When we had our first look at the Cadillac Converj Concept at the 2011 Canadian International Auto Show, it was just that—a concept that appeared to be as far away from a production model as any seen at the show.
Here was a Caddy built—as the Cadillac brass on hand said—with virtually no budget, based on the electric powertrain of the newly arrived Chevy Volt, and styled like something from the sequel to I, Robot—assuming Audi was no longer interested.
Well, it appears that a budget has been set, as Cadillac has confirmed that they will, in fact, be building the Converj. Well, not the “Converj”; the official name is called “ELR”. Because, like Mazdas, it appears that modern Cadillacs aren’t allowed to have actual model names unless they’re an SUV.
Power will be coming from a lithium-ion powered electric unit and a four-cylinder petrol lump. Being so recently into development, no power figures have been set but if Cadillac is expecting the ELR to keep up with the standard (if you can all it that) of electric spots cars, the Tesla Roadster, then expect the figure to be around 250-280 horsepower. The range, meanwhile, is claimed by Cadillac to be “hundreds of miles”.
Don Butler, vice-president of Cadillac Marketing said in a statement that “like other milestone Cadillac models of the past, the ELR will offer something not otherwise present—the combination of electric propulsion with striking design and the fun of luxury coupe driving”.
Well, we can’t confirm the “driving fun” part, but we can definitely concur with Butler’s “striking design” comment. Unlike so many concepts, when we saw the Converj we felt that it at least looked like something that they could build and that people would buy. The interior was outlandish, that’s for sure (and will most likely be drastically changed come production time), but the rest was aggressive without being ridiculous. The head lights may be in violation of Transport Canada’s motor vehicle safety regs, but again, a few tweaks are sure to come that shouldn’t take away from the overall effect of the syling package.
No release date has yet been set (don’t expect it to be any earlier than 2013) but either way, the ELR, along with the Tesla and Fisker Karma, serve as shining lights that there is more to the hybrid car movement that simply finding the cheapest, most efficient way to get from A to B. There will always be sports car lovers, even when hybrids take up the lion’s share of manufacturer’s lineups, so it’s nice to see that they won’t be forgotten.