Cadillac launches all-electric Lyriq

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. on Monday officially launched limited production of Cadillac's first electric vehicle, the 2023 Lyriq crossover, at Spring Hill Assembly in Tennessee. 

Starting at $59,990, the Lyriq is 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. 

Jim Hobgood, a 30-year GM veteran, checks the dashboard panel on a new Cadillac Lyriq at the Spring Hill Assembly Plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Cadillac executives said the Lyriq received nearly 240,000 "hand raisers" —  people who have expressed interest in the vehicle. The brand has not revealed the number of actual reservations it has for the car. Cadillac is opening an order bank for the product May 19, with deliveries expected to begin that month. When GM conducted customer clinics, the Lyriq received the highest ratings on any vehicle in the automaker's history. 

The new Cadillac Lyriq comes equipped with a 12-module, 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack and a rear-wheel-drive Ultium platform. The Lyriq will deliver a Cadillac estimated 340 horsepower and 440 Nm of torque Ñ and is expected to get over 300 miles of range with a full charge.

"We know it's hot," GM President Mark Reuss told reporters Monday. "We know the design interior and exterior is beautiful and special."

The Lyriq is "the first chapter of a long, long story," said Stephanie Brinley, principal auto analyst at IHS Markit. "It's important that that first chapter grabs your attention and pulls you in. But I think we can expect more ultimately as GM gets their feet under them and as Ultium evolves."

The Lyriq's launch is a pivotal moment for Cadillac as the luxury brand looks to transition its fleet of internal-combustion products to an all-electric fleet by 2030. It's also pivotal for the region and state as Tennessee looks to be a leader in the auto industry, especially in the electric future. 

GM is investing $4.5 billion in Spring Hill for an EV campus. The Detroit automaker spent $2 billion at Spring Hill Assembly for EV production and $2.5 billion with partner LG Energy Solution on a new battery cell manufacturing plant next to the assembly plant — up from the $2.3 billion originally announced.

Spring Hill Assembly used to be home to the discontinued Saturn brand. GM built its largest North American site here in the late 1980s, changing this farm town forever. Now, its central in GM's all-electric plans. To kick off the EV transition, Spring Hill had to accelerate Lyriq's launch by nine months. The plant will continue to build the electric Cadillac as it also builds the GMC Acadia, Cadillac XT5 and Cadillac XT6 on the same line.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq interior in Sky Cool Gray.

"The membership and I, we're very excited because this is the future," United Auto Workers Local 1853 shop chairman Danny Taylor told The Detroit News in an interview last week at the Spring Hill plant. "EV is going to be our future and we have a foot in the door right now (as) one of the first plants to do that." 

GM's crosstown rival Ford Motor Co. is also investing in Tennessee to build its Blue Oval City in a small town 45 minutes outside Memphis on the west side of the state. The Dearborn automaker is spending $5.6 billion to build the campus, where it will build the next-generation F-Series electric trucks starting in 2025 and have a battery cell production site with partner SK Innovation. 

General Motors Co. on Monday celebrated the launch of the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq at the Spring Hill Assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

Tennessee's auto story started in the early 1980s with the arrival of Nissan, followed by GM's Saturn investment in Spring Hill. 

"I want to thank the leadership of General Motors who have made commitments time and time again to this state, who have made investments over and over and over in this state to make us the leading manufacturer of automotive ... especially electric vehicles in America," Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said at the Lyriq launch event Monday. "It is remarkable what's happening and we are grateful for that investment but we are investing, as well."

khall@detroitnews.com

Twitter:@bykaleahall