Cadillac debuts production-ready Lyriq electric crossover
Detroit — Cadillac on Wednesday debuted the production-ready Lyriq, an electric crossover that's the first of several EVs coming from General Motors Co.'s luxury brand this decade as it looks to pivot to an all-electric lineup by 2030.
Cadillac, the leading electric brand for GM, is leaning on the success of its recently redesigned gas-powered products, including the new Escalade, to build its EV program, which, so far, includes the Lyriq and the hand-built Celestiq.
"Every new Cadillac, that we introduce from this point on in North America will be a state-of-the-art luxury electric vehicle," said Rory Harvey, vice president of Cadillac sales, service and marketing, during a media call for the Lyriq's debut.
Reservations for the 2023 Lyriq, which starts at $59,990, will open in September. Production will begin in the first quarter of 2022 at GM's Spring Hill, Tennessee, assembly plant, where other Cadillac EVs and their gas-powered peers will be built.
The Lyriq will be powered by GM's new Ultium battery technology. It comes equipped with a 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack and a rear-wheel-drive "skateboard" platform that delivers an estimated 340 horsepower. The Lyriq will get more than 300 miles of range on a full charge, according to GM estimates.
A midsize SUV, the Lyriq will compete against other luxury models like the Audi e-Tron, Jaguar i-Pace and Tesla Model S sedan and X SUV. The Model S, introduced a decade ago, has dominated large EV sales while its cheaper, compact-class siblings, the Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV, are among the best-selling luxury vehicles on the market.
More than 16 feet long with a 121.8-inch wheelbase, the Lyriq is considerably bigger than its competitive set (five inches beyond the Model S wheelbase, for example), yet its base $60,000 price splits the difference between the midsize, $80,000 Model S and compact, $50,000 Model Y.
"That sounds pretty competitive. Unlike the GMC Hummer, the Lyriq needs to reach more people," said IHS Markit senior auto analyst Stephanie Brinley, referring to the Hummer EV, the first GM vehicle built off the Ultium platform, that will roll out later this year with a $112,595 Edition 1 version.
"Lyriq pricing needs to reflect Cadillac's premium status, but also be accessible to attract people to EVs," she added.
Range and charging will be the Lyriq's biggest challenge, as its promised 300-plus miles of range is comparable to the Model Y but well shy of the 412-mile range Model S. The Lyriq spec is above the e-Tron's 222-mile range, however.
Cadillac also claims a best-in-class, 19.2 kW on-board charging module (the Model S offers 17.2 kW) for quicker charging at home — up to 52 miles gained in an hour.
GM is pushing to sell a million EVs by 2025 on its way to phasing out internal combustion engines and the pandemic hasn't slowed the automaker down. The Lyriq's arrival in the first quarter of 2022 puts it nine months ahead of schedule.
"A lot of it comes down to hard work and dedication," said Jamie Brewer, Lyriq chief engineer.
"But it's also a testament of the work that we as a company have done over the last many, many years in developing our virtual development process."
The Lyriq will benefit from other technologies developed by GM. It will offer Super Cruise, the General's hands-free driving-assist feature now available on other, gas-powered Caddies. And it will take a page from GM's first mass-market all-electric vehicle, the Chevy Bolt, by offering regenerative braking that can be controlled with a pressure-sensitive paddle on the steering wheel.
On a media call for the Lyriq debut, Harvey confirmed Cadillac "will be leaving this decade as an EV brand as things stand today, which means that we will not be selling ICE vehicles by 2030."
Cadillac told its 880 dealers to invest at least $200,000 each to sell future EVs starting in 2022 or stop selling Cadillacs. About 200 dealers opted to take a buyout from GM, choosing not to move forward with the electric future.
"Dealer enthusiasm and engagement is critical to our EV plan, as we believe the Cadillac dealer network provides us with a huge advantage in the marketplace," Harvey said. "We must transform the retail experience for luxury EV customers."