GM to Build Plug-In Cadillac in 2013

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What’s not to like about electric cars?  No gas, more trees—sounds like a pretty good deal to me.  Plus, while it’s understandable that there are a few people out there who dream about the sound of a powerful V-8, rumor has it electric engines have a pretty luring sound of their own. So why isn’t everyone driving one?

Like all new technologies, EVs are expensive. So expensive in fact, that to drive off the lot in a new Chevy Volt, you’d pay as much or more than you would to purchase a brand new Mercedes-Benz.  True, you’ll get a $7,500 tax credit from the federal government, and if you live in certain places like California, you’ll get an additional credit from the state, but your monthly payments will still be through the roof and by no means will you be driving away in a luxury vehicle. With the recent announcement that a luxury version of the Chevy Volt is going into production late in 2013, however, General Motors is aiming to change that.

According to the announcement, the luxury EV will be marketed under the Cadillac marque and be based on the Converj concept vehicle GM introduced at the North American International Auto Show back in 2009.  The EV, which GM execs have said will be called the ELR, will be manufactured at their Detroit-Hamtramck plant beginning next year.  GM will spend $35 million to prepare the plant to manufacture the ELR, though they don’t predict it will be necessary to hire more workers at this time.

Like the Volt, the ELR will have an extended range powertrain powered by a lithium ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a corresponding four-cylinder engine. Hoping to compete with the likes of luxury EV automakers, Fisker and Tesla, Cadillac has not yet announced pricing for the ELR. Because of the added luxury aspects, the Cadillac nameplate, an increased size, and its seriously upgraded looks, one can expect, however, that the Cadillac ELR will cost significantly more than the Chevy Volt. Currently, some are estimating a starting MSRP of around $50,000. Below are other electric vehicles’ starting prices:

2012 Nissan Leaf: $35,200 2013 Chevy Volt: $39,145 2012 Fisker Karma: $102,000
2013 Ford Focus Electric: $39,200 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi: $32,950 2012 Tesla Model S: $57,400
2012 Honda Fit EV: $36,625 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: $29,125 2012 Prius Plug-In: $32,000


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