Cadillac’s new EVs will get the ‘V’ performance treatment – eventually

Launching from 0-60 in around 6.5 seconds, the all-electric Cadillac Lyriq is reasonably quick, but certainly no match for the luxury brand’s gas-powered models, like the new CT5-V Blackwing – it doesn’t come close neither do the numbers of some competing battery-electric vehicles, including the mainstream Ford Mustang Mach-E GT that can hit 60 in just half that time.

Tim Grewe, GM’s Ultium chief, explains what to expect from the platform.

Cadillac has long positioned performance as a cornerstone of its brand identity, even adding a new “V” version of the large Escalade SUV this year. So, with plans to go all-electric by 2030, it might seem like a high-powered version of the Lyriq – and other Caddy BEVs to come – would be an immediate priority.

You would be wrong. While there will eventually be all-electric ‘V’ models, the first likely won’t hit showrooms until the middle of the decade, several Cadillac officials told during the first media campaign. from the Lyriq in Park City, Utah. this week.

The wait won’t be “eternal,” promised Kristen Lewis, chief marketing officer for the flagship General Motors brand, but that’s by no means a top priority right now.

To change

While Cadillac previously offered a plug-in hybrid, the XTS, the Lyriq is its first all-electric model and, according to Lewis, is already sold out for the 2023 model year. More BEVs are in the works, Caddy earlier this month teasing an exotic model he dubbed the Celestiq. According to brand vice president Rory Harvey, few details have been revealed, although it is set to challenge super premium brands like Rolls-Royce.

Best Cadillac Lyriq 2023
The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq will evolve into a performance version, rather than starting out completely pumped up.

Industry analysts expect Celestiq to go on sale in the second half of 2023 — at the earliest — and Harvey told he has priority over a possible Lyriq V.

And other new models could also be introduced, with GM officials doing nothing to deny that an all-electric version of the full-size Escalade is currently in development.

“It’s a balancing act,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal automotive analyst at Guidehouse Insights. “They need to ensure that their core products (new electric vehicles) are well designed and executed” before focusing on performance editions that will require a significant amount of design and engineering resources.

It’s not the company’s only line of electric vehicles

To complicate matters, parent company GM must spread its manpower and technical resources among three other brands: Chevrolet, Buick and GMC, which are also racing to bring new battery-electric vehicles to market. Chevrolet alone has confirmed upcoming BEV versions of the Equinox and Blazer SUVs, the Corvette sports car and the Silverado pickup. In total, it plans to have 30 all-electric models on sale by 2025.

With the possible exception of the electric Corvette, “high-performance models aren’t going to be the big sellers,” analyst Abuelsamid said. “They want the big volume and they want to make sure what they’re putting out is correct. They can’t afford to tarnish their reputation,” as happened when GM was forced to recall nearly 150,000 Chevy Bolt EVs due to a battery fire hazard.

Cadillac Celestiq - with Crystal Windham
The Celestiq is likely to come out with more power than the Lyriq.

Cadillac’s slow approach contrasts with the strategy of some key luxury competitors. The Mercedes-AMG EQS develops 658 hp, exactly double the output of the base model, and enough to hit 60 in 3.4 seconds. Lucid’s first version of the new Air Dream sedan exceeds 1,100 horsepower and will hit 60 in just 2 seconds – about the same as the Tesla Model S Plaid.

Now, potential BEV buyers shouldn’t consider the new Cadillac Lyriq a miser. With the ability to generate 100% of its torque almost instantly, “there’s more than enough (power) for most riders,” said Lewis, Caddy’s chief marketing officer.

And where the initial rear-wheel-drive model develops 340hp, a twin-engine all-wheel-drive variant that will increase to 550hp will follow early next year.

But there’s a lot more potential using the “Ultium” battery-drive technology that GM has developed, analyst Abuelsamid said. A three-motor drivetrain in the new GMC Hummer EV tops out at 1,000 hp, and despite weighing just over 9,000 pounds, it can hit 60 in 3 seconds.

Few would be surprised if Cadillac didn’t incorporate a three-motor system into future models. This is something that brand officials won’t confirm, but they also try hard not to deny it.

So while it may take time to catch up, there’s no doubt that the genes of Cadillac’s vaunted V-Series will remain in the brand’s DNA for the long term.

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