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GM's new EV models: Cadillacs, Hummers, Buicks and Chevys

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

Warren – General Motors gave a sneak peek Wednesday of a new era of electric vehicles that the company says will eventually transform the company from a maker of gas-powered vehicles to electrics.

Two upscale GMC Hummers and two Cadillacs headlined the presentation. The Cadillacs showcased new, non-alphanumeric badges as the brand chases Tesla for luxury-EV supremacy: the limited-edition, hand-crafted Celestiq "halo" sedan and a Lyriq SUV. A silhouette of the Lyriq was the only image released by the company.

GM released a teaser image of the electric Cadillac Lyriq.

The presentation to investors and media in GM’s design facility included electric vehicles from every GM brand — 11 new EVs in total, including two Buicks and a Chevy SUV —displaying the company’s commitment to electrify the company from top to bottom.

The vehicles are part of GM’s plan to bring 20 new EVs to market by 2023, and all will be built on GM’s BEV3 “skateboard” architecture that can be configured for front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive, and take battery sizes from 50k-Wh to 200-kWh. The latter option would double the size of Tesla's top-of-the-line battery which has a range of 370 miles.

GM President Mark Reuss touted the new vehicles as "the biggest opportunity ever for this company. It's a chance to reinvent the company and its brands."

GM President Mark Reuss said the new EVs give the company a chance to reinvent the company and its brands.

Coming EVs from GM include:

Cadillac Celestiq: A new flagship car for the Cadillac brand, the fastback electric sedan has a long hood and wheelbase proportions. The stunning digital interior is dominated by a pillar-to-pillar LED display screen. Though no date for production has been set, it will be custom-built in limited numbers to herald Cadillac's new direction.

Asked why Cadillac needed such a dramatic car, Reuss responded: "Do you think the Cadillac brand is in good shape? It's not."

Cadillac Lyriq: Teased at the 2019 Detroit auto show, the Cadillac SUV will be the first Cadillac to get a real name – as opposed to the alphanumeric badges of the brand’s gas-powered vehicles – when it goes into production in 2021. Like the Celestiq, the Lyriq shows off Cadillac's dramatic new styling direction with a full-fascia, crest-shaped grille bristling with LED lighting details that glow as the driver approaches the car with a key or phone app.

The interior of the Lyriq is dominated by a curved 34-inch LED screen. With the battery packs buried in the floor, two “floating islands” rise between the front and rear seats with controls for climate and infotainment. The ute’s 23-inch wheels are the biggest ever seen on a Cadillac.

The Lyriq is similar in size to an XT5 and will debut with rear-wheel drive with all-wheel-drive as an option. GM says 50kWh to 200kWh battery packs will vary range and cost.

Cadillac SUV: Further down the road, Cadillac promises an unnamed, three-row EV similar in size to the Escalade. Its grille, however, will look like the Lyriq and Celestiq to distinguish it as a member of the EV family.

Buick SUV and crossover: Buick will debut two new Buick EVs by 2025 showcasing a new design direction for the brand. The fascias of the yet-unnamed vehicles resemble the Lamborghini Urus with thin-slit headlights perched atop big open grilles feeding air to the batteries within.

GMC Hummers: Hummer will introduce a sport-utility truck and sport-utility vehicle on the BEV3 platform. The former will adopt a shorter wheelbase and will be aimed at off-road applications. Despite thin grilles, the vehicles will be unmistakably Hummer with big, bold proportions and square wheel arches. With no engine up front, owners will be able to take the roof off and store it in the "frunk" (front trunk). Given their heft, the Hummers will likely get the biggest battery (200 kWh) and charging capabilities (800-volt) to boast up to 1,000 horsepower.

New Chevrolets: Chevrolet will get a yet-unnamed mid-size EV SUV that bears a resemblance to the current Blazer. The EV architecture, however, will enable more interior space. The interior bears similar design cues to the Blazer but with a bigger 18-inch screen.

Also shown was a teaser video of an electric Chevy pickup truck.

Cruise Origin: First seen in January, the self-driving Origin shuttle was also on display outside GM's design dome. The Origin is built on the same platform as the aforementioned passenger cars, but a steering wheel is absent and four passengers sit facing each other like in a train car. The Origin will undergo extensive testing at GM's Milford Proving Ground this year as California-based Cruise moves toward implementing a ride share program.

In addition, GM showed a redesigned Chevy Bolt EV hatchback — and a companion, larger Bolt with SUV-like proportions — that will be introduced over the next year. The Bolts will be the first non-Cadillac models to get the company's Super Cruise drive-assist feature.

They also will have GM's Energy Assist app, an important piece in the automaker's larger plans to support recharging infrastructure crucial to EV adoption. Range anxiety is a key barrier to EV sales and the app pools the nation's 3,000-plus charger network in order to find the most convenient travel route. 

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne.