A Crossover With No Name Is Cadillac's Hedge Against an Oilless Future

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Everyone else is doing it. And, if lawmakers on this side of the Atlantic start going the way of their European counterparts, traditional American luxury will need a shot of cleanliness. Even if they don’t, a fickle U.S. public might suddenly fall in love with the green lifestyle and give a big middle finger to internal combustion road cruisers.

Not wanting to be left without a savior in this future scenario, and needing some electric American prestige to sell to discerning Chinese buyers, Cadillac unveiled this piece of emissions-free hardware on the eve of the North American International Auto Show. It’s not vaporware, General Motors insists.

What you see above will be the first fully electric Cadillac, the automaker claims. It’s also tagged as the first vehicle built on the company’s upcoming BEV3 electric architecture.

As that platform is not yet part of GM’s inventory, the vehicle above is not mere months away from entering production. GM wouldn’t say when we’ll see this vehicle launch, though its BEV3 platform should come online in 2021.

Some time before that date, we’ll learn the model’s name.

“Cadillac’s EV will hit the heart of the crossover market and meet the needs of customers around the world,” said Cadillac President Steve Carlisle in a statement. “It will represent the height of luxury and innovation while positioning Cadillac as the pinnacle of mobility.”

Just days earlier, newly minted GM President Mark Reuss said the brand would lead the charge on GM’s electrification efforts, though CEO Mary Barra admits Cadillac won’t have to carry all the weight itself. While the Caddy crossover represents “just the tip of the iceberg,” trailblazer Chevrolet will continue playing “an important role” on the EV front, she said Sunday. It’s a family affair in the company’s quest for greener pastures.

Clearly, the automaker felt the need to show the public something — some tangible evidence of its commitment to its promise of 20 global EV models by 2023, even if the evidence was only shown in a video aired at the Cadillac XT6’s debut. BEV3, like Volkswagen’s MEB, can be tailored to accommodate a range of drive wheels and bodystyles.

With BEV3, GM can “respond quickly to customer preferences with a relatively short design and development lead time,” the company claims, adding that “the output of [future models’] battery systems will be adjustable based on vehicle and customer needs.”

As for this vehicle, driving range and grunt remains the subject of speculation. Assuming a 2021 launch, Cadillac will find itself playing a bit of catch-up in the premium, two-row EV crossover field. Blame the Germans, as well as the Brits. Jaguar’s I-Pace EV crossover is already on sale, while Audi’s E-Tron utility appears with window stickers in the second quarter of this year. Hot on their heels is the Mercedes-Benz EQC and BMW iX3, scheduled to arrive in 2020.

[Source: The Detroit News] [Images: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Chicklet Chicklet on Jan 14, 2019

    And it has no name, hmmmm. Maybe that's good. How about Cimarron II?

    • Orioncanam Orioncanam on Jan 15, 2019

      I suggest "Caterra-ible", to pay homage to the Caddy that zigs.

  • Akear Akear on Jan 14, 2019

    This is a stunning design. Maybe it should be the new CT6. It would be a shame to waste this great design on a niche electric vehicle. BTW, it looks as if GM and Cadillac are going to save the CTS6 after all. I still believe it is the best sedan GM has ever produced in North America.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.