The landscape for battery-electric vehicles will have shifted and flourished by late 2022, about the time Cadillac’s entry at the luxury end of the market, the two-row Lyriq CUV, will arrive for sale in the U.S.
This week, General Motors’ premium brand is offering up a few details about the upcoming five-passenger CUV, but specifics are lacking, such as motor output, torque rating and build location. Additional information, including charging times, will be released in mid-2021, a GM spokesman says.
At this point, product planners say the Lyriq will come in rear-wheel and performance all-wheel-drive configurations and will deliver range of at least 300 miles (483 km). Charging options include DC fast charging rates over 150 kW and Level 2 charging up to 19 kW.
All-wheel drive should reduce range between 20 and 30 miles (32-48 km) from the RWD model, executives say.
The Lyriq springs from GM’s next-generation, modular electric vehicle platform, driven by Ultium, the low-cobalt lithium-ion batteries developed by GM and LG Chem. The flexible propulsion system, designed for varied range and performance options, also will be used in the forthcoming GMC Hummer all-electric pickup, slated for production next year.
Production of the Lyriq will begin first in China, followed by U.S. production shortly afterward for the 2023 model year.
In response to a media question during a briefing earlier this week, GM North America President Steve Carlisle says pricing for the Lyriq will begin below $75,000.
As a midsize luxury CUV, Carlisle says the Lyriq must appeal to consumers who have been shopping for both internal-combustion and battery-electric models. “It needs to be at a price point they are familiar with,” Carlisle tells journalists.
“As demand comes, we anticipate a range of conditions necessary to promote the adoption of EV including preparing our dealer network, expanding the charging infrastructure and growing customer acceptance,” he says. “We’re not going for a sugar high.”
When asked if Cadillac expects the Lyriq to become a volume model within the portfolio, Carlisle says, “that is the plan,” and he expects overall BEV sales to increase as the decade unfolds. “We expect Lyriq takes its fair share.”
When asked if the Lyriq will succeed in doing something no other BEV has done – beat Tesla in sales – Carlisle says it comes down to the product.
“The product needs to address the pain points,” he says. “I’m talking about packaging, about battery range, about charging times, about connectivity, about craftsmanship and attention to detail. It also needs to be in context of the customer experience people are looking for.”
Last week, GM and EVgo announced plans to add more than 2,700 fast chargers over the next five years, a move to encourage widespread adoption of EVs that would triple the size of the nation’s largest public fast charging network. EVgo already has more than 800 stations across the U.S.
The goal is to provide increased access to fast charging at grocery stores, retail outlets, entertainment centers and other high-traffic locations, so customers can charge their vehicles in the time it takes to run errands, watch a movie or have a meal.
Asked if Cadillac will make free charging available to Lyriq customers, Carlisle says, “it’s something we are contemplating, but we haven’t reached a conclusion yet.”
Product planners emphasize the Lyriq images released this week reflect a show car still in development, but that 80% of the futuristic interior will make it into production.
Andrew Smith, executive director of Global Cadillac Design, says most participants in a recent design review could not tell the difference between the show car and the intended production model.
Beyond powertrain innovation, Cadillac says the Lyriq will offer the latest version of Super Cruise, which offers hands-free driving on more than 200,000 miles (321,860 km) of compatible highways and now includes automated lane change.
Product planners say the Lyriq will offer the brand’s most advanced adaptive technology, including the latest Cadillac user experience, which is incorporated in a 33-in. (84-cm) advanced LED screen that spans the entire viewing area of the driver.
While Cadillac promotes electrification, an all-new version of its popular Escalade will be shipping to dealers late this month with only gasoline or diesel engines. Carlisle says the brand has received more than 6,000 orders for the new fullsize SUV.
Asked how the Escalade can stay in Cadillac’s future lineup if there’s no hybrid or battery-electric version, Carlisle responds: “There isn’t one yet.”