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December 27, 2013

Cadillac Makes Electric Luxurious With the ELR Coupe

Palm Springs is an oasis for mid-century modern homes designed by legendary architects like Neutra and Eichler for luminaries including Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore. The style emphasizes one-story structures with flat roofs, clean lines, walls of glass, ample windows and open floor plans. It was this type of design that inspired Cadillac’s Converj, the concept that the 2014 Cadillac ELR was based on.

Appropriately, a recent reveal for ELR, an electrified luxury coupe, took place in Palm Springs.


2014 Cadillac
Cadillac ELR in Palm Springs

The ELR takes the best of the Converj concept and makes it work.  In fact, the electrified vehicle was lovely enough to win the EyesOn Design award for best production car at the 2013 North American International Auto Show.

Design notes that ladies will love:

As Bob Boniface, Director of Cadillac exterior design, circled the crystal red ELR coupe, he pointed out the soft edges under the curves of the vehicle. The designer noted, “See how as the curves on the car turn skyward it picks up the purple and magenta colors.” 

“All true”, I thought, marveling at how car designers do this all while trying to defy aerodynamics with no wasted lines. 



2014 Cadillac ELR
Cadillac ELR in the California desert

“You want the air to leave quickly,” Boniface noted. He explained how air is sent down the side of the car, how the mirror is pulled away from the car for a smoother coefficient of drag  or CD, how the angle of the roof is designed for minimal drag and yes, even how the door handles are tucked away into recesses in the doors.  BTW, the ELR has 0.305 CD.

The engineers did not skimp on extras. For example, the dynamic LED blades and daytime running lights remain an important part of the lighting signature. “We own the space and we have to make it work,” Boniface quipped.

“We spared no compromise to have every luxury detail,” noted Pam Fletcher, executive chief engineer. She pointed out the upfront dynamic profile featuring 20-inch wheels and tires. “That big?” I asked, thinking that smaller tires used less energy. Fletcher answered, “It had to be efficient, the rolling resistance of the tire was counted into the equation.”



2014 Cadillac ELR
Cadillac ELR flowing design

Other features added into the equation include; a choice of four modes so the driver can change their style, steering and road feel and make better use of the electric power. The ELR even has a safety alert on the seat that gives you a vibration if you leave your lane. My favorite feature was the regeneration on demand braking. To keep your electric motor charging one uses the paddles on the steering wheel instead of the brake to slow down.

On the inside, the ELR balances beautiful materials including suede microfiber headliner, burled woods, carbon fiber and stitched leather with large areas of glass.

Oh, and one more thing. The drive? Transparent. As in, who knew it was electric? Quiet—of course, quick, light and easy to navigate. And yes, there’s that energy quotient. The ELR is capable of exceeding 300 miles on a combo of electric and a gas powered range-extender.

Pricing for the Cadillac ELR starts at $75,995.



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