General Motors has big plans for battery power, and Cadillac is positioned to lead that drive, the luxury brand set to convert most, if not all, of its line-up to use all-electric drivelines by 2030.
- Caddy’s first all-electric model, an SUV, debuts next year.
- A compact electric SUV targeting China follows.
- Cadillac BEVs will emphasize performance, something expected to appeal to luxury buyers.
GM plans to roll out 20 pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, by 2023, a Caddy SUV debuting in 2020. In an interview with Reuters, Cadillac President Steve Carlisle noted a compact battery-BEV crossover will debut in China in 2022. That will be critical because regulators there will require 20 percent of all vehicles sold by 2025 use plug power, a figure they are expected to raise to 25 percent.
The compact crossover will come to the U.S. in 2023, according to Carlisle, going into production at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant which is set for a $3 billion makeover.
A battery-powered version of the marque’s full-sized Escalade also is apparently in the works. Currently, the SUV is the only Caddy product using a traditional name, one Carlisle described as “awesome,” hinting the brand will phase out its unloved alphanumeric nomenclature.
The Caddy Escalade is expected to also go electric — and usher in a return to classic Cadillac names, rather than the current alphanumeric nomenclature. (Photo: GM.)
“None of us knows how quickly the transition (from gas to electric propulsion) will take place,” cautioned Carlisle, noting several obstacles remain. The higher cost of battery power isn’t expected to impact luxury brands as much as mainstream marques. But range is still an issue, the executive saying Caddy will initially target 300 miles while, longer-term, “you need to be at 40. Charging times also have to come much closer to what today’s customers expect from gas-powered vehicles.
Separately, Rick Spina, GM’s head of electrification, recently told Ride GM will emphasize performance with future BEVs, taking advantage of the high torque of electric motors. That will be particularly important in the luxury segment, Spina said.
WHY THIS MATTERS
GM is launching one of the industry’s most aggressive electrification programs. Luxury brands, in general, are expected to lead the push, so Caddy will spearhead the transition for the Detroit automaker.