Apologies for the long post but wanted to get it out there while experience is still fresh in my mind. This might sound like an attack on the ELR but it is really just my admittedly biased but honest observation. I actually want this vehicle and all PEV to do well to help raise awareness to the non early adopters and eventually bring them to fully BEV.
GM is hosting a Cadillac ELR launch party and weekend test drive at the local shopping mall in Corte Madera. I happened to walk into it en route to my morning coffee.
They have 10 cars waiting to be test driven. A stylish kiosk and lounge is set up on the sidewalk where customers can sign up for test drives and get questions answered (sounds familiar...)
That is about where the similarities to Tesla ends.
Out of sheer curiosity I spent some time at the kiosk in earnest to find out more about the ELR and gain knowledge from their sales people. At first I did not mention that I was a model S owner.
During the sign-up process we are asked to answer a few short survey like questions regarding the vehicles we currently drive and the likelihood of us purchasing a vehicle next time frame etc. I found it very interesting that the drop-down list for selecting the vehicle I currently drive did not include Tesla! Every other model of car is on the list. I doubt this was an oversight from GM. Especially when the final question on the survey is "what is your impression of Tesla Model S"!!
Here are my observations:
1. Their sales force consisted of 6 young attractive women and 1 young man (all less than 30 years old) dressed to impress, and quite friendly
2. Cadillac is offering free test drives all weekend and free charging stations with installation "($4000 value)"for the first 1000 customers to purchase the ELR
3. Starting price is $75,000 with additional free flow options for interior upgrades
4. The team there is quite eager to get you in to test drive the vehicle but somewhat limited in their knowledge base for answering important questions regarding the vehicle mechanics and technology.
5. Ironically they heavily emphasized the gas powered part of the vehicle over the battery electric feature. Keep in mind this shopping mall is in Northern California where most buyers are hungry for environmentally friendly technology. The overarching message that I got from the saleswoman was that this vehicle overcomes the inherent problems with Tesla and all other BEVs.
They mention range anxiety like 20 times in their first four opening sentences.
6. When I tried to ask questions about the charging technology, battery life, different options for charging the car at home or while traveling, what algorithms the vehicle uses to preferentially utilize BEV before gas, was met with blank expressions and of course more pep rally for the glorious gasoline engine
7. apparently the vehicle gives up to 320 rated miles (combining 40 battery miles with the remainder gas powered). Of course the sales people didn't mention YMMV.
8. Only seats 4 in a 2+2 distribution with very limited cargo space in the trunk. To me this overshadows some of the supposed merits of being a long range vehicle
9. On the plus side this vehicle is luxuriously appointed. Comfortable but cushy like a Cadillac leather, blind spot monitors adaptive cruise control etc. Perfect for the those who complain that a vehicle at this price point must include these features
10. I was the first to test drive the vehicle. Literally threw up in my mouth a little. Maybe someone who has never driven a model S wouldn't know the difference and might just might love this car. But there was no love from me. No torque response despite driving in EV mode. Sales guy says to me "hey what do you think of that 295lb-ft of torque?" I had no response. 0-60 in 7.8 seconds, no regenerative braking response, cushy smushy brake pedal (even on the so called "sport" mode). Of course the test drive route avoided the highway, hmm.
I would sum it up to say that the Cadillac ELR is a pretty much a very expensive luxury minded Chevy volt.
Really not a fair comparison BEV vs plug in hybrid, but other than price, ELR is the polar opposite of Tesla Model S.
Those poor kids trying to sell this car, especially in Bay Area, should take test drives of the Model S so they can at least recognize what customers who comparison shop will be asking them.