By on May 14, 2014
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The Cadillac ELR is shaping up to be one of the biggest automotive flops in recent memory – as of May 1, inventories had expanded to a 725 day supply, with Cadillac moving just 61 units in April.

At the start of April, dealers had 1,077  ELRs on their lots. As of May 14th, that number had increased to 1,517, with inventories far outpacing sales of the car.

Now, Automotive News is reporting that dealers are being offered a $5,000 incentive to offer test drivers of the car if they have seven or less unused ELRs in their fleet, and $10,000 for two ELR demos if they have more than seven units. The test drive demos must log 750 or more miles, with the program expiring on June 2nd.

GM is also offering a $3,000 customer incentive if an ELR is purchased or leased (on top of government incentives that already exists), and dealers can qualify for a $2,000 incentive in July or a $1,000 incentive in August for selling ELRs.

While a Cadillac spokesman insists that the inventory backup is a result of production scheduling, the rising inventories, lagging sales and heavy incentives paint a clear picture: the ELR is an overpriced dog that is finding few buyers compared to the much cheaper Chevrolet Volt and the much more prestigious Tesla Model S, to say nothing of the various plug-in and pure EV offerings from other car makers.

Even worse is Cadillac’s inventory picture as a brand: according to the Automotive News Data Center every vehicle except the SRX recording over 100 day’s worth of inventory. Even the much lauded ATS and CTS had 153 and 138 day’s supply, far above industry norms.

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181 Comments on “Cadillac ELR Inventories Balloon To 725 Day Supply As Dealers, Consumers Offered Big Incentives...”


  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Looks like they’re bolted to the showroom floor!

  • avatar

    I know I’m an outlier, but the ELR is the only new car that I covet.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I sat in one for a while, and came away thinking it was unequaled. There’s really nothing else like it.

      Whether it’s worthwhile in relation to other products, I can’t say. But it was high quality and unique.

      • 0 avatar
        Nicholas Weaver

        Its a beautiful car, and before it was priced so obscene it was on my shopping list. But the price is just obscene: it won’t take $3k on the hood to move these things, but $20k.

        The back seat is a cruel joke, and violates the Geneva convention. I prefer the Tesla UI believe-it-or-not (its not like the ELR has real buttons, instead its just a plastic piece that has a motor making a click feel), it does not do proper 1-pedal driving, and the utility is a joke.

        And, no matter what the dealer may say, this is a (admittedly beautifully but remarkably limited) reskinned Volt: effectively the same drivetrain and same FWD lack-of-performance. Thus it really should be no more than $10k more than a loaded Volt.

        So Cadillac has a choice: either drop the price by $20K (to make it price competitive with a range-extended i3), or just drop this thing altogether. Because I think a year down the line, the 61 unit sales in April will be regarded as a banner month.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s a nice enough car, but it really wants for a market. This car has a lot of compromises:
      * It’s priced right up against Tesla’s model S
      * Cadillac has, well, image issues
      * Eco-conscious buyers are going to take a hard look at the lack of rear doors and poorer payback vis a vis the Volt, Prius and any one of a number of mass-market hybrids.

      This is rather like the hybrid GMT900s all over again: GM designed a car for what GM thought people wanted without checking to see what people actually wanted.

      Luxury hybrids have, by and large, failed to get traction; there’s not a lot of overlap between the green buyers and aspirational buyers, and most of that overlap goes to Tesla, or was already sated by the Volt. They might have had more luck with an LS600h competitor; at least the margins could be higher and the low sales justified by a much higher transaction price.

      • 0 avatar

        “This is rather like the hybrid GMT900s all over again: GM designed a car for what GM thought people wanted without checking to see what people actually wanted.”

        I would say that the hybrid GMT900s made perfect engineering sense, probably more than a Prius, and GM couldn’t sell them because GM couldn’t sell ice cream in the desert.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Luxury hybrids have, by and large, failed to get traction; there’s not a lot of overlap between the green buyers and aspirational buyers”

        This is a fact that many of the anti-green types don’t grasp. As is the case with pickups, the mainstream brand offers a more appealing outlet for hybrid cars.

        In any case, to way to sell a small luxury coupe to Americans is to make it a convertible. A small luxury hardtop would struggle, irrespective of the drivetrain.

        That being said, GM never had high expectations for this car. I would suggest that TTAC is providing it with far more attention than it is warranted. It is supposed to communicate to non-elderly buyers that GM is technologically savvy, not sell a lot of copies.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          Well put. The EV market isn’t tiered enough for this yet. The concept is premature. 10 years from now when everyone’s driving them then yea. This is trying be a niche within a niche.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          PCH101: “It is supposed to communicate to non-elderly buyers that GM is technologically savvy, not sell a lot of copies.”

          In what way does this represent technological savvy? Where’s the aluminum? The carbon fiber? The trick engine with Atkinson cycle?

          It’s attractive, nicely appointed and the entertainment system is good but it’s not a standut in any way. I hope it has radar cruise and lane-keep-assist but those are becoming mainstream tech nowadays.

          The only uniquely advanced tech in this is the battery cells and LG is responsible for those, not GM. Anybody with cash gets that technology. Beyond that, the ELR is just an attractive, nicey appointed, expensive misapplication of battery tech.

          PCH101: “TTAC is providing it with far more attention than it is warranted.”

          I do tend to agree with you there. GM’s going to build a bunch to complete their production schedule, ship them to dealers and forget about them. There’s probably 3 to 5 per dealer or something out there, now. That’s not terribly important. GM’s trucks are far more significant and even the Volt is more important.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “In what way does this represent technological savvy?”

            If you can’t give GM credit for being fairly innovative with the Voltec drivetrain, then you’re just being a hater for the sake of it. And I say that as one who has generally not been impressed by much of what GM has produced.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Hasn’t the mkz sold a decent number of hybrids (for a Lincoln)? But it is basicly a free option.

        I don’t know if the Caddy brand is holding it back. It would do just as badly with any other badge, IMO. I’m not a GM fan, but that doesn’t carry over too much to Cadillac. I do agree that making it a coup hurts it, and I don’t care for the styling at all.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      You are an outlier. Most reviews praise the styling, but are lukewarm on the performance, and silent or critical on the value.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      It needs to drop 1-2 seconds 0-60 and $25k.

      Otherwise it’s perfectly cromulent.

      • 0 avatar
        steevkay

        The only good response to this is:

        I agree: Cadillac needs to embiggen the ELR’s performance and incentives.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          From CNET: “Homer Simpson may not know anything about design, but he knows what he likes — and the car he designed for his brother Herb Powell’s auto manufacturer in episode “O Brother, Where Art Thou” is a testament to all that is Homer-iffic.

          With a $82,000 price tag in 1991, though, the Frankenstein car managed to bring Herb’s empire crumbling down around him. Features included a particularly lurid green coat of paint; a rear dome equipped with leashes and muzzles for fighting kids; enormous externally mounted cup holders; a hood ornament of a 10-pin bowler; a giant chrome, roof-mounted horn that blasts “La Cucaracha”; and more tailfins than decorum allows.”

          :-)

      • 0 avatar
        poohbah

        It would only become cromulent if they would make the effort to embiggen the backseat.

    • 0 avatar
      DAC17

      Me too, but at maybe $45K, not $75K or some number reduced by too-small incentives. I have a Volt coming off lease in August, but would never replace it with this at anywhere near the price that they want.

  • avatar
    Morea

    “I Wanna Be Your Dog”

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Heh, heh, heh. Almost exactly the result I expected. Sure, it has the Cadillac name and maybe even some of Cadillac’s luxury behind it, but it’s still a Chevy Volt under the skin and THAT had to be discounted $10,000 before it started selling.

    The ELR has one advantage and one advantage only–It has a 6-gallon fuel tank to help it on longer runs. It’s biggest disadvantage is that a ‘longer run’ is pretty much anything over 35 miles–and even the base Model ‘S’ gets 200 miles on a charge for the same price.

    I’ve said for years that the Volt concept is a failure; if you want to make a hybrid properly, do it the way the railroads have done it for the last century and make it a diesel-electric from the outset. Forget the batteries. If you want to make it battery powered, then put enough into it to actually offer a realistic range for everyday use. The Nissan Leaf, for all its small size, is a better BEV than the Volt even with its ‘booster’ engine. And if you can afford it (and it’s more affordable than most want to admit) the Model S and soon model X Tesla is the best choice currently available.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      You can’t recover braking energy without a battery (or flywheel or something). I can’t imagine a diesel-electric being more efficient than just connecting the diesel to the wheels via a CVT.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        MB, would you mind telling us what kind of CVT can handle 4,000 horsepower? Diesel-electrics started at over 900 horsepower back in the 1920s if not earlier. The typical road engine of the ’40s and ’50s carried 1500hp per unit (with 4 or more units pulling longer trains). Today, road engines carry 4,000-4,500 hp per unit and still run with 2 to 4 units on the nose–pulling longer trains than ever. BUT, it’s the electric motors that are doing the real pulling while the diesels drive the generators.

        That said, there is no mechanical connection between the engines and the axles, so why do today’s ‘hybrid’ cars have a mechanical connection between the engines and the axles. Typically they put too small a motor in the drivetrain so they NEED a direct connection to add torque. But an electric motor generates its highest torque at 0rpm. A bigger motor gives a better kick at the bottom and then reduces demand (and power) as the RPM increases. Therefore, if your hybrid has a battery storage system, your regenerative braking and small diesel can charge the battery to give you that up-front ‘oomph’ while still vastly improving fuel economy with a relatively tiny engine just powering the motors at cruise with any excess energy going straight to the battery.

        Oh, and do you know how diesel-electric locomotives handle ‘regenerative braking’ energies? Take a look at the roof of one as it’s rolling downhill in front of a load. I can almost guarantee it’s not using the air brakes unless there’s a red signal ahead. All that energy is getting turned into heat. Now, what if you could store what THAT thing is burning!

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          A direct engine-wheel connection is more efficient than a series hybrid (which is why the Volt and Accord Hybrids have it), but that doesn’t scale up to railroad-size powertrains. It was tried in the early days (along with hydraulic drives and all sorts of other wacky setups), but electric drives ended up being the least troublesome in that application.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            bumpy ii, and electric drives in cars will probably make sense once power-storage density in batteries equal that of a full tank of gasoline or diesel.

            Until then, this mode of propulsion will remain in toys for the independently wealthy.

            There’s nothing that can beat gasoline or diesel for energy density at this time in history.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            If you’re talking railroads, you’re a wee bit off on your conclusions.

            Raw, hard-wired electrics were tried and proven before the diesel engine came on line. In multiple tests where the most powerful available steam locomotives were compared to an all-axle-drive electric, the electric proved FAR more powerful. In fact, in the very first trial pitting an electric vs a steamer, the electric simply walked away with the steamer–like doing a tug-of-war between a 4×4 pickup truck and a front-wheel drive econobox.

            To carry the experiment even farther, the Steam contingent claimed that the steamer didn’t have a chance, that it makes its best power at speed. Since the electrified section of rail was only 3 miles long, the steamer got a head start towing a completely dead electric. As soon as the electric reached the powered rail, the driver started applying power and had the steamer at a full stop within a mile–then again walked away with it.

            Finally, a steamer driver wanted to drive it himself, insisting that the electric driver was doing ‘something fancy’ to win–in other words, cheating. The steam driver was told to, “ease in power to avoid breaking the drawbar” (in civilian terms, the coupler connection) but the steam driver instead hit full throttle at the go signal. Guess what happened? That’s right, they had to call in another steam engine to go retrieve the electric–it pulled so hard it yanked the drawbar right off the steamer’s tender and got going so fast the driver couldn’t stop it before he ran out of electrified rail. THAT’s why so many commuter operations and subways are electrified.

            Now, it is true that some light passenger trains ran diesel through transmissions. The old streamlined Zephyrs and some of the Budd self-powered cars are examples of this. But when it came down to the heavy pullers, they went diesel to generator with no mechanical connection to the axles whatsoever. The electric motors just produce more torque right up front than any other type of motive power. A hybrid car should be pure electric drivetrain, period. At most, any mechanical connection should be emergency only–operable only through a mechanical linkage physically switched and on line only long enough to get off the road/track/hazard and to a location where it can be carried away or repaired. However, I expect it would be the premature death of the liquid-fueled engine that strands the vehicle, not the death of the electric motor.

          • 0 avatar
            sitting@home

            highdesertcat: “electric drives in cars will probably make sense once power-storage density in batteries equal that of a full tank of gasoline or diesel.”

            The Tesla S already has equal or greater range than a BMW 7. It has equal or better performance than a BMW 7, and equal or better cargo volume than a BMW7. It costs about the same as a BMW 7 (I have a friend who has one of each !). The ONLY drawback is recharge time, which is 30 minutes at a supercharger or overnight at home. We’ve become so accustomed to the instant gratification of gas station refueling (remember 100 years ago you’d need to rest your horse for an hour between every mad dash) that some people can’t see past the one limitation.

            But every day I see a dozen or so Teslas on the road, yet have not seen a single similarly priced new Corvette outside of a showroom. So when it comes to toys for the rich, I guess planning recharge times is deemed less of a burden for more people than arranging a relay shuttle to take your three buddies to lunch in a two seat sportscar.

        • 0 avatar
          Master Baiter

          “MB, would you mind telling us what kind of CVT can handle 4,000 horsepower?”

          I wasn’t suggesting that locomotives should use CVTs. I’m well aware of the advantages of diesel-electric for the locomotive application.

          You said, “Forget the batteries.” I thought you were implying no battery at all, not even a small battery of the type used in hybrids for recovering braking energy.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Consider this, MB: The Toyota Prius uses a relatively small battery pack. However, their hybrid system is in itself very inefficient because it taps the engine to power the wheels simply because the electric motors are too weak. With combined battery and gasoline engine, acceleration can be pretty fair, but it’s still weak compared to the battery-electric Tesla. If, however, the Prius used a larger electric motor with the same battery pack–but totally disconnected the gas engine from the physical drivetrain, the existing gasoline engine would be more than capable of maintaining electric motor speed AND charging the battery simultaneously (only one generator, after all) and have all the reserve power needed for strong acceleration even from a dead stop on the battery alone.

            THEN we can add regenerative braking to help supplement the charging in city-style driving. The problem is that the Volt, which potentially has the capability I just described, chooses to wait for 30 miles or so before even kicking in, forcing it to work harder to recharge the battery–which is now too large for the purpose. Or, give the Volt a bigger battery so it doesn’t need to kick on the charger at all–until 80 miles or so have passed under the wheels. Either way, as it sits it is over-engineered and under-capacity for the market it’s intended.

            And to add another $30K to the cost just to put a fancier body and a bit more luxury inside?…

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Vulpine: “However, their hybrid system is in itself very inefficient because it taps the engine to power the wheels simply because the electric motors are too weak.”

            My “very inefficient” Prius returns better than 50mpg under a wide range of conditions – almost all circumstances, in fact. The Volt should have such “inefficiency.”

            Dual-conversion is inefficient. The Prius puts the power straight to the wheels when the situation calls for it and it makes perfect sense to do so.

            The problems involved in moving a locomotive of some dozens or hundreds of tons pulling more bazillions of tons of coal are different problems and, unsurprisingly, call for a different solutions.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’m going to disagree with you, Kix; I’ve driven the Prius and seen road tests where it runs beside different cars. In one case, it drove as fast as it could through a well-known road course and did abysmally–only just getting over 21mpg. A BMW Z3 followed that Prius around the course–never trying to pass or ‘hoon’, and achieved over 24mpg with a MUCH larger engine.

            Now, I’ll grant that the Prius is not intended as a race car and the Z3 is not intended as an economy car, but to have the Prius do so badly at such a slow overall speed around the course means that it simply wasn’t designed for the best efficiency and while it may get that 50mpg for you, it doesn’t do it for everyone. However, by giving it stronger electric motors (we know they’re available) and having the engine almost exclusively driving the generator (we know there’s a stronger one available) the Prius could achieve something like 50mpg under almost all circumstances.

            Just because it hasn’t been done, doesn’t mean it CAN’T be done. Remember that. In all honesty, for all that I dislike the Volt, the volt is a better hybrid than the Prius in my opinion; it’s just not the best possible.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Vulpine: “I’m going to disagree with you, Kix; I’ve driven the Prius and seen road tests where it runs beside different cars. In one case, it drove as fast as it could through a well-known road course and did abysmally–only just getting over 21mpg. A BMW Z3 followed that Prius around the course–never trying to pass or ‘hoon’, and achieved over 24mpg with a MUCH larger engine.”

            On a different test, such as city driving, the Prius might outdo the Z3 by as much as 3 to 1. So, what does your test prove?

            I wouldn’t be surprised if the root cause of the “loss” to the Z3 in the case you describe had a lot to do with energy lost due to tire slip. The Prius is designed for the street, not the track, and disappointing effectiveness in a slalom isn’t going to be a concern.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Actually, Kix, it’s all in how a vehicle is driven as to whether one can be significantly better than another. You are right that a roadster is far more capable than a city car in driving fast, but it also points out that that tiny engine simply isn’t made for heavy acceleration where the Z3′s engine shines. By comparison, the Z3 was simply loafing along while the Prius’ engine was screaming its heart out. On the other hand, the Prius is effectively loafing along all the time in the city while the Z3 can’t even get up to speed.

            However, as I’ve stated more than once, a true hybrid should not NEED to put any direct engine power to the road when the electric motors can be far more efficient and pretty well prove it with the Volt. It’s just that the Volt is over-engineered and still uses the wrong paradigm to perform the task, which is why it isn’t as popular as it could be. A maximum of 40 miles on battery power alone simply doesn’t cut it. Get 80 to 100 miles on battery while retaining the engine could demonstrate a completely different market view and using a more efficient hybrid technology entirely could up the average economy even more.

            Meanwhile, the Tesla proves that battery power alone CAN meet 99% of the average driver’s needs, making any kind of gasoline engine redundant for all but that 1% of the time when you drive more than 200 miles in a day.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            “Meanwhile, the Tesla proves that battery power alone CAN meet 99% of the average driver’s needs, making any kind of gasoline engine redundant for all but that 1% of the time when you drive more than 200 miles in a day.”

            Actually, until they make a pure EV that can accomplish what the Tesla does for $30,000.00 (the current average selling price of a new car) the Tesla will not do what 99% of the public needs it to do.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Vulpine: “However, as I’ve stated more than once, a true hybrid should not NEED to put any direct engine power to the road when the electric motors can be far more efficient and pretty well prove it with the Volt.”

            Dual conversion is inherently inefficient. And while an ICE is typically most efficient at a given RPM and load, there’s a range or RPMs and lods where the efficiency is still close enough to peak that direct use of the power makes more sense than playing RPM management games and taking the conversion losses.

            You may have noticed that the Volt isn’t exactly a serial RE-EV/PHEV. The engine can be directly connected to the wheels. If ICE=GEN–WheelMotor was a superior arrangement, why is the Volt set up the way it is? It’s because GM understood that using the engine directly made sense in many situations.

            You’ll also notice that the Volt’s MPGe (which is ordinarily closely correlated to battery size) is only slightly higher than that of the Prius PHV. This is likely because the Volt’s bias to serial RE-EV mode hurts its overall efficiency.

            And the Volt’s CS mode fuel economy is nothing to write home about, either. Partly this is due to GM cheaping out and under-engineering the car but the median CS mode fuel economy is 34mpg, which is really pretty poor.

            Also, as discussed, the slalom test really doesn’t prove anything about the utility or efficiency of the Prius setup. If you can force a lot of acceleration/deceleration/tire scrub in the Prius where the Z simply slides through, that’s not a significant measure of efficiency. If it was running solely on battery and had more regen capability, it might make a difference but since real people don’t drive that way for more than a few momentsin the typical commute, it’s not worth worrying about in a car that is a real-world solution.

            Many cars fall short of their EPA fuel economy numbers because they’re optimized for the test. The Prius generally makes its EPA number because it’s designed for the real world.

            One other thing… If I was going to set up the Volt as a serial RE-EV, I’d have taken the system a step further. It would be RWD and there’d be two electric motors, one for each side and the car would redistribute torque as necessary to aid in traction and steering. That would be a useful improvement worth the conversion losses.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Give it time, Poncho; that’s coming sooner than you may think.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @KixStart: While what you say seems logically true, there are still drawbacks. The true efficiency of power to ground for an ICE system is much lower due to multiple mechanical inefficiencies having to do with not only how the engine itself runs but also all the mechanical connections that parasitically cause drag even before reaching the ground. Every single mechanical connection has slippage and slop that work to fight the rotation of the engine. When the electric motors are directly on the axles–sometimes directly on the wheels of the vehicle, the vast majority of the parasitic drag is eliminated. But that’s only part of the problem.

            Internal combustion engines typically create their greatest torque at high rpm, typically between 3,000-5,000 rpm–they’re literally sucking down fuel to create that 200-400 pounds-feet of torque to accelerate a vehicle. An electric motor makes its greatest torque at 0 (zero) rpm. So, by having a generator-supported battery-electric drive, the generator never NEEDS to hit high rpm to charge the battery while the battery provides ALL the juice needed at that moment of greatest draw. A smaller engine can thus do with electric drive what a larger engine does with mechanical drive. Again, this is proven by the fact that a 50hp electric motor offers equivalent performance to a 350hp gasoline engine and still offers over 200 miles of all electric range in a Tesla.

            “You may have noticed that the Volt isn’t exactly a serial RE-EV/PHEV. The engine can be directly connected to the wheels. If ICE=GEN–WheelMotor was a superior arrangement, why is the Volt set up the way it is? It’s because GM understood that using the engine directly made sense in many situations.” I’ve noticed, and this is one factor where I emphasize they are over-engineered. The only excuse I can see for this is that they are either afraid the electric drive will fail–causing a potential litigation situation–or the battery will run completely dry because the generator cannot charge it rapidly enough–which shows that they’ve chosen the wrong engine/generator package for the job. These are much more logical reasons (cause and effect, after all) than just “gasoline engines are better”.

            General motors wasted hundreds of millions of dollars to custom-build a three-cylinder engine to drive the generator–only choosing much later an off-the-shelf 4-cylinder gas engine that’s really too small for the purpose. Every complaint I’ve seen where the Volt has to fall back on its mechanical drive points out that performance falls through the floor once the battery runs dry.

            And why didn’t I respond to your “slalom test” argument? Because it’s invalid. You assumed that it was because of tire scrub that the Prius did so badly, but those are the points where both cars use the least engine–accelerating out of those turns under full throttle is where the Prius was losing it.

            And no, “Many cars fall short of their EPA fuel economy numbers because they’re optimized for the test,” is completely false; it’s how the cars are driven through the test. A different company has demonstrated how some cars show drastically different numbers simply because the EPA’s test is too short; the other company almost doubles the length of the test which gives a more realistic view. Even then, a smart driver can vastly improve over the EPA numbers–or fall far short if they drive carelessly. As a simple example, my ’08 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited exceeds ’14 Jeep Wrangler EPA mileage numbers simply because I don’t drive at ridiculous speeds–neither too slow nor too fast. I get an easy 22mpg+ on the highway by holding my speed between 60-65mph. Sure, this is below the speed limit of most freeways (but not all), so I stay in the right lane unless I’m passing (which is more frequent than you might guess). On the other hand, I don’t lag back on accelerating, getting up to the posted speed quickly without going jack-rabbit, then choosing the highest gear that lets me ‘idle’ at the speed limit if possible. To tell you the honest truth, I could probably push 30mpg if all speed limits were 40mph. I know I could break 25mpg under those conditions. Drag alone keeps me from going any higher.

            As for your final note, I would agree–up to a point. Two motors individually could be smaller than the existing Volt motor while still offering more combined horsepower and torque. The torque redistribution is a great idea for tractive effort as proven by so many different AWD systems. Still, you would need a different engine and a larger generator to make it truly effective as a serial RE-EV.

        • 0 avatar
          jhefner

          In Master Baiter’s defense, Union Pacific Railroad and others are currently testing 50 Railpower GG20B (or “green goats.”) These are closer to the Volt model; with a 300 horsepower diesel motor AND a large battery bank where both sources can be combined for a total power output of 2,000 horsepower. I am somewhat sure they use regenerative braking to recharge the batteries rather than dynamic braking; which simply dissipates the braking energy as heat. Yes, it uses a motor-generator combination instead of a CVT; but there is nothing special about that; I’m sure he was referring to a car and not a locomotive.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railpower_GG20B

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            True, jhefner, and it is designed specifically as a “yard goat” a switching locomotive intended to move short strings of cars in a lot of stop-and-go action. It’s not meant for the hi-rail.

            Kind of reminds me of the old ‘cow and calf’ switchers or the more recent ‘slugs’, where the primary locomotive puts out more power than it uses, so powers a ‘dummy’ engine filled with concrete for weight and drives the extra axles from the single prime-mover.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The Europeans have some very nice and very efficient diesel-hydraulic and diesel-mechanical locomotives, even in high-horsepower applications. They have always been abject failures in American railroad service. They run lightweight trains fast, we drag heavy trains slowly. VERY different requirements, and ultimately in our type of railroad environment the native efficiency of steel wheels on steel rails is so high that the added gains are waaaay outweighed by the added costs.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          The Europeans also have some nice diesel electrics–that they use to pull their freight. Those D-H/D-M locomotives are typically used for switching and very light uses by comparison. If they’re not ‘under the wires’, they’re almost always D-E.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @krhodes1
          I beg to differ with you regarding European freight trains.

          I have seen them sit on 200kph. Impressive and they aren’t short either.

          Last year when I stayed at my cousin’s north of Libourne alongside the main Paris to Bordeaux line I saw many freight trains.

          What’s more impressive are the TGVs, if you get a chance go for a ride in one.

          Even the Teoz, the older and slower express trains are fast. We did a run in one from Bordeaux to Agen in 45 minutes. The distance was 130km.

          The freight trains appeared to have intermodal trucks as well. These things motored.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Big Al

            Compared to the typical US (or OZ ore trains for that matter), European freight trains are light and short. And as you and I BOTH said, fast. As the European railroad network is primarily for passenger trains, they run their freight trains at passenger train style speeds and schedules. The sort of heavy load lugging that trains do in the US happens mostly on water in Europe.

            I have been on the TGV and ICE trains many times.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Freight trains in most of Europe are allowed 600 to 750 meters in length, with 600 being more common but all countries are slowly working towards 750 meters for main freight routes.” — http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?17,1564189

            They go on to note that the average freight train is limited to 4000 metric tonnes.

            Unlike the US, most of those freights run ‘under the wires’, meaning catenary-equipped freight locomotives, thus running pure electric. Diesel electrics tend to pull non-electrified routes. Oh, and I loved watching sidebar-equipped diesel electrics performing switching tasks at the USAF base when I was stationed in Germany. A single electric-powered axle with the sidebar attaching front and rear axles to the central, motored axle.

            Meanwhile, those freight trains can run much more frequently when they run at passenger train speeds, so four European trains carry as much freight as a single American train, as quickly as the typical Amtrak passenger train (NOT Acela Express, TGV or ICE speeds).

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      You still need the batteries: Batteries, when you can run on them, really are 1/2 the cost/mile in energy: compare the real world cost/mile of the Accord Hybrid (which is almost exactly what you describe with the addition of a small battery pack, and a single clutch to directly drive the wheels at high speed [1]) and a Leaf/i3.

      The ideal is either the Accord Hybrid type with a larger battery pack (a plugin 40 mile range and remove 1/2 the gas tank, but you actually can get good power out of the gas engine on long highway stretches) or the i3 design where you have an 80 mile range and a smaller generator.

      [1] Diesel really isn’t an efficiency gain in this style of hybrid, since because of the battery the gas engine is either full throttle (as efficient as a diesel on joules-in-fuel to joules-on-rode) or off. The diesel advantage is on part throttle.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The top selling ES and RX are underpinned by the Avalon/Highlander platforms, as the legit BOF SUVs by Lexus are basically rebadge jobs (and not just platform sharing); Cadillac did the same with the Escalade but the new one distances itself better from its Chevy/GMC cousins.

      Aside from the near useless rear seats and CUE, Cadillac got most things right (or mostly right) with the ELR, except for the most important thing – PRICE.

      The ELR should have been priced starting in the low-mid $50k.

      Voltec sales should improve with the 2G powertrain with improved battery-only range and a lower pricepoint (Prius sales only started to rise once Toyota was able to get the price down).

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Actually, between G1 and G2, the price didn’t drop by much. The G2 was more popular because gas prices went up and the G2 was a much more practical car with better performance and fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      There are worlds of difference between the constraints expectations on RR engine and track design and consumer automobile use. And…RRs are for-profit enterprises while most of us use our personal vehicles for, well, uh, personal uses.

      The diesel-driven electric generator is a great powerplant for RR locomotives, but the attributes that make it great for that application do not correlate with the design constraints and goals of passenger automobiles.

      We’re seeing R&D into development of hybrid and alternative powered personal vehicles every day. The only prediction I’ll make in this post is that a diesel-driven electric generator powering electric motors isn’t going to be the drivetrain of choice for personal vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        While I will agree with you that we’re not likely to see a ‘diesel-electric motorcar’ on the highways, exactly what out there prevents it? The basic technology is long proven and reliable, with some 50-, 60- and even 70-year-old examples in revenue service–although certainly not in original condition.

        Here’s the point: Speed control is strictly based on feeding a given amount of power to the electric motors. The diesel engine then winds up to produce the exact amount of energy the motors need to attain and retain that speed. About the only time you hear a diesel throttle up is when they’re accelerating from one speed to another after which they reduce rpm to a ‘maintain’ level. Now, if a car–like the Volt–did exactly the same thing–with the engine holding a steady throttle setting even if only at a high idle–the car could accelerate and decelerate at full power for far more than a mere 40 miles with performance equivalent to a non-electric car with 2x to 3x the engine–assuming the electric motor itself had a high enough hp rating.

        You want examples? About 2 years ago there was a program on TV that demonstrated a BEV Land Rover–home built using a 40hp electric motor and conventional lead-acid batteries–that out-drove a brand new diesel Isuzu off-road vehicle for acceleration, rock crawling and trail-running. Granted, the lead-acid batteries were only good for about 2 hours of running at a time, but that did give it at least the equivalent range of the Volt on battery-only power. A straight electric drivetrain really is more efficient. The hybrid power plant is where modern cars are falling short as they’re simply over-designing the technology. The engine simply needs to provide the electricity to the battery–no more, no less.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          I understand how the diesel-driven generator works. You need a diesel engine to drive a mass of wire through a magnetic field, i.e. – lots of iron and copper to generate EMF. On the other end, the EMF is converted back to rotational energy by the electric motors which again, are simply masses of wire rotated through magnetic fields. I agree with you that it has excellent performance potential-in certain applications. RR locomotives are width and height restricted, but they can be practically any length required. And…the height and width restrictions are much more generous than those for passenger vehicles. The reasons that I don’t think it makes sense for passenger vehicles are: diesel-genset drivetrains will be large and heavy, both significant penalties for passenger vehicles, plus you have to provide space for electric motors, likely you would have one at each driven wheel, thus adding more weight and further descreasing space. Bigger, heavier vehicles lead to higher costs everywhere – period. The power provided by compact comparitively lightweight ICEs cannot be offset by any diesel-genset-electric drivetrain that I’m aware of. Some alternative drivetrain may someday unseat the current champ, I have a hard time seeing how the diesel-genset-electric has a chance, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “The reasons that I don’t think it makes sense for passenger vehicles are: diesel-genset drivetrains will be large and heavy…”

            Why? We have diesel engines in cars today that certainly aren’t that heavy and neither the motor nor the generator have any need to be all that heavy. A well-matched combo should weigh no more than a modest iron-block V8 and the Tesla with its own heavy batteries and motor prove that weight is hardly a factor to get good range on an electric power train and the whole thing weighs as much as a half-ton pickup truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Master Baiter

            I say it diesel-electric won’t happen for cars because it’s too expensive. A transmission is cheaper than a motor + generator.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            1. Estimate how heavy your finished car will be.

            2. Define how quickly you want to accelerate that mass.

            3. Size electric motors to provide motive force to satisfy 1 and 2.

            4. Size generator to supply adequate electricity for electric motors under “design” or “worst case” condition.

            When you get to step 4, come back and tell me how much your generator weighs. You will have answered your own question.

            If you still think it’s a viable design, continue to:

            5. Size diesel engine adequate to drive generator.

            6. Tally weight of electric motors, generator, and diesel engine – compare to estimate in 1 and constraint in 2 – decide if you can provide an automobile that meets this weight budget, meets minimum safety standards, can be built, and can be sold for more than your cost to design, manufacture, test, and market said automobile.

            Caution – this will require mathematics (and, in the best case-some understanding of physics, engineering, and economics), but the results will be more powerful than verbal arguments.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Numerologist: I do fully understand your argument, but have to question why you expect so much weight when Chevrolet already has the Volt with a generator that can charge on the fly using a conventional 4-cylinder engine. By commenters’ reports right here on TTAC, the Volt isn’t really that much of a slouch when running under battery power despite the tiny engine. However, the Volt is engineered to not start the gasoline engine until the battery charge gets pretty low–like say about 5 miles remaining range.

            Now, taking that into consideration, the motors have already been proven, the generator has already been proven, all we need is a small diesel engine that would certainly be no heavier than that 4-cyl gasoline engine and set it to run full time at a fixed speed to maintain charge. It shouldn’t need to run at high revs unless the drain is significantly over the charge rate over an extended period.

            In other words, almost all your questions have already been answered by GM, it’s just choosing the right diesel engine and programming the system to operate at the most efficient charging rate for the operator’s driving style. You’ve simply made the argument more complicated than necessary.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Vulpine – you and I inhabit totally different realities. Godspeed.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            You starting to see a pattern Vulpine?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Yup. I’m seeing a pattern of willful blindness by those who don’t WANT to see.

  • avatar
    Quopar

    This 80K Chevy Volt was doomed from day one. Any moneyed eco-intender worth his carbon credits heads straight for the Tesla store.

    The Tesla Model S is light years ahead of the ELR. Yes, the ELR does have a backup ICE for “range anxiety,” but that defeats the purpose of the eco (ego?) elite. Every Co2 molecule is the devil, you know. Don’t mind that coal power plant across the tracks…

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      It seems most people buying a Tesla today buy it for what it is, not what it isn’t. My interest in a Tesla has nothing to do with tree-hugging and everything to do with saving money on gasoline–especially as the price of gas is guaranteed to rise again. Its performance equates well with powerful V8s while offering decent comfort and remarkable endurance–for an electric. As far as “range anxiety” is concerned, it offers less “range anxiety” than any other current electric and can already make coast-to-coast and border-to-border journeys using just the current Supercharger network and will have even more travel capability within the next two years as that network expands.

      • 0 avatar
        Quopar

        If you want to save money, buying something like a Honda Fit makes infinitely more sense than a Tesla. The 50K price difference will buy something like 400,000 miles of driving in the Fit.

        There are lots of good reasons to buy a Tesla, i.e. performance, exclusivity, innovation, eco-consciousness. Saving money is not one of them.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          About that Fit; if you like it, buy it. For me the Fit is simply too small and too uncomfortable. It might get great in-town economy but I wouldn’t want to spend six hours or more behind the wheel on any trip. Plus it lacks the room to carry what I typically carry when I go on vacation (I don’t fly, I drive. It’s still cheaper than flying and not all that much slower over 700 miles when taking all airport activities into account).

          The Fit also doesn’t have the power or performance to get out of its own way when it comes to some needs. It wasn’t that long ago that I was putting 120 miles per day on a Chevy Camaro just for commuting and typically had only 1 hour to travel opposite directions for ‘carpooling’ my wife and self to our respective jobs. As a 1-car family, it’s not like we could each go our own directions and at the time we simply couldn’t afford multiple cars. YOU try running both ways through rush-hour traffic morning and evening and tell me how well the Fit might handle that task. My Camaro held up to it for 6 years, ending with over 160,000 miles on the odometer when the engine finally gave up the ghost. Oh, and the vast majority of that mileage was on 2-lane streets and highways, not freeway commuting.

          So yes, even at today’s fuel prices saving money IS one of the Tesla’s advantages. Just the mileage of that Camaro over 160,000 miles would have saved me $20K+ and neither the engine nor the transmission would have failed, saving me an additional $24,000 for repairs (three transmissions) and replacement. In fact, I might still be driving that Model S (had it been available) saving an additional $30K on yet another vehicle AND fuel for another 180,000 miles. Sure, it’s possible that the Tesla may need some repairs over that much mileage, but not nearly as much as the typical ICE vehicle demands.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I would expect that a Fit in urban commute usage would be just nicely broken in at 160K. Or better yet, a Prius, as that sort of driving is what it is DESIGNED for.

            Buying a Tesla to save money is just hilarious.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @krhodes1: Enjoy your chuckle, my friend. But remember this, even a BMW Z3 gets better gas mileage at the same speed than a Prius driven hard. A car good for one purpose may be no good for another purpose.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            Vulpine: “But remember this, even a BMW Z3 gets better gas mileage at the same speed than a Prius driven hard.”

            Why would this matter? Drive anything hard and fuel economy will suffer.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Exactly the point, Kix–It got worse gas mileage than a Z3 driving at exactly the same speed! A Z3 has a much bigger engine!

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll never understand why people think they are “cheating gas prices” when the Model S costs $70,000 (or so depending on incentives) -to-$110,000.

        Seems to me you’re paying for your “energy” up-front.

        Furthermore, if you bought a similarly sized car to the Model S (Impala, Charger, 300, Genesis, etc), you’d have more equipment options at a price lower than $50,000 – and the remaining $20,000-plus could be used in fuel/maintenance.

        And all this is assuming you were keeping the car long enough to “break even”.

        And if the car only gets 300 miles range tops…it seems to me that unless you were regularly able to charge the car at work or home while you were busy doing something else, the time required to charge the car would be a time consumption that lowers productivity.

        To each his own I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          A valid question, BTR and you’re right, to a good extent you are paying for your fuel up front. BUT depending on how much you drive, the cost per mile starts dropping immediately. In my example above I demonstrate how at today’s fuel prices I would save over $40,000 dollars on fuel costs and an additional $50,000 on maintenance and replacements over the lifetime of the vehicle–and I expect the Tesla to last longer mechanically than most ICE-engined cars even with their improved reliability. Simpler mechanicals means fewer problems.

          The car would have paid for itself.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          “unless you were regularly able to charge the car at work or home while you were busy doing something else”

          Let’s just assume that most people buy a Tesla have electricity at home. You are however correct that Teslas are not ideal cars for the homeless or for those without access to electricity. That’s how those 61 ELRs got sold.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Vulpine & Qulpar

        Ahem !

        1) The VOLT/ELR is not an EV . It is an extended range PlugIn hybrid .

        2) The TESLA S is in fact an automotive dinosaur [ based on a decades old BMW Z8 ] with 100 year old technology [ albeit now computer controlled ] and still with all the same problems that have faced EVs from day one

        3) One would need to own the VOLT/ELR for a minimum of 30 years in order to see any financial savings once the extra cost [ of purchasing and maintaining ] is factored in comparison to an equal ICE

        4) Bump that number up to 45 years for the TESLA S . Neither car btw being projected [ by their own engineers ] to last more than a decade . And in fact in the case of the TESLA S its lifespan is projected to be well under a decade . So .. sorry Vulpine … but no savings to be seen with the TESLA S . At least not in your lifetime [ humor not insult intended ]

        5) This one to Vulpine specifically as well as the guest writer here who owns a TESLA S . Here is the dirty little inside secret about the ‘SuperCharger’ .

        Every time you use one you diminish the Li batteries in the TESLA S’s capacity for storing power by some 5% . Every time [ which is one of many reasons Toyota and Daimler are saying hasta la bye bye to TESLA ]

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          “The TESLA S is in fact an automotive dinosaur [ based on a decades old BMW Z8 ]”

          I’m starting to see the humor in you.

          • 0 avatar
            gtrslngr

            brenschluss – “Automotive Dinosaur” ; That term used for the TESLA S was thought to of been coined by several [ and by that I mean a lot ] extremely disgruntled TESLA S owners .. the majority of which are very well heeled having owned a multitude of very fine cars over the years [ both classic and new ] of which a fair amount participated in a by invitation only forum [ which I was for reasons I care not to explain invited to ] last year

            But in reality Steve Jobs coined the term much earlier when Elon Musk showed up at his door begging for alms [investment/loan]

            FYI ; No loan/investment was forthcoming [ from anyone at Apple ] and in fact rumor has it Steve Jobs all but threw Musk out of his office in a fit of laughter

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            I was pointing out that to the best of my knowledge, the Model S is very much not based on a BMW Z8 platform, and barring extant truths that have never been mentioned online, that’s just something that a crazy person without an internal filter would say. They had a bare chassis in my local Tesla store last I looked, it, uh, didn’t seem to share much with the Z8. Maybe I’m wrong.

            There’s one of those nuggets in almost every post, and it discredits pretty much everything else you say. I don’t care if you’re Steve Jobs’ favorite apostle, or the greatest studio guitarist or Nissan salesman to ever live, you still say goofy s#it. Substantive facts about cars just don’t seem to be your thing, it is what it is.

            All of your fabulously wealthy friends at your luxurious invite-only events who bought the first ground-up design from a brand new car manufacturer should have been prepared for interesting times, or else they probably didn’t make their money being savvy, well-rounded intellectuals. Besides that, many owners seem pretty happy. So the 7 you’ve spoken to may even be the minority.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @gtrslngr: Better do some more checking up there, because Steve Jobs mentored Musk on the Tesla concept. While I admit to not knowing all the specifics, you can’t help but see Steve Jobs’ touch in much of how Tesla operates.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @gtrslngr:
          1) True
          2) False — The battery technology is less than 30 years old and proving itself while “all the same problems that have faced EVs” HAS been addressed effectively. Please tell us which ones haven’t.
          3) I don’t know about the Volt, but in my example above the Tesla would have paid for itself in savings alone in less than 15 years of MY driving.
          4) See #3.
          5) False. If you operate the vehicle properly, you shouldn’t see more than a 20% loss in capacity over a minimum of 8 years, which is the guarantee Tesla puts on their batteries. If they fail before that time, Tesla replaces them. With technology Tesla has already demonstrated, even that won’t be an issue for long as you’ll be able to replace that battery in less than 3 minutes for only the cost of a typical car’s gas fill up. You need to take a broader view of the technology. Neither Toyota nor Daimler can even access the Supercharger as far as I’m aware. Certainly neither one of them has advertised that ability.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Bump that number up to 45 years for the TESLA S . Neither car btw being projected [ by their own engineers ] to last more than a decade . And in fact in the case of the TESLA S its lifespan is projected to be well under a decade .”

          Assuming this is true, I’m going to start laughing at Tesla buyers.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          gtrslngr: “5) This one to Vulpine specifically as well as the guest writer here who owns a TESLA S . Here is the dirty little inside secret about the ‘SuperCharger’ . Every time you use one you diminish the Li batteries in the TESLA S’s capacity for storing power by some 5% . Every time [ which is one of many reasons Toyota and Daimler are saying hasta la bye bye to TESLA ]

          If you’d do the least little bit of math before you posted, you’d find your assertion ridiculous.

          People have driven Model S’s across the US on the Supercharger network without significant loss of range. That’s about 15 charges each way. If what you claim is true, their Model S’s would lack the capacity necessary for each leg of the trip before the trip ended.

      • 0 avatar
        smartascii

        It seems to me that buying a car that starts at $70k (before those tax-funded incentives) to save money on gas is a little like saying that it’s time to remodel the bathroom because there are toenail clippings on the floor. 30,000 miles a year at 20 mpg (1500 gallons per year) would still take more than 10 years at $4/gal to get you your money back, at which point, obviously, it will have 300k miles on it. Will it be cheaper to drive during those 10 years than another $70k car? Yes, provided the batteries last and don’t cost 5 figures to replace, it absolutely will. Will it cost less than a V8 Genesis, for example? Maybe a little bit. Will it cost less than a Corolla? Nope. And that whole time, I’ll still get to plan my parking, routes, distances, etc. around the availability of a charging network.

        As an aside, I’m not sure people would be nearly as interested in this car if it were ugly, and I really wish it were sold alongside an identical gas-powered version, because I suspect this would clarify just how interested people actually are in electric cars.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    ……. the obvious result of GM trying to pawn off a $10K DaeWoo .. that became a $15k Cruze ..morphing into a $40k VOLT/Ampera … now turned into a $70k Cadillac . All with the stroke of a badge , a few techno fiddly bits and a bit of a facelift and a whole lot of makeup

    Kind of almost gives one hope that Maybe … just Maybe the American consumer is finally coming to his/her senses ?

    Ehhhh … probably not . Oh well .

  • avatar

    The BMW i8 looks just different enough from all the look-alike-boring stuff BMW sells to not only stand out, but be a “dream car” that people aspire to own – despite its ridiculous EV range and $130,000+ tag.

    The ELR looks EXACTLY like a standard CTS coupe – and doesn’t even have enough highlights to look as good as a CTS-V Coupe.

    Why would I blow $100,000 on a ELR when I could just buy a CTS-Coupe (or V) and save $thousands$???

    The CTS-V coupe is actually worth $100,000 to most sports car enthusiasts – but you’re getting it for considerably less new/used/leased.

    When you compare the Model S to the ELR:

    #1 The ELR has the BETTER QUALITY INTERIOR…but has an useless rear seat space.
    The Tesla Model S has a “family sized” interior, but lower grade materials – which for some people isn’t a big deal. It also has a more distinctive exterior and a lower price for the lower range model.

    Why would anyone choose a ELR over a Model S???

    I’d choose a CTS-V Coupe over a Model S any day of the week.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      In other words, if you want luxury performance and don’t care about fuel mileage, ignore the ELR and get the CTS-V. If you want luxury economy and have minimal range needs, buy a BMW i-series. But if you want comfort AND economy, get the Tesla; it’s less expensive than either of the above and offers something superior to each of the others, whether that be range, or economy.

      To each his own and enjoy your choice.

      • 0 avatar

        It is a “to each his own” thing, but it only shows you how ridiculous the products are for what their intended purposes are.

        If they are truly trying to replace the Internal Combustion Engine, why are they releasing extremely expensive, compact vehicles with short electric ranges that need backup generators?

        The backup generator completely defeats the purpose of an EV and the price completely defeats the financial prudence unless you drive dramatically long range each and ever day.

        It would make sense for me to buy a Model S if I was my coworker who drives 130 miles round trip each day for 200 days a year. But if I drive short ranges I might as well save on the car and use gasoline.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Thank you for verifying my point; for some it doesn’t make sense but for others it does. For yet others an entirely different set of reasons make come in to make sense for them.

          I, personally, see the logic and purpose in the Tesla and as the technology advances the cost WILL come down. I know many see the Tesla as a “status symbol”, but quite bluntly every vehicle out there is a status symbol of one sort or another, whether it means “I’m cheap” to, “I’m rich” to, “Hey! Look at me! I’m a cowboy!”

          That said, there are others who look at a car and say, “It’s just transportation” and to a good extent they’re right. At the same time, my own father–who insisted any car was “just transportation”–went through cars on a yearly basis because he beat them to heck and back and only purchased cars new out of the showroom twice in his life. Honestly, he demonstrated to me that buying used was buying ‘somebody else’s problem’, which proved itself to me early on. Cars I’ve purchased new have lasted me far longer than cars purchased used. As a result, I pre-plan each purchase based on current and expected needs and desires.

          No, I don’t own a Tesla, but I want to. I’ve been in it. I understand the technology better than most because I’ve worked on much of that technology over my lifetime. I see its benefits and see a car that could last me far, far longer than any previous model I’ve owned. It offers the power and agility of a V8 performance car with the economy of all-electric drive–about 1/6th the cost of gasoline for the miles driven based on the current national average of 30mpg. It’s got the size and comfort of a luxury sedan, yet still gives small-car operating costs. It is a good match–for me.

          Drive what you want, I’ll drive what I can. That’s really all anyone can do.

        • 0 avatar
          Master Baiter

          “…If they are truly trying to replace the Internal Combustion Engine, why are they releasing extremely expensive, compact vehicles with short electric ranges…”

          Because gasoline is a much better energy source for cars than batteries are. To keep cost down, you need a small battery, which means small size and short range. Reasonable range in a mid-size car costs $100K. All these limitations were well known to the car companies before the government twisted their arms into making EVs.

          Only the EPA and Al Gore want to replace the ICE. Consumers don’t have an issue with it.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Gasoline WILL run out; it’s just a matter of time–and not all that much time is left.

          • 0 avatar

            Master Baiter

            If you want to “sound like I do” posting anti-liberal, anti-green agenda, anti-Gore and anti-treehugger comments, I ask that you get here first – before me.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Vulpine, I also believe oil and gasoline will run out…. in about 200 years or more.

            Regardless, we each have to live our lifestyle according to our beliefs, and I’m using gasoline like it is 1959…..

            I’ll worry about it when we run out.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That’s where we differ, HDC; if we don’t reduce our demand, I believe we’ll run out in 50 years or less. Right now demand is rising and supply is almost critically short.

            Yes, I am aware that “reserves” are higher than ever, but actual supply is limited. Even many of the commenters here on the boards point out that a typical “Fracking” well is only good for 5-10 years of production and no one well is going to provide all of what the US alone demands, much less the rest of the world.

            You want liquid hydrocarbons? Then fly to the moons of Jupiter and start pumping it down. THAT’s a near-unlimited supply for Earth’s needs.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Vulpine, I know that’s where we differ. And that’s cool. I respect your point of view. You are certainly entitled to your point of view — I won’t try to change your mind.

            I differ with my Priest on issues too, like abortion in case of rape like what happened to my wife’s niece, so differences of opinion are going to be with us.

            What matters is how we choose to live our lives. And what principles we choose to adhere to.

            When it comes to oil, I live my life like it is 1959.

            Even with the higher cost of today’s gasoline, there still is no better bargain or sounder alternative that will work for me.

            If it ever runs out, I’ll have to adapt, overcome, find another way. Until then, like the McDonald’s jingle, I am loving it!

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            ” I also believe oil and gasoline will run out…. in about 200 years or more.

            Regardless, we each have to live our lifestyle according to our beliefs, and I’m using gasoline like it is 1959…”

            This is refreshing to read for its honesty. Many who don’t have much interest in conserving fossil fuels do so because they think they’re just going to be available indefinitely, from what I hear. As long as you’re aware that things are going to get pretty hairy for our great- or great-great-grandkids unless we receive some deus ex machina. I have great faith in human ingenuity, but eventually we will be stumped, and nature will win.

            I liken using without concern to squeezing your cheeks together to avoid pinching a massive, impacted loaf that’s been festering in our culture’s bowels, and which is only going to hurt to pass more with every missed opportunity to fix the problem. Solutions to difficult problems are almost never painless. We may have to move backwards in terms of the level of comfort afforded to those in the first world, because these comforts and conveniences are based on a path of consumption which cannot be sustained forever. Anyone who could survive losing a good job and the associated lifestyle without offing themselves should be able to handle this. I don’t think the US will become the Congo, but I don’t expect peace and quiet because some folks turn into children when comfort and convenience are taken away.

            Not that carbon credits, EVs, and well-paid “green industry” lobbyists are the answer. I don’t have the answer, and I also love engines too much to go cold turkey. But I am surprisingly unperturbed by your opinion, that disaster looms in the distant future, and you don’t mind. As long as you know it.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            The funny thing is, HDC, that I don’t have any children to leave this world forward to. I should be one of the least concerned. However, it is not for the environmental reasons that I prefer the Tesla over others–they’re just a beneficial side effect. I like the technology itself and I feel I have a better grasp of what electric cars can be as compared to gasoline–and overall reliability is one of those advantages, as well as simply not having to buy gas again.

            Historically speaking, electricity has almost always been more powerful than an ICE or ECE (external combustion engine) of the same size and weight. It can get to speed faster and can run at speed longer non-stop than any fueled engine. Electric cars have even challenged rocket-propelled cars for absolute speed for as long as their batteries have held out. Our new battery technologies are what is making cars like the Tesla a reality today. Given time, I could see the infrastructure and battery capacity rise to simply overwhelm our current liquid-fueled passions.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            Point of fact is that gasoline and diesel fuel are not going to run out soon – maybe in 200 years, maybe longer. The problem, which may or may not materialize, is CO2 emissions. Might the EV be the answer to this? Could be, it would depend on how we generate the electricity.

            My sense is that the current generation of EV’s, however admirable, are premature.
            1. They take too long to recharge.
            2. Their range is too short.
            3. Petroleum and natural gas production is about to get a huge 20 to 30 year boost from fracking.

            One school of thought which makes sense to me is that natural gas will become a ‘transitional’ fuel for power generation. Eventually, nukes will be considered safe, and solar energy will be economically viable. Until then, combined cycle turbines fired by natural gas will fill the bill. They are cheap, they come in nice little 50 mw increments, and their CO2 emissions are by far the least of any other fossil fuel. All they need is abundant and relatively cheap natural gas which is where fracking comes in.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            You don’t think 200 years is “soon”? This oil stuff takes a little while to make, you know.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Of course, jimbob, that 20-30 years isn’t even a single generation. I’m sure we’re all fine with delaying the inevitable, but why wait to the last second to get an alternative on the road and maturing. By having the Tesla and other BEVs on the road now, by the time the inevitable does happen, BEV technology will be mature and a suitable replacement.

            Who knows. Maybe by then we’ll have cold-fusion reactors under the hood of every car. Hmmm?

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      Ahem !

      1) The BMW i8 is not an EV . It is a PlugIn hybrid .. plain and simple

      2) The main difference between the TESLA S and the ELR is the fact that once again the ELR is a PlugIn Hybrid whereas the TESLA S is in fact an EV

      3) One point of actual agreement [ will miracles never cease ? ] Yes … both the quality fit and finish [ and especially the paint ] are abysmal considering the price tag with the TESLA S

      4) Back to disagreement [ phew ] … the quality fit and finish [ especially the interiors ] in ALL Cadillacs is in fact .. crap ! [ theres a reason discerning consumers have dubbed Cadillacs as CattleCraps BT ]

      5) The CTS-V is a pretentious pile of abject Euro Wanna Be crap .. guaranteed to fall apart before your very eyes especially if one is foolish enough to drive one aggressively

      6) Unlike both the ELR and the TESLA S …. the BMW i8 is a bespoke car from the ground on up . Whereas both the ELR and the TESLA S are converted ICEs [ and in the case of the S .. a decades old ICE ] But then again it takes a discerning mind to both know that as well as comprehend why it would make a difference as to the overall value of a car

      • 0 avatar

        5) You have 0% proof the CTS-V coupe has reliability issues. I’d be willing to bet the CTS-V has better reliability than your average Euro-car after 3 years 36,000 miles.

        • 0 avatar
          gtrslngr

          BT – Like to place a very very large [ in fact more than I know for a fact you can afford ] wager that I have zero proof BT ?

          Thought not ! ;-)

          ( FYI ; A pedantic moment .. Use of the % sign in that statement is inappropriate )

          But hey BT . Lets make it really interesting . Double or Nothing that Mercedes and BMW combined … even in light of BMWs multiple recalls of late have had less reliability issues than all of Cadillac combined despite the fact that Mercedes worldwide sells more C-Class than Cadillac does its entire inventory … along with BMW selling more 3/4s then again Cadillac does its entire inventory

          Sorry BT . But when it comes to Luxury/Premium cars … especially actual Luxury/Premium [ versus rebadged Chevys OPELs and Holdens pretending to be Cadillacs and/or luxury/premium * ] …

          ….You are well and good out of your league . Stick to what you almost might know something about . Maybe . Big Trucks . As the moniker implies

          * Cadillac in fact has not had one single original/bespoke platform since the mid 50s

          • 0 avatar
            anti121hero

            I’m sorry, but if anyone deserves to get booted it’s you. I think we would benefit if you had a better attitude, and actually backed up your claims with factual evidence. There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion but they way you act is childish.

          • 0 avatar

            “….You are well and good out of your league . Stick to what you almost might know something about . Maybe . Big Trucks . As the moniker implies”

            I’ll keep BUYING muscle cars.
            You can just keep TALKING about them.

            The only reason I didn’t buy a CTS-V was because it wasn’t big enough in the 2nd row.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            anti121hero, he’s no different from other condescending types and self-styled know-it-all gurus who expound on ttac about subjects far beyond their grasp of real-life experience.

            I would much rather read something from a guy who actually did the work, battled in the arena for his daily bread, or lived the agony of hiring and firing people, than from some back-office type who never sat inthe decision-maker’s chair, never had to make a crucial business decision, yet pontificates on the woulda, shoulda and coulda.

            I say if people don’t like what he posts, skip over his comments.

            If people don’t like what I am compelled to say in my comments, I won’t be offended if they skip over my comments.

            Credit good writers on the ttac staff and interesting lines of comment from most readers, and it is easy to see that the combination of the two brings out even the most mundane milquetoast characters to portray themselves as all-knowing about everything automotive in the universe.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            “Thought not ! ;-)”
            Now, gtrslngr is stealing my lines. Pure plagiarism.

            Last week he tried to lecture me (very rudely as is his wont) about a fine point of multinational accounting. The key issue was transfer pricing, something he obviously had never heard of. My admittedly rather rude reply called him on his ignorance. It included the sentence “I thought not.”

            Tut, tut gtrslngr. Sry, have to go now. My private jet awaits, and there are some potential weather problems to avoid.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Credit good writers on the ttac staff and interesting lines of comment from most readers, and it is easy to see that the combination of the two brings out even the most mundane milquetoast characters to portray themselves as all-knowing about everything automotive in the universe.”

            HDC, this in one of the most astoundingly insightful paragraphs I have ever read from you.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        “6) Unlike both the ELR and the TESLA S …. the BMW i8 is a bespoke car from the ground on up . Whereas both the ELR and the TESLA S are converted ICEs [ and in the case of the S .. a decades old ICE ]”

        The BMW I8 is indeed a carbon fiber beauty, but in some ways, is still beholden to existing manufacturing processes. Motor up front, a transmission, and seating for 2. Tesla broke the mold, putting electric motors at the wheels leaving empty space under the hood and the trunk. The Tesla can seat 7.

        Some of Tesla’s tech is modern conventional, not dinosaur conventional. There’s nothing wrong with that. If they can combine it and use it in creative ways, and produce an EV for $70k that’s pretty damn good. The bespoke BMW i8 you speak of goes for over $130k.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @WheelMcCoy “but in some ways, is still beholden to existing manufacturing processes. Motor up front, a transmission, and seating for 2.”

          Actually, the motor sits over the rear axle and it seats 4, not 2.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            “Actually, the motor sits over the rear axle and it seats 4, not 2.”

            You are right. I initially went to the BMW website, but perused it too quickly.

            Upon more careful inspection, there is an electric motor up front, and a gas engine over the rear axle.

            So Tesla still has superior packaging. I just wanted to point that out to gtrsingr, but he has left the building.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          In other words, the Tesla takes modern technology and puts it together in a different way to make a different, and significantly better BEV than anything that has come before it. True, it may not be as good as SOME gasoline-powered cars, but it is better than others. It is different enough that it is turning heads–and causing a lot of uproar in automotive circles.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    When every chump in the comments section of every website can see your plan and say, “Huh, that’s not gonna work,” and it doesn’t work, you’ve got the poor product planner’s blues.

    • 0 avatar

      Never underestimate the power of the “reality distortion field”

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        It’s hard to tell the boss “that doesn’t make sense” in any organization but I had the impression is was *really* hard to tell the boss that at the Old GM. I would hope the new GM is more receptive to such things but I have my doubts.

        If nothing else, you’d think GM’s serial failures in hybrids and related efforts would open management up to honest feedback about such proposals.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    61 cars sold. Wow. Really. And I have to wonder how many to GM executives or family members etc. Would be interesting to see a breakdown of sales by state or metro area.

    As an aside: where can one find these dealer incentives for all cars? For example I know you can find rebates or financing on various websites, but how do I know the bonuses dealerships are eligible for for selling a given vehicle? This would really turn things in the negotiation process knowing that I get a 5k rebate or whatever but if you want the sale you better give me that dealer incentive cash as well.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    Basta on this one for me gentlemen . I’ve had about as much as I can take for one week when it comes to GMs ELR/VOLT/Ampera travesty trio along Elon Musk as I have Stronzetto Marchionne and his ongoing madness . As to the over priced/under performing Chevy/OPEL/Holdens masquerading as Euro Wanna Be Cadillacs … well … need I say more ? Do carry on without me though !

    Ciao !

  • avatar
    mars3941

    All you Lincoln MKZ Hybrid critics can go to hell. Including you, the truth about cars so called automotive experts. You could max out the Lincoln and still drive out in the 45K range flimsy gas door included.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Welcome to the new GM, same as the old GM.

    Ludicrously overpriced car, worth at best maybe $50,000. If you want a Cadillac coupe and are willing to spend $75,000, why wouldn’t you buy a CTS-V coupe? If you are spending that kind of money, especially on a plaything vehicle like a coupe, gas prices are of little concern to you, so get the more powerful, more fun and IMO better looking vehicle anyway. If gas prices are a concern to you and you are hellbent on spending $75K plus on a car that is only worth $50,000, then why wouldn’t you buy a Tesla Model S. I guess running that awful arrogant, ad with that insufferable douchebag didn’t quite payoff either, who didn’t see that coming?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      GM was reaching. Stretching. Betting that enough people would buy into the new GM, and the Volt.

      Couple that with the fact that the current administration’s policy of forcing EVs down the throat of the masses has been soundly rejected, and what you have is unsold stock on the back lots.

      If the supply of gasoline and diesel were to dry up, like in 1973, things would be different. That’s highly unlikely to happen because America exports more gasoline today than it imports oil.

      We could process even more oil and export even greater quantities of oil products if our refineries weren’t already taxed to full capacity.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    So its on course to sell better than the Acura NSX ever did.

    It looks like it will sell better than the Acura ZDX did its last 3 years in production.

    It looks like it will sell better than the BMW Z8 ever did.

    Its selling better than the Mazda RX-8 did most months in its entire sales history in the US

    Its selling better than the Mitsubishi I MiEV

    Its selling about as well as the Nissan GTR did its first year.

    Geez…but the Cadillac with completely different technology than these cars and appealing to a much smaller audience is the flop…

    Is this some sort of continuation of the GM Deathwatch series?

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      There were 3,163 sales of the Acura NSX in the U.S. in 1991 (its debut year). This decreased to 1,270 in 1992. The Cadillac ELR has a long way to go before it beats the Acura NSX in sales.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Your examples are either not praiseworthy cars (just as the ELR isn’t), or are very desirable halo cars (unlike the ELR) without high sales expectations.

      Cadillac had said they were going to move 5000 ELRs a year. I don’t think this car will survive into 2015.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        The RX-8 wasn’t praiseworthy? The Acura didn’t have high expectations for the ZDX? The NSX sold good the first year then flopped despite being similar in price or cheaper than its the competition.

        You guys take hate to a new level.

        Heck the Caddy is selling better than the ZR1 did after its first 2 years.

        • 0 avatar
          VenomV12

          MSRP of the ELR is $75K, the MSRP of the ZR1 is $112,000, so not really the same thing. $37K is a pretty significant amount of money. Also the production of the ZR1 just may not have been that high, period.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            If I recall correctly, the engine for the ZR-1 required a lot of hand assembly, and it was made in England.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            the C4 Zr1 engines were assembled by Mercury Marine in the USA. Lotus, then owned by GM, assisted in designing the engine.

            the C6 Zr1 engine was built by hand in Michigan ant the Performance center and was designed in the USA.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Venom, I was talking about the C4 Zr1, sorry I didn’t clarify that.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        SCE

        Where the heck did you ‘hear’ Cadillac say 5000 annual units?

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          This source reports a sales projection of 3000 units; I don’t remember where I read the 5000 number:

          http://green.autoblog.com/2013/11/27/cadillac-elr-vs-bmw-i3/

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            Ahh, a guy from Autoblog Green said 3000 units (without any reference) in a blog post. It must be true.

            Is that the same guy who said Chrysler crushed all their hybrid SUV’s?

    • 0 avatar
      galaxygreymx5

      None of the models listed ever had 2.5 years of inventory sitting around a few months after launch. Except perhaps the ZDX, which was just as absurdly-priced as the ELR and now on its death bed.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      BMW sold every Z8 they bothered to make, and most at a HEALTHY margin above MSRP. They did not sit on the showroom floors for a projected 700+ days each. Please do not compare extremely limited production cars to something GM was looking to sell multiple thousands of a year.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        Sorry krhodes1

        The car was a limited run with respects to only being built for 3 years, but it wasn’t limited in production numbers. If more people had bought them BMW would have made more each year they were in production.

        right from BMW “During the three years in which it was produced, the exclusive, unlimited short-run series of the BMW Z8 captivated “

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Z8 is still a poor comparison. It was an exotic roadster that was mainly hand built and mostly custom ordered.

          The Z8 is like an excellent craft beer while the ELR is InBev swill parading as a microbrew.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            And someone else stands up and goes “but but still”…

            Yes, not the best comparison, and I’m sure I could have found more. My point is that this is just another time when TTAC jumped on something for next to no reason and then all the torch carriers jumped on the wagon and started trying to burn down the general again.

            The Caddy is not built to appeal to the masses. I doubt its losing much if any money in the big picture of hybrid/electric/green/plant saving personal vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Fair enough. I don’t hate the ELR. I see them in my neighborhood often with “Manufacturer” plates. I’ve driven it and found it to be a nice product, especially the interior. I have a hard time with the price though. I also have a hard time with a V6 CTS basically starting at $60K. Cadillac pricing seems out of whack to me. Consumers seem to think so too based on sales stats.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “The Caddy is not built to appeal to the masses.”

            Who is it built to appeal to then?

            “Cadillac pricing seems out of whack to me. Consumers seem to think so too based on sales stats.”

            I agree, bball. If someone is truly interested in a Cadillac car I highly recommend it used as they sink like stones. $60K for a… V6 Oldsmobile? Fughabautit,

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If Cadillac wants to impress the auto industry, it will recall every ELR and crush them, just as Chrysler did with its hybrids in 2008.

    The ELR will continue to bleed cash for GM, continue to be an embarrassment, and will be a support headache for many years to come.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      Chrysler didn’t crush its hybrids in 08, they’re still on the road. I know someone who drives one.

    • 0 avatar

      SCE,
      That is the silliest thing I’ve read in a long time. You just lost all credibility with me, and I won’t waste my time ever replying to you again.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I’m suggesting a wise business decision. The ELR poor road performance is hurting – not helping – Cadillac’s image. And selling at an annual rate of 720 cars a year is hurting – not helping Cadillac’s bottom line.

        GM will have to support this limited edition vehicle for years. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ELR gets sent to Chevy dealers for service some day.

        • 0 avatar
          sunridge place

          You have no clue on the profitability of the ELR one way or the other. Stop pretending you do and stop assuming it is killing the ‘bottom line’ of Cadillac.

          What are your predictions on BMW i8 for the US? Please provide volumes for success.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Totally agree. Unless you’re a GM corporate insider, you couldn’t possibly know if the ELR made a profit based on selling 5 cars and being canceled. You would have to see the spreadsheet yourself. After all, there are still tax write offs, subsidies, and bailouts to take into account. Ask Tesla. Stop criticizing GM. The Encore is a game-changer and lots of new game changing products are in the pipeline and generating game changing buzz.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Agreed SCE. Then the materials should be recycled and sold to Toyota, so they can be made into cars that people will buy. Everyone wins.

  • avatar
    RS

    Should have named it the ‘Cimarron’.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Well, so much for extending the Voltec platform by moving it upmarket! I imagine a fair number of visitors to Cadillac dealers (and a couple dealers themselves) remain confused about what exactly the ELR is, and more importantly, why it costs so much more than an ordinary Volt.

    A quick read of ELR reviews all seem to be less than enthralled by the car’s less bourgeois roots, particularly the engine note, which clashes with the car’s sumptuous interior.

    I still think Chevy needs to use the Voltec for a more practical hatchback/van/CUV thing, to compete both with the Prius V and C-Max. Clearly Caddy Conversion has failed.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      That’s what I’ve been saying, but Voltec sales should improve with the next gen powertrain with an increased electric range and a lower price to boot.

  • avatar
    Victor

    Is it too early to call it the electric Cimarron?

    • 0 avatar
      Victor

      Again with awaiting moderation thing. Is everybody else being moderated?

      • 0 avatar
        Victor

        I see commentings being approved, but not mine. Seriously? Have I offended somebody? Am I being banished?

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Victor,

          Not sure why that happened. Sometimes the spam filter acts up. Sorry!

          • 0 avatar
            Victor

            Thanks JB, Derek sorted that one out for me. Seems that my new nickname triggered it. The thing is, English is not my native language so I’m always a little worried I might step at someone’s toe due to misuse of a given word or expression. That’s why I got a little freaked out with the moderation thing.

  • avatar
    sunridge place

    1500 units in inventory divided by 520 dealers= 2.8 units per store. Some have more, some have less.

    I thought we covered this last month?

    Very common for OEM to offer cash for demo program. Allows dealership to sell the demo unit after the prescribed miles at the discount a customer might expect when buying a vehicle with close to 1000 miles or more on the odometer.

    See BMW

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390444042704577589511359646688

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I don’t know how many times this dead horse has to be beat. The problem with the ELR is not sales numbers or price. It should have been built with a Voltec Gen 2 drive train. Plain and simple. In fact if done right it should have been built with a premium/upgraded Voltec Gen 2 drive train. Somethig better than what will be offered the 2nd Gen Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Carlson Fan: “The problem with the ELR is not sales numbers or price. It should have been built with a Voltec Gen 2 drive train.”

      I see a problem with that. GM doesn’t have a Voltec Gen 2 drivetrain.

  • avatar

    @VICTOR – I can see your messages awaiting approval but can only approve messages that are in response to articles I have authored. Either the author or the site admins will need to approve your messages in this thread and it appears they aren’t around right now.

    No worries, there isn’t any reason to think they won’t approve them, it’s just a technical thing that happens once in a while. I just want you to know since I see you wondering why your stuff isn’t coming through.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    I knew the ELR was doomed when I saw a print ad for it, including the copy “The first ELR.” Last time GM advertising did that, it was for the defunct Pontiac brand (in ads for the G6 and perhaps also the G8).

    Is good old GM hubris asserting itself again? Or is it just that its (undoubtedly costly) advertising campaigns are awful?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I have vision of PowerPoint’s being made right now. Some GM marketer saying “See, it didn’t work in the Caddy; the Voltec drive train needs to go in a brown bench-seat station wagon or a mini truck we;ll bring over in kit form, to avoid the chicken tax; and it’ll 4wd for hauling mulch from the home-improvement stores! I have mad skillz reading the interwebs and that’s all the guys talk about.”

  • avatar
    ajla

    I guess everyone is taking August off then?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Why did they build so many of them? did they actually think they would sell them?

  • avatar

    Why does this car bring out so many trolls?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      # of ELR trolls = Price / (sales x performance)

      I can’t love a wannabe eco car with low performance and high price, which naturally results in very low sales.

      I’m not a troll, just an ELR critic.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Trolling = pointing out reasons why this car is languishing? Sounds more like free market research for GM.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    If I had the money for this and something fun for a weekend car, yeah, I’d get an ELR. They’re weird / cool / ugly. Poorly priced though.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    The best looking Caddy in a long time. The snowplow front end treatment actually looks less stupid here. The price isn’t the problem. Tesla has shown that a decent range is possible & Tesla has taken the upper hand as for the advancement of electric cars. GM put a beautiful body on a Chevy Volt…Not much if any new tech to impress the early adopters. Double the battery range , make the engine more efficient , than price it where it is now. As it stands , The Caddy is the poor mans Prius , at Twice the price. OH , Yeah..that’ll work.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Does anyone have a feel for the non-development production costs GM sees for each voltec? Maybe a volume building move on a money looser didn’t make sense so they tried this in desperation. I’m fishing for a way for GM moves to make sense. Wasting time.

  • avatar

    we’ll find out what these jalopies are worth once they begin to appear on the used car market. the exposure to anticipated loss due from enhanced residuals is something that should be disclosed and accounted for in the financials.

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    As is usually the case with a controversial car, most commenters here seem to have not driven an ELR. I own a Volt and an ELR, so here’s an informed view.

    The ELR is not just a Volt with leather and a badge. Is it worth 2X a loaded Volt? My answer is, yes. I actually get a little *more* range out of the ELR’s battery than the Volt’s (and both regularly exceed GM’s claim). The ELR handles significantly differently from Volt in ways that are uniformly better, including considerably more grip (and less drama) in close-to-their-limits driving. The ELR’s “total power” mode is more than ample with midrange power at speed in real driving conditions, and its 0-40 performance (where shove really counts on urban street driving) is quietly beautiful to experience. The paddle-accessible regen-on-demand is a useful corner-entry braking control in active driving and it also promotes more regen in increments than shifting the Volt.

    My Volt is loaded with factory leather and all options from 2013 except front-facing collision sensing. It’s a comfortable car that most people feel is an unexpectedly premium experience when they get in it. The ELR is far beyond it, however. The interior is executed to a craft level at home in cars north of $100,000. As with most modern coupes, the driver and front passenger have ample room and comfort while having the ensconcing wrap of a coupe’s interior intimacy. Rear seats are more than vestigial but less than fully accommodating. With some cooperation by the driver and front seat passenger, it is comfortable back there if you are 5’8″ or shorter; iffy if you are taller; impossible if you are 6’3″ like me. So pretty much like most coupes, though a little tighter because of the roofline. Well, they did essentially build the concept car and GM knocked it out of the park. This is why people buy coupes.

    The Volt is an admirable mainstream car that happens to be an EV. It too is commonly misunderstood, so GM has to get people to drive it to know it. That’s the limiting factor — they haven’t gotten enough people to drive one. This is more so true of the Cadillac ELR. Both cars share the Voltec platform’s low center of gravity and extreme chassis strength. The ELR has a much improved front suspension with clearly better articulation, adhesion to the road and resistance to brake dive and squat. The addition of a Watts link to the rear beam axle gives rear suspension 80% of the characteristics of an IRS without the IRS’ intrusions in read space. The battery precludes IRS in these cars and that’s fine by me. Overall, the ELR tracks roads in a palpably more refined and planted way than Volt.

    The ELR is also longer and wider than Volt. The driving experience is tactily and emotionally different as a result. It’s 80s BMW 6-series vs. that vintage 3 series coupe: planted, serene and cocooning against scrappy, nimble and jostling. The serenity of driving ELR is calming at the beginning of your day, and again at the end on your way home, without feeling isolating or ever pillowy.

    In short, if you think ELR is just a Volt with leather and a badge, you haven’t driven them.

    There are two remaining themes of attack on the ELR in the interwebz: 1/ ELR is indefensible over Tesla; 2/ ELR doesn’t perform like an $80,000 luxury car.

    ELR vs. Tesla. Tesla S is a big 4-door sedan. If I wanted a big 4-door sedan I might have considered a Tesla, but I didn’t want that style of car. The coupe market is smaller, and a specialist market at any price, but a coupe buyer wants a coupe. There’s a specific experience to a coupe, whether it’s a Mustang, a Honda CRZ, an ELR, or a Bentley Coupe that not even a bastardized “4-door coupe” can emulate, let alone equal. So everyone has to decide what they want, experientially. If you think that makes a coupe a vanity car, fine. Any luxury car is a vanity car.

    Moreover, as a luxury car, the Tesla S falls short of luxury. This is subjective, but the Tesla S is not a high-touch design, and it lacks interior storage. It’s relatively spare inside, though what there is has been fitted well. Spend equal time in the ELR and in the Tesla S and this point should be apparent quickly. Whether you care about it or not is up to you. And while my career is in tech and I use screens every day, I’m not a fan of Tesla’s huge touchscreen UI, as currently implemented.

    But the primary inhibitor to choosing a Tesla S over an ELR is the range problem. Tesla loyalists can pooh-pooh range anxiety all they want and cite the supercharger network ad infinitum. But there are three truths to be grokked: 1/ No one gets the range claimed by Tesla in each of the S’ battery sizes. Real world ranges are less. Especially with speed and inclines in the mix. But even if the 85kWh battery achieved Tesla’s 265 mile range claim, I could not drive from LA to San Diego and back the same day (which I sometimes have to do) without worrying about whether a supercharger will be conveniently available. LA to Palm Springs and back, forget it. With ELR, I can do whatever I want.

    2/ The Supercharger network isn’t very extensive now, and when it is built, it will be in the wrong places. I don’t care nearly as much whether I can drive from LA to Phoenix on I-10 in a Tesla S, knowing a supercharger or two are available. If I have to go to Phoenix I’ll probably fly. For distances, I’m a lot more interested in driving, say, up US 395 to Mono Lake or Tahoe. Or staying off I-5 to go to San Francisco. Or if I were in the Northeast, in driving the many alternate routes between DC and Maine that keep me off I-95. Or I want a blue highways ramble in any state I am visiting. Superchargers are not going to be everywhere in a country of over 3.5 million square miles. And neither are battery swap stations.

    3/ The automobile is for freedom, not restriction. 82 mile range EVs are great 2nd or 3rd cars for local commutes only but they aren’t primary cars and don’t cost like it either. A 265 mile range EV is great some of the time. But when I want to go, I want to go where and when I want. If I’m paying $80K for a car, I want to drive it. Here’s where I’ll mention that getting all the ELR’s features (except for range extender) in a Tesla S pushes the Tesla to well over $100K.

    So, while I like the idea of a Tesla S, and I like the car itself, its owners’ disdain for anything less pure EV is not endearing to the brand. I didn’t buy one for good reasons, and obviously most people who buy cars in Tesla’s price range for S models, buy something else.

    Then there is this matter of the ELR not performing like other $80K cars.

    Do I care? In a field of ICE-powered $80K cars where the selection and compete criteria are speed, Gs and “feel,” none of them perform like an ELR. I’ve had a series of high horsepower cars, one more expensive than the ELR. All fun. But so what? None of the competing cars in ELR’s price range have its driving serenity and low eco footprint. Yet ELR has design that trumps most of them, and an interior that is fully sumptuous and on or above their level. In other words, I don’t save on gasoline to save money. I simply want to burn less gasoline while still having a premium car. I live in a major urban driving environment where my last 556 hp car achieved an average speed of under 25mph on most tanks of gas. It’s nonsense. The shove of an EV motor is quite satisfying in a different way. I just bought my first refill of gasoline for my ELR after 9 weeks — all of 6.3 gallons. My lifetime fuel economy average for my ELR relative to miles traveled is 111. My Volt, after 17 months is at 108. When I use gasoline to run the cars’ generators, the Volt sees typically about 44mpg on gas alone, and the ELR so far sees about 39mpg on gas alone. There are no other luxury $80,000 cars that can do this. The difference to my LADWP electric bill barely registers. The main thing is, I am contributing far fewer pollutants than before, and I am doing far less business with the oil supply chain, its zone pricing and fast-rise/slow fall economics, than before. Both are wins.

    Net, no one who wants a top-motor Jag is looking at an ELR, and no one looking for true luxury eco is considering a 400+hp ICE Jag at $80K.

    GM marketing has been obfuscating the Voltec platform’s function and the driving/ownership experience it creates. It’s a nuanced idea that requires deft positioning and communication. Not getting it right is hampering sales. Double that for the ELR, where the education burden is complicated by the luxury overlay. Maybe they’ll fix the marketing; maybe not. But these similarly-powered, very different cars are outstanding performers for the right owners, and for the right owners really nothing else will do.

    Phil


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