Cadillac is turning to its next chapter as an electric-vehicle brand with the debut of the 2022 Cadillac Lyriq crossover.
The battery-powered Lyriq, Cadillac’s first all-electric vehicle, will debut online Aug. 6. Although the Lyriq is not expected to hit showrooms until sometime in 2022, it marks the beginning of Cadillac’s dive into electrics. General Motors Co.’s stated goal is to sell more Cadillacs with rechargeable batteries than gas tanks by 2030.
Some industry observers see it as a chance for Cadillac to finally move ahead of foreign luxury-makers. Others question whether it’s realistic in a time when only a small percentage of buyers shop electrics.
“It’s no secret they want to elevate their brand, they want to compete with the European luxury automakers, and it seems like they’ve tried various avenues like performance,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights for market researcher Edmunds. “So I wonder if this is one of those ways that they want to differentiate themselves, but it’s not necessarily going to materialize into anything that is long-lasting.”
Steve Carlisle, senior vice president and president of Cadillac — and soon to become executive vice president and president of North America — told reporters in December that by 2030, he expects “to see the internal combustion fade away and the electric start to dominate. We will be in a position to be 100% electric by the latter part of the decade.”
Automotive industry analyst Karl Brauer is wary of long-term commitments like Carlisle’s: “Because nobody is going to look back and say, ‘He was wrong, they’re not all electric.’ In other words, what’s he got to lose by making that prediction?”
Cadillac’s plan hasn’t changed since December, despite a two-month shutdown of plants due to the pandemic that drove the automaker to an $800 million loss in the second quarter. GM says it’s still pushing forward on its aggressive EV plans, Lyriq included. The automaker aims to have 20 electric nameplates globally by 2023 and will spend $20 billion on electric and autonomous vehicle production through 2025.
GM picked Cadillac as the brand to lead its transition to EVs. Cadillac first teased images of the Lyriq in spring 2019. Though GM has been secretive on details, it has confirmed the electric crossover will have a 33-inch display screen and will be fitted with Super Cruise, GM’s advanced driver-assist technology.
The Lyriq will be powered by GM’s new Ultium battery, which has energy options ranging from 50 to 200 kWh. The automaker estimates the batteries will be able to push some vehicles to 400 miles or more on a single charge.