TTAC has long held that GM should have initially sold the Volt as a Cadillac, putting its newest, most high-tech drivetrain in a luxury car that could support its high list price. Of course the bailout made a CadiVolt a touch too elitist, which led to GM canceling production plans for its Converj Concept coupe. But with plans back on to sell a Converj-inspired ELR coupe, a new question arises: can Cadillac really charge significantly more than the Volt’s $40k-ish MSRP without doing more than simply rebodying the Volt in Cadillac’s Art & Science styling? Automotive News [sub]’s Rick Kranz reckons Cadillac could do more, and thinks that the ELR could end up with rear-wheel drive.
GM has a new rwd platform that will be shared by the Cadillac ATS, a compact sedan that goes on sale next year. That could be the game changer for the ELR.
But there’s a potential packaging issue with a rwd platform: Can the battery pack be modified so the driveshaft can be positioned below it? I don’t know. The Volt’s T-shaped battery pack is below the rear seats and center console.
Certainly the battery pack could be raised, eating up some space in the passenger compartment. The trade-off would be rear seat comfort, especially headroom, aggravated by the slope of the roof as it approaches the rear of the vehicle.
I find it interesting that the ELR is being touted as a 2+2 instead of a true four-passenger sedan. A 2+2 generally limits rear-seat space to kiddies and grocery bags. There’s no room for adults.
Maybe that’s a signal that the battery pack will be eating up some of the rear-passenger space so the ELR can be offered as a rear-drive coupe.
Kranz is right about one thing: with the Volt as expensive as it is, a CadiVolt needs to be distinctive to sell. But if the battery pack needs to be raised to fit a driveshaft underneath it, the ELR’s handling will certainly be compromised. The Volt is a surprisingly fine-handling car, largely because its huge weight is kept low and central in the body. Raising that huge weight upwards could ruin any handling benefits obtained by rear-drive, making the distinction between the two cars largely academic.
On the other hand, a DOE EV stimulus from 2009 allocated $105m for
Construction of U.S. manufacturing capabilities to produce the second-generation GM global rear-wheel electric drive system.
At the time, that expenditure was something of a mystery, and we still don’t know what it means. But if GM has developed a rear-drive EV platform, that could underpin a rear-drive ELR without the downsides of using the ATS platform. But that’s one Wild-Ass Rumor to be sure…