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First Coast Gears: Cadillac's electric plug-in hybrid ELR coupe to be built in Detroit

1:36 PM, Oct 16, 2012   |    comments
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DETROIT, Mich. -- General Motors is taking another step toward nudging electric plug-in hybrid technology into the mainstream.

Cadillac has announced its upcoming ELR coupe will be built in Detroit.   Based on the Converj concept, the ELR uses the same technology as the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.

"The ELR will be in a class by itself, further proof of our commitment to electric vehicles and advanced technology," General Motors North America President Mark Reuss said in a keynote address at the SAE Convergence Conference in Detroit.

"People will instantly recognize it as a Cadillac by its distinctive, signature look and true-to-concept exterior design."

The 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 to give it extended range when the initial home charge runs out.

Cadillac hasn't released expected range or fuel economy numbers yet but given it's still a year away from production it will likely be as good or better than the Chevrolet Volt.

The Volt has an estimated battery range of 38 miles and a total range of 380 miles once the gas generator kicks in.  The Volt has a combined (electric/gas) EPA rating of 98 miles per gallon.

Some Volt owners have reported driving for months without using any gas.  For those that regularly extend the Volt's electric-only range, the generator gets an estimated 35 city/40 highway.

GM says adding the ELR to the Detroit-Hamtramck production line will cost about $35 million.  The plant also makes the Volt, Opel Ampera and Holden Volt.  The Ampera and Holden Volt are re-badged Volts that are exported to foreign markets. GM said it is exporting extended-range plug-in hybrids to 21 countries from the plant.

According to General Motors, the ELR will mark the first time a two-door coupe has been built at the plant since the 1999 Cadillac Eldorado.

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