Confirmed: Cadillac Converj Concept Headed for Production as ELR

Cadillac has confirmed that it is developing an extended-range electric luxury car called the ELR. The ELR will be a “dramatic luxury coupe” that is also environmentally friendly. It stems from the Cadillac Converj concept first seen in 2009.

The ELR will operate primarily as an electric car, with its electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack arranged in a T-shape in the chassis. When the battery’s charge is exhausted, a four-cylinder gasoline engine serves as a generator to provide “hundreds of additional miles” of driving.

That sounds remarkably similar to the powertrain used by the Chevrolet Volt, and we thus believe the ELR will be a Cadillac-skinned, two-door version of Chevy’s famed electric car. Which, if you recall, was exactly the idea behind the original Converj concept.

As development has only just begun, Cadillac says it won’t release specifications, pricing, or on-sale dates for some time. The design looks like a smaller take on the Cadillac CTS coupe, which is a good thing. We especially like the aggressive shoulder line and rakish roofline.

The Cadillac Converj first appeared in concept form at the 2009 Detroit auto show. Though executives hemmed and hawed over whether the plug-in hybrid would reach production, former General Motors executive Bob Lutz confirmed in January that a Volt-based Converj was under development, but the program was reportedly scuttled.

The name was changed from Converj to ELR so as to fit with Cadillac’s three-letter naming scheme (CTS, SRX, and so on); the letters were reportedly chosen to “indicate the car’s electric propulsion technology.”

Source: Cadillac

It works as a concept, it would not work in the real world. It would look great as a mid-engined sports car. But as a front engined car the proportions are wrong and the nose looks like a snow plow. Plus it would be a competitor for the CTS coupe. I understand that GM wants to spread the development and production costs of the Volt. But Cadillac should be focusing on developing volume cars it can actually make money on not niche vehicles built around technology with questionable everyday utility.
This may work and justify the Volt price, although taking a Chevy and re-badging it as Cadillac reminds me of the Cimarron days. [shudder]

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