Cadillac's New ELR Is Ready To Battle Tesla For The Luxury Electric Car Market

cadillac elr electric detroit naias 2013

Photo: Alex Davies / Business Insider

In October, General Motors announced its entry into the luxury electric car market with the Cadillac ELR.That market — for customers who want electric cars but are not overly concerned with the price tag — has to date been cornered by Tesla’s Model S.

With the ELR, GM will work to steal away those customers. The largest American automaker has several advantages over Tesla, especially infrastructure to design and produce cars, which Elon Musk has struggled to build over the past decade.

On top of that, Cadillac has a lot of momentum. 2012 was a good year for the brand, languishing just a few years ago.

The successful introductions of the XTS and ATS sedans culminated with the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that the ATS won the North American Car of the Year award.

Now GM CEO Dan Akerson has global hopes for Cadillac.

We were on hand at the show and got to see the ELR first hand, and were quite impressed by the look and feel of the car.

It may not match the remarkable Tesla Model S, but a solid, luxury electric car from an established automaker will pose a formidable challenge to Elon Musk’s company.

The ELR will go into limited production late this year and go on sale early in 2014; pricing has not been announced.

Disclosure: Ford paid for our travel and lodging expenses to visit the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

It signals the expansion of the revived brand.

The rear of the car resembles that of other Cadillac sedans, like the CTS, ATS, and XTS.

The ELR will feature the first application of a new interior designed by Cadillac.

Of course, it will have the Cadillac User Experience (CUE), Cadillac's new infotainment system.

The grill has active shutters that minimize air drag and make the ELR more aerodynamic.

It will use the same extended-range powertrain GM has in its Chevrolet Volt.

The engine delivers 207 horsepower.

The powertrain will allow the ELR to drive 35 miles on electric power alone before the gas engine kicks in.

In comparison, the most capable version of the Tesla Model S has a pure electric range of about 300 miles.

GM is investing $35 million in its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, where the ELR will be built starting late this year.

More than an hour after the press conference introducing the ELR, journalists were still gathered around it.

Now see more from the Detroit Auto Show:

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