Converj becomes ELR

2011 Cadillac ELR 00175We’ve been hearing off and on rumors of a Cadillac electric car. Just recently, we heard that it was back on yet again. Today, Cadillac made it official that a car, based largely on the Chevrolet Volt architecture, and christened the ELR is just now beginning its march toward production.

Styled in the vein of the Cadillac Converj concept, the 2-door/4-seat luxury coupe will give electric car buyers another option to GM’s Volt sedan. This will also mark the first mass-produced electric car that will play in the luxury coupe market – which should help GM spread the cost of the range-extended EV technology across an additional segment that can also absorb more of the cost of the technology (meaning either a profit-generator or at least less of a money loser for GM). Imagery released today appears to be very close, if not identical, to the Converj concept – the production car will likely see some minor changes as it gets closer to its release date (which Cadillac has not chosen to share with us today).

A targeted price, on-sale date, or performance numbers are all still up in the air. Expect Cadillac to spend quite a bit of time trickling out the details as we get closer to the ELR’s on-sale date (we will go out on a limb and say that this will hit in 2013 as a 2014 model while also commanding a mid-50k MSRP). Read on for the press release:The innovative Cadillac Converj Concept, a dramatic luxury coupe with extended-range electric vehicle technology, is moving forward as a production car that will be called the Cadillac ELR.

Development of the ELR is just underway, so details on performance, price and timing will be announced later.

The Cadillac ELR will feature an electric propulsion system made up of a T-shaped lithium ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator. It uses electricity as its primary source to drive the car without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the battery’s energy is low, the ELR seamlessly switches to extended-range mode to enable driving for hundreds of additional miles.

“The concept generated instant enthusiasm,” said Don Butler, vice president-Cadillac Marketing. “Like other milestone Cadillac models of the past, the ELR will offer something not otherwise present – the combination of electric propulsion with striking design and the fun of luxury coupe driving.”

Cadillac selected the name ELR to indicate the car’s electric propulsion technology, in keeping with the brand’s 3-letter international model naming convention.

The Converj Concept sparked the idea of combining the desirability of a grand touring coupe with electrification, said Ed Welburn, GM vice president, Global Design.

“There’s no mistaking it for anything but a Cadillac, an aggressive, forward-leaning profile and proportion showcases a uniquely shaped, modern vision of a personal luxury 2+2,” Welburn said.

Cadillac will reveal another new concept car on Thursday, Aug. 18, at a special event prior to the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Cadillac also recently announced it will add two new vehicles to its product lineup in 2012, the XTS large luxury sedan and an all-new luxury compact sedan codenamed ATS.