Cadillac to launch its first-ever electric car
GM’s luxury brand, Cadillac, has unveiled a concept of its first fully electric car, the Lyriq. Cadillac will only launch the crossover model in 2022. But the brand has promised most of its models will be electric by 2030. The Lyriq is part of GM’s plan to launch 20 fully electric cars by 2023.
Cadillac already showed the Lyriq’s battery in March. Called Ultium, it packs about 100kWh of energy. This should provide the Lyriq with a range of around 300 miles (500 km). With DC fast charging, the Lyriq can charge at rates over 150 kW. With Level 2 charging, it can handle rates up to 19 kW. The Ultium battery will also be used by Honda.
EV from the ground up
Cadillac will not build the Lyriq on an adapted ICE car platform but a newly designed EV platform. Using a dedicated platform means that fewer compromises have to be made in packaging. The platform will also serve the other GM brands (Chevrolet, GMC, and Buick) for their future EVs.
The Ultium battery used in the platform is designed to help reduce the need for rare-earth materials, such as cobalt. Its NCMA (nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum) chemistry uses aluminum in the cathode. This reduces the cobalt content by more than 70 %, compared to current GM batteries.
The battery pack is made out of flat pouch cells that enable smart module construction to reduce complexity and simplify cooling. Additionally, the battery electronics are incorporated directly into the modules, eliminating nearly 90% of the battery pack wiring, compared to GM’s current electric vehicles.
The Lyriq uses a 33-inch-diagonal LED display replacing the instruments. It spans the viewing area for the driver and incorporates driver information details, infotainment controls, and camera views.
To keep things safe, it also features an ‘augmented reality-enhanced’ head-up display. It uses 2 planes: a near plane indicating speed and direction, and a far plane displaying transparent navigation signals and other important alerts.
Some autonomous features are present as well. Cadillac’s ‘Super Cruise’ is an enhanced version of hands-free adaptive cruise control, including lane change. ‘Supervised remote parking’ is an autonomous parking feature that can also be used when the driver is not in the vehicle.
Regaining market share
The Lyriq and its EV platform are important for GM. They are supposed to help the automotive group catch up with Tesla, which dominates the US EV market. Tesla, in the eyes of investors, currently embodies the future of the automobile. It’s is now worth far more on the stock market than Detroit’s ‘Big Three’, GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler.
GM was the first major US manufacturer to launch an EV in the nineties, the infamous Chevrolet EV-1. But besides its range-extended Volt and EV Bolt, it hasn’t been very active on the EV front. Ford entered the EV market at the end of 2019 with the unveiling of its Mustang Mach-E SUV. It didn’t do very well with an earlier attempt, the Focus Electric.