Cadillac has struggled to sell the 2014 ELR this year, is now quietly offering around $12,500 in rebates, and discounting, and its 16.5-kwh battery will be replaced with a 17.1-kwh pack like the Chevy Volt just got.
It’s believed this should net an incremental range increase, and might even help MPGe as a similar increase from 16.0 kwh to 16.5 kwh did for the 2013 Volt.
The timing for the ELR’s battery upgrade will be in a few months when the ELR sees its change-over from 2014 model year specificaton to 2015, according to an industry source with knowledge of the matter.
As the General Motors flagship plug-in product, the ELR presently lags behind the Chevy Volt upon which its powertrain is based.
The Volt is now in model year 2015, now has a more powerful battery, while the still-in-production 2014 ELR retains last-year’s pack capacity.
The Volt is near the end of its product life cycle, having been launched as a 2011, but the ELR – questionably timed or not – began its sales life at the beginning of this year.
General Motors said it decided against re-certifying the upgraded Volt with the EPA because it did not think it necessary, but GM does say the Volt ought to have more range – thus the ELR ought to as well, when its pack is upgraded.
“It’s likely that some customers may experience an improvement in [the Volt’s] range over prevous model years,” said GM’s Kevin M. Kelly, manager, Electrification Technology Communications on Tuesday.
GM already uses more of the ELR’s usable energy than it does for the Volt, so there’s a chance ELR range won’t increase – although Kelly offered no comment.
But assuming the ELR gets 0.6-kwh more, it could see its EPA-certified all-electric range increase from 37 miles to maybe 39 miles or so.
Sales An Issue
Cadillac dealer inventories are now high, and calendar year through end of June, the automaker has sold just 390 examples of the $76,000-and-up car.
This lags behind the also flagging, more prestigious, $99,000-plus Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid with its 481 units, not-surprisingly trails 8,615 Volts sold, and looks like next to nothing compared to the estimated 8,200 sales for the Tesla Model S.
Even before the ELR was launched by dealers in January this year, GM received blistering criticism for pricing the ELR – a compact, four seater – for more than double the Volt.
In its defense, the vehicle has a finely appointed interior, latest-spec design language, improved suspension and other components, and as an extended-range EV, it has more electric range than anything except the Volt.
But not only did GM not advertise the Volt’s battery upgrade, GM also is not advertising $12,500 in Cadillac dealer rebates to buyers of the ELR.
Before its price was announced last year, critics and fans alike had guessed the ELR ought to cost in the 50s or 60s.
They were way off, but now it can effectively be had for that – depending also on whether one recoups the entire $7,500 federal tax credit, and perhaps also state incentives for a couple thousand more, or so.
You will not find information about the $12,500 on the official Cadillac ELR Web page, but if you inquire at a dealer, you can learn more.
Also, various dealers around the country are taking it upon themselves to offer a low-priced lease deal. Officially Cadillac’s lease is $699 per month, not bad for a nearly $80,000 car, but dealers asking various amounts down are offering a $499 lease.
Cadillac also throws in a Bosch level two home charging unit, and pays for up to $3,000 in installation costs.
Where Is This Going?
The ELR was based on the 2009 Cadillac Converj, and closely resembles it, albeit as a 2014. It’s based on the Volt, itself a great product, if not also under-appreciated in some circles, and basically, the ELR is a pinnacle above the Volt.
When the Volt is overhauled, possibly for 2016 – though this is not confirmed by GM – the ELR may again look lagging.
Will it carry forward a half year or so as it is now before a redesign, or how will that play out? If it’s a tough sell now costing double the old Volt, how will it fare with the new Volt, and what ever else the competition eventually brings along?
These and more questions are up in the air, but do not be surprised to see the ELR’s battery spec brought up to the Volt come model year changover time.
It is after all, GM’s “tech halo,” so how can they let the Volt upstage it in any way?