Detroit Auto Show: The Cadillac Of Plug-in Hybrids Debuts In The Motor City

The 2014 Cadillac ELR wins the Eyes On Design Best Production Vehicle Award Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Cadillac)With the flashy and much-hyped introduction of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, General Motors could have coasted through the rest of this year’s Detroit Auto Show with relative ease. Instead, the U.S. auto giant took a step in a new direction, at least when it comes to imbuing the Cadillac luxury division with green vehicle credentials. Introduced on Tuesday, January 15, the Cadillac ELR is the brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid vehicle, and possibly one of the most important models in Cadillac’s long history.

Based on the Chevrolet Volt, the four-passenger ELR coupe eschews the functionality of a five-door layout—as found in the Volt—for the visual punch of a coupe design. The result, which looks remarkably similar to the 2009 Converj concept car, makes the ELR arguably one of the best looking eco-themed vehicles on the market—or at least it will, once the extended-range electric Caddy goes on sale in early 2014.

With a 1.4-liter gasoline-powered four-cylinder engine and 16.5 kWh lithium ion battery, the ELR’s total output is a stout 207 horsepower. That’s a sizeable jump from the Volt’s 149 hp, though it’s likely that overall performance will be similar, since the luxury-laden ELR weighs about 300 pounds more than its Chevy counterpart. The ELR is capable of traveling 35 miles on electric power, before the gasoline engine kicks in to serve as an onboard generator and boost total driving range to 300 miles.

Pricing will be revealed closer to the ELR’s on sale date.

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