This week Cadillac revealed its flagship CT6, it’s believed news of a plug-in hybrid version will be forthcoming later this month, and this is to be the first of several new plug-in electrified Cadillacs to come this decade.
The automaker is revamping its product assortment, and General Motors’ premium brand is planning for electrification in new models to come.
“We will roll out plug-in hybrids across our portfolio,” Cadillac brand president Johan de Nysschen said in an interview with Bloomberg at the New York auto show this week. “It’s part of confirming the progressive nature of the brand.”
As German automakers Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi are also doing, Cadillac will offer vehicles to project its presence in various global markets and build technological credentials while it is at it.
Plug-in technology – be it all-electric like Tesla, or plug-in hybrid like BMW’s i8 – is perceptibly chic to some in the general public, and part of being able to lay claim to bona fide prestige is being seen on the cusp of the technological frontier.
Cadillac is investing $12 billion in a protracted plan to spiff up its brand – a move which included relocating as a separate business unit from GM to New York which new boss de Nysschen convinced GM’s leadership was necessary to touch the pulse of the cosmopolitan societal center.
de Nysschen has also said the company’s Chevy Volt-based ELR compact coupe will not be one of the new plug-in hybrids expected to adorn the product selection as Cadillac polishes its image.
That design harkening back to 2009 and built for 2014 has been strike one for the brand in the sales arena, while at the same time attracting buyers to its looks, and the fact its 37-mile electric range is highest next only to the Volt.
The ELR is expected to see a revision for 2016 but this still-first-geeneration product will not see a second full redesign, de Nysschen said this week.
Driving the plug-in electrified vehicle market – aside from California which last year accounted for 50-percent of U.S. sales – is also-aspiring China.
California actually purchased more plug-in electrified vehicles than China during 2014, but the potential of the world’s largest nation, and already largest general car market has caught the attention of automakers.
In China, one requirement is plug-in hybrids meet a minimum 50 kilometer (31 mile) electric range, said GM’s Pam Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer for electrified vehicles, in an interview with HybridCars.com this week in New York.
China is a major market driver not just for Cadillac but the aforementioned Germans and others. A “31 mile” range for China’s test cycle might be close to that same number on the European test cycle. The U.S. EPA tends to assign numbers more conservatively and 31 might come into the 20s, but this is one benchmark to be mindful of for those wondering what target the global brands would like to hit, if not exceed.
Cadillac’s CT6 was shown this week in conventional form and available powertrains include a turbo 3.0 six, a turbo 2.0 four, a naturally aspirated 3.6 six, and specs on a PHEV should be known around the third week of this month.
Beyond that, de Nysschen says the brand will sprinkle plug-in variants into its assortment, some all-new models, but what these will be has yet to be revealed.