So here it is: the Cadillac ELR. We had it for 3 days last week, drove it, played with it, but honestly didn’t get to spend as much time with it as we had hoped. So as a result, instead of doing a full blown review, we thought it best to create a list of the 10 Things You Need to Know about the Cadillac ELR. So without further adieu:
1. Paddles Shifters Aren’t What they Seem
Traditionally speaking, paddle shifters change a car’s gear. Left to shift down, right to shift up. However, on the ELR they do anything but. In fact, they’re part of the regen braking system. And while pressing the brake can also recapture energy and put it back into the battery, I’ve been told that this is the optimal method. That all said, you can slow the car down to as little as 2mph, and with practice you can very well drive around town just using one pedal – I was almost able to get the hang of this in about two day’s time.
2. Four Driving Modes
Like the Chevy Volt, the sibling of the ELR, there are driving modes. There are a total of four, which include Tour, Sport, Mountain and Hold. Tour is for every day driving. Sport remaps the accelerator pedal (10% becomes 20% power and so forth) and firms up the suspension – it’s a noticeable difference. Mountain turns the gas powered engine to full blast – this creates a noticeable engine whining noise – and puts as much juice as possible back into the battery packs. Hold retains the ELR’s charge, which in turn means the engine is running to power the electric powertrain. Most people will drive around in Tour, where as Sport is largely used during more spirited driving. And yes, the ELR handles much, much better than the Volt.
3. Range and Charging Time
The battery can provide about 30-35 miles of range, where as the petrol engine (generator) adds another 300. So needless to say you can drive about 335 miles before you need to plugin or fill up. However, most people don’t drive more than 20 miles to work, so in theory you might never need to fill up during the work week. But, even if you never tapped into the car’s petrol, it will eventually use some of it to keep things “lubed” up.
Charging should take about 4.5 hours on a fast charger, where as a 110v will take probably 9 hours. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to plug in the ELR simply because I didn’t have it long enough in my possession, and my garage doesn’t have a tenant accessible outlet.
4. Two Sources of power
As already mentioned, there are two sources of power to push the ELR along. There is a 1.4l engine that acts as a generator and charges the electric powertrain. Combined horsepower is 202 and 295 lb-ft of torque. Hammer down on the accelerator pedal and your head won’t snap back. Instead the ELR increases speed in a fairly even manner.
It’s the same UI that we’ve seen in other Cadillacs, but GM has dropped a new processor inside and sped things up significantly. So much so, that CUE now feels quite useful, though that doesn’t address any interface concerns.
6. No Handles
Yes, there are no handles inside of the CUE, save for the emergency door release latches. To open the ELR’s doors, inside or out, there is a button. To open the glove box there is a button. To open the trunk there is a button. To open something I call the “drug smuggling compartment”, you just touch the sensor.
7. What’s in the Interior
Suede, leather and opulence. Yes, it’s very, very high end. Have a qualm here? Then you likely own your own private 747 jumbo jet. Also included is a kicking Bose system, and…and a Bose active noise cancelation system that helps drown out road noise. A quiet cabin you ask? Yes.
8. Battery pack Cooling
The battery pack in the ELR is situated in the center and at the car’s lowest point, resulting in an optimal center of gravity. I’ve driven car’s with the battery in the trunk (e.g. BMW 5a) and it ends up being a tail happy scenario. And of note, the batteries, unlike some other EV’s, are liquid cooled, which means they’re always at their optimal temperature, which I believe is some where between 68F and 74F.
9. Safety Features
There is ACC (adaptive cruise control); lane assist incase you accidentally weave out of your lane; blind spot monitoring which is nice for those that struggle with mirrors;, a rear view camera that works in tandem with the back sensor that alert you to an object by vibrating your seat and flashing a warning on the screen; and last but not least a blinker/horn (a small horn) that allows you to alert pedestrians to your presence.
10. Full array of LED Lights
And surprisingly, this is the first production car to include a full array of LED lights in the front and the back, by default.