplied by its T-shaped 16.5 kWh lithium ion battery pack that runs the length of the vehicle. Once the battery is depleted, the 1.4-liter gasoline engine springs to life, generating electricity to keep the electric motor turning for over 300 miles more.
The ELR features a highly stylized front end that makes use of the automaker's Art & Science design language. Vertical LED headlights sit jewel-like at the vehicle's corners. The large chrome grille is mostly sealed off due to the reduced cooling required by its electrified power train.
The ELR may look like a slick sports car, but this front-wheel-drive coupe has a decidedly eco mission. That said, 295 pound-feet of electric torque and 207 horsepower from the electric motor is nothing to sniff at.
The ELR also shares its basic suspension setup with the Volt: MacPherson struts up front and a semi-independent rear compound-crank suspension. However, the devil is in the details. The ELR has a slightly longer wheelbase and a slightly wider track on both axles than the Volt. The individual suspension components and steering ratios have also been tweaked to ideally give the ELR a more supple ride that is also grippier in the corners.
One place that the ELR improves over the Volt is in the interior, which is massively better looking than the half-baked Volt cabin. The Cadillac's handsome cockpit presents the driver with leather, wood, and carbon fiber.
Atop the center stack, which is, regrettably, still composed primarily of glossy black plastic, sits the 8-inch capacitive touch screen for the Cue infotainment system. We saw a version of this system in action in the Cadillac XTS.
Cadillac states that it is beginning ELR production in the United States in late 2013 with the first models hitting dealerships in early 2014. With the North American launch under its belt, the automaker will be expanding to China, Europe, and other global markets.