If you were wondering who Cadillac made the ELR for, clues are given for at least one facet of the targeted demographic in a recent advertisement.

Posted to Cadillac’s YouTube channel, is a 1-minute clip with actor Neal McDonough who plays a highly successful American businessman in his mid-40s who has it all – and the boldness and attitude that go along with it.

McDonough talks as he walks from his poolside and through his seven-figure house replete with lovely, well-adjusted, diligent children, and happy, very attractive wife.

The type-A character compares the successful American hard-driven lifestyle to those in other countries, briefly notes great American accomplishments with pride, and sums up a philosophy as he nears his ELR parked in the driveway.

“Look, it’s pretty simple. You work hard, you create your own luck and just gotta believe, that ANYTHING is possible,” says the ELR driver.

The whole spirit of the person is one who is used to being well-above average, and perhaps he would not be surprised – nor necessarily care – if others disagree with his choices. His confidence has been proven as more than mere hot air, and for all we know, he bought the ELR with cash.


The character surely has plenty of discretionary income, having talked about not taking a summer month off because he’s driven to achieve more. And while he could drive probably anything, his ride to the office is a Cadillac ELR which has 37 miles of all-electric range.

By now, we’ve heard plenty from the Tesla fans – and even dismayed Volt fans, general green car fans, and those who are no fan of General Motors. There is an outspoken contingent wondering what GM was thinking in launching a $76,000-plus compact coupe that offers nothing more than the Volt except ride, luxury, image and style.

Last month was a weak one for GM sales, and for the ELR’s first full sales month, 41 units were delivered.

Tesla, occupied with shipments overseas, and with a year-and-a-half head start with its Model S, delivered an estimated 1,300 units to the U.S.

Judging by the fictional ELR owner’s bold-as-brass attitude, and GM’s own prediction that it will not sell a lot of its new ELR, the automaker might be interpreted as saying it is just fine with the state of affairs.

And frankly, the only thing the ELR has in common with a Model S is it’s in an overlapping price range, and it plugs in.

It’s not fully electric and is smaller than the Model S. It’s also slower, and it is what it is.

GM has made no claims that it is trying to directly compete with the Model S with this particular car.

Naturally, some people who could have bought a Model S may opt instead for the ELR, but otherwise, the idea of ELR vs. Model S is an assumption made by those observing the space, not stated by GM.

And looking at the character played by McDonough, if he wanted to, he could also have an American-made Tesla Roadster and Model S P85+ parked in his garage too for all anyone knows – although that was not likely something Cadillac wished to suggest.

Cadillac is following its own path, and the critics will say what they will.

As for Tesla, last year Elon Musk was quoted calling the Volt an “amphibian,” and the seeds of that thought were revealed in a 2009 interview Musk gave to GM-Volt.com.

Musk answered Dr. Lyle Dennis when the Model S was just an early prototype.

GM-Volt.com: What is your feelings about the range-extender concept of the Chevy Volt and why have you not considered it it any of your products?

Elon Musk, April 2009:

We looked closely at a range extender architecture for Model S. It ends up costing about the same in vehicle unit cost, a lot more in R&D and a lot more in servicing. Also, although performance is OK when both battery and engine are active at the same time, it turns really bad when the battery runs out and an undersized engine is carrying all the dead weight of the pack. Essentially, a REV is neither fish nor fowl and ends up being worse [in our opinion] than either a gasoline or pure electric vehicle.

An important consideration that people without a technical background don’t understand is that you can either have a high power or a high energy cell chemistry, but not both. Since the battery pack in a plug-in hybrid like the Volt has to generate the same power as a much larger battery pack in a pure electric vehicle, it has to use a low energy cell chemistry.

2009 Prototype.

2009 Prototype. Musk at the wheel.

That means a 40 mile REV pack is not 1/5 the size of a 200 mile pure EV pack, as simple proportionality would suggest. Another factor is that the REV pack is forced to do three to four times more cycles that a pure EV pack and is (obviously) hit with five times the current per cell during acceleration and regen braking, which forces the REV pack to be derated considerably.

The net result is that a 40 mile REV pack is roughly half the size of a 200 mile EV pack. On top of that, you have to add the engine, generator and all the interconnects between engine and battery. It ends up having about the same mass and worse packing efficiency than a pure EV, plus you still have to deal with all the environmental issues of a gasoline engine.


Apparently GM isn’t listening to Elon either.