The Cadillac ELR has been unveiled on day two of the 2013 North American auto show in Detroit, presenting a sleek extended-range electric coupe that the General Motors-derivative says is the first application of the hybrid technology by a full-line luxury automotive brand.
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Based on the Cadillac Converj concept – first seen in Detroit in 2009 – and sharing electrification technology with the Chevrolet/Holden Volt, the front-wheel-drive 2+2 Cadillac ELR combines a 63kW 1.4-litre petrol-powered generator with an electric motor and a 16.5kWh lithium-ion battery for a total system output of 154kW and 400Nm, a full driving range of over 480km, and a top speed of 161km/h.

Using only the energy stored in the T-shaped battery pack located along the centreline of the vehicle, GM estimates the Cadillac ELR will deliver a range of about 56km. While taking advantage of regenerative braking technology when driving – it recharges the batteries under braking – the ELR can be completely recharged in about 4.5 hours using a 240V outlet.

Cadillac global vice president Bob Ferguson said the ELR marked a pivotal moment in the brand’s history.

“ELR is an unprecedented combination of luxury, advanced engineering and progressive design in a coupe that is both sporty and environmentally friendly.”

To be produced in limited numbers to ensure exclusivity, the Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) features LED headlights with daytime running lights, LED tail-lights, 20-inch wheels, HiPer Strut front suspension, and continuous damping control, which adjusts damping every two milliseconds. Four driver-selectable driving modes are also available: Sport, Tour, Mountain, and Hold.

Inside, a sueded microfibre headliner joins leather, chrome and wood highlights, with carbonfibre trim finishers also available. Cadillac’s Cue connectivity and control system with a touchscreen and satellite navigation is standard and recognises both voice and hand gesture commands. A driver-activated pedestrian alert sound is also included, due to the ELR’s quiet all-electric mode.

The Cadillac ELR will begin production at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in late 2013 with sales due to start in early 2014 in North America before expanding into global markets such as China and Europe.