Luxury automakers are developing electric cars in response to Tesla, and it looks like Cadillac will be the latest to join the fray. At a media event ahead of 2019 Detroit Auto Show media days, the General Motors luxury brand showed images of its first all-electric model. GM recently announced that Cadillac will be its leader for electric cars.
The first all-electric Caddy will be a crossover. That’s not surprising, given the current popularity of these vehicles. It also gives Cadillac a direct competitor to the first wave of Tesla-fighting luxury models, including the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron, and Mercedes-Benz EQ. Infiniti’s first all-electric model will likely be a crossover, as previewed by the QX Inspiration concept making its debut in Detroit.
Cadillac didn’t release many details on the electric crossover (even the name is a secret for now), but it did say the vehicle will ride on a new electric-car platform to be shared with other GM brands. The platform was designed to be flexible, ensuring shorter development lead times, according to Cadillac. That should help the automaker keep pace with customer preferences and technology changes more easily. Cadillac expects to eventually offer multiple all-electric models, with different body styles, based off this platform.
When it comes to electrification, Cadillac is going from zero to hero. It previously offered the ELR plug-in hybrid, which was essentially a re-bodied Chevrolet Volt. While the styling was distinctive, the price was jacked up substantially over the Volt, turning the ELR into a sales failure. More recently, Cadillac sold a plug-in hybrid version of the CT6 sedan. But the CT6 is expected to disappear this summer as part of a massive cost-cutting scheme aimed at funding the shift toward electric vehicles.
GM now wants to make Cadillac its lead electric brand, taking over the role from the more affordable Chevrolet brand. GM previously said that it will launch 20 all-electric models by 2023. At the announcement of its first all-electric model, Cadillac said it will launch a new car roughly every six months through 2021. These new models likely won’t all be electric, though: a new Escalade SUV and a “performance sedan” are part of the plan as well.
We’ll keep an eye out for more details on Cadillac’s electric crossover. In meantime, Cadillac will launch the more conventional XT6 crossover, a three-row family hauler powered by a gasoline engine.