I always get excited when the old guard automakers come around to releasing new electric vehicles. At the same time, they all usually invoke the same response from me; disappointment. But as they say on Wall Street, this time is different. Hopefully. Let’s see if Cadillac can reinvent themselves and get back to invoking the same emotions of desire and lust as they used to, a generation ago.
Cadillac Lyriq – the tip of GM’s EV spear
So here we are, at the tip of General Motors spear. The General is planning to spend $20 billion through 2025 on developing new electric and autonomous vehicles. The new Ultium battery system will enable battery packs to range in size from 50 kWh to 200 kWh, with the latter enabling a GM estimated range of up to 400 miles or more on a full charge.
The new electric motors are designed in-house and will support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive applications. The front-wheel motor is rated at 180 kilowatts (241 hp), and the rear produces 250 kilowatts (335 hp). GM has also reduced by about 80 percent the amount of wiring from the EV architecture currently used in its Chevy Bolt vehicles.
In an effort to drive battery cell costs below the $100/kWh level and presumably allow for more efficient production, GM has also reduced the amount of wiring by 80% compared to the EV architecture currently in use by the Chevrolet Bolt.
GM unveils its new BEV3 architecture
The General’s newly revealed “BEV3” modular EV platform will underpin the Cadillac Lyriq. The five-seat, two-row midsize SUV will be about the size of the existing XT5 and go into production in late 2021 or early 2022. The new teaser image shows what appears to be a sleek crossover in profile, with a long wheelbase and relatively short overhangs.
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You can’t make out a lot in the picture, but the roofline is lean and low, and the side profile is somewhat reminiscent of the Jaguar E-pace and the new Ford Mustang Mach-E. The design language of the Cadillac Lyriq looks sleeker and somewhat softer than the boxy and edgy Cadillacs of today.
Unlike many other manufacturers of the old guard, the General has secured a collaboration with a battery supplier, LG Chem, much like Tesla did with Panasonic. This collaboration should prevent a supply shortage of battery cells, such as what afflicted Mercedes and forced them to cut the production rate of their EQC.
What’s GM’s plan?
It will be interesting to see how GM will solve the lack of chargers for their customers. Are they going to rely on third-party charging companies? Whose charging networks are notoriously more expensive than Teslas.
Are they counting on that their product is so much better than a Tesla that you will forego a well built out and convenient network of superchargers? And how will General Motors incentivize their dealerships to promote vehicles that they can’t make money off to service? Where there is almost no maintenance.
What’s more, I am thrilled to see how GM will manage to support and maintain its cash cow business that is ICE vehicles, yet simultaneously invest heavily in EVs. How smooth will their transition be? Count me among the cautiously optimistic, yet surprisingly excited, for the April unveil.