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Phil Covington headshot

Cadillac Charts New Direction with All-Electric Luxury SUV

By Phil Covington

The future direction of Cadillac was revealed to the public this evening (August 6) with the unveiling of the company’s new luxury electric SUV via a webcast from General Motors’ Design Dome in Michigan.

The new vehicle, called the Lyriq, is the first electric vehicle (EV) that GM has shown to the public featuring the company’s next generation modular Ultium battery technology. The Ultium platform, co-developed with LG Chem, will underpin GM’s EV strategy across all its brands over the next decade.

It's not yet clear when the Lyriq will be available to purchase, but the reveal did provide a few extra details than were available when TriplePundit caught a glimpse of the pre-production prototype back in March during GM’s EV Week.

We saw in March that Cadillac is putting a lot of emphasis on design elements both inside and outside the vehicle. Cadillac aims to make the Lyriq enticing by creating a cabin which blends high-end wood and metal surfaces, along with plentiful backlighting, to create a futuristic and engaging ambiance. The centerpiece in the drivers’ sightline is a curved 33-inch display while drivers’ hands will find an abundance of touch control surfaces.

The exterior “sets the tone for Cadillac’s design language moving forward," GM says, and as with the interior, it makes use of dynamic lighting effects. As the driver approaches the car, the front-end lights up progressively, starting with the Cadillac crest and expanding out sequentially with an array of LEDs around the grille. There’s definitely plenty of bling with the Lyriq, but the effect appears tasteful rather than tacky.

When this car does go on sale, Cadillac will need to gain customers more effectively than other luxury brands have been able to achieve with their EV offerings.

So far, Tesla is the only EV maker to motivate people of means to part with their cash at a hoped-for scale. Conversely, Audi and Jaguar have both struggled to sell their EVs to luxury car buyers in sufficient volume, despite producing very compelling vehicles. Cadillac will need to buck this trend if it hopes to steer customers in an all-electric direction, and no doubt there’s a lot riding on the Lyriq. 

To this point, during the reveal, GM emphasized its belief that customer acceptance will derive from three key elements it seems confident it can meet: range, charging infrastructure and driving experience. 

Range sounds like it’s going to be of the order of 300 miles, and though the automaker didn’t provide an EPA official range, GM said this is the benchmark customers have indicated is necessary. The car will be capable of Level 1 and 2 AC fast charging as well as 150-kilowatt DC fast charging.

Charging infrastructure is something GM is committed to expand for all EV drivers as demonstrated by its partnership with EVgo to build 2,700 fast chargers over the next few years.

And as for driving experience, as well as loading up on compelling design features and creating a cosseting cabin, GM emphasized driving dynamics have been developed to impress, too. 50/50 fore and aft weight distribution and a low center of gravity afforded by the position of the Ultium battery pack, along with all-wheel drive, combine to deliver what GM says will be “a no excuses performance Cadillac.” Promised too are customizable settings to provide “infinitely tailorable” driving dynamics.

Drivers will also get GM’s hands-free Supercruise driver assist technology, which is capable of executing seamless highway lane changes.

A fun fact mentioned during the reveal was that the “iq” in Lyriq is a nod to intelligence, a recognition that Cadillac’s customers are a discerning bunch and have a greater acceptance of new technologies.

Lyriq seems on course to deliver in this regard, but will it be enough to achieve success where other luxury brands have so far struggled? Time will tell, but perhaps another key factor will be the price — a detail Cadillac didn’t reveal … at the reveal.

Image credit: Cadillac Media Relations

Phil Covington headshot

Phil Covington holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. In the past, he spent 16 years in the freight transportation and logistics industry. Today, Phil's writing focuses on transportation, forestry, technology and matters of sustainability in business.

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