By on January 14, 2019

Image: GM

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.”

Image: GM

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]

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