A spacious electric Cadillac designed to redefine American luxury and a battery-powered Chevy pickup were among the stars as GM unveiled an unprecedented 11 vehicles — and the technology to make them work — in a high-security briefing at its engineering center Wednesday.
Called the Celestiq, the big Cadillac sedan will be hand-built in small numbers in the Detroit area as GM marshals its resources to get a fleet of revolutionary vehicles on the road by 2025.
The electric vehicle rollout includes three dramatic new Cadillacs, a pair of Buick SUVs, the first two GMC Hummers and four Chevrolets.
“It’s a big bet on electric vehicles,” Autotrader executive analyst Michelle Krebs said. “GM’s in this for real.”
In addition to the vehicles — 10 physical models you could walk around and touch, one shown only in digital images — GM revealed details about the flexible vehicle architecture it developed to underpin the wide range of models, a new generation of electric motors and batteries it will manufacture at a joint venture in Ohio with supplier LG Chem.
The architecture will support vehicles with front-, rear- and all-wheel drive; ranges up to 400 miles; and one, two or three electric motors. The batteries are located under the vehicles’ floors.
“GM put significant thought into making sure these vehicles can be manufactured efficiently and cost effectively,” IHS Markit senior analyst Stephanie Brinley said.
The vehicles revealed Wednesday will roll out of at least two GM assembly plants.
The automaker expects to sell more than a million electric vehicles a year by mid-decade, GM chair and CEO Mary Barra said.
“We have the credibility and responsibility to create” cleaner vehicles, Barra said.
Here are the vehicles, which GM did not allow to be photographed:
A four-door sedan that’s likely to have a six-figure price tag and made-to-order interiors. With a long nose, expansive four-seat passenger compartment, fastback and short rear overhang, the Celestiq is reminiscent of concept cars for exotic European luxury cars, but the model shown Wednesday is apparently nearly identical to the production car. It has arresting lights in the place of a grille, a feature that will become Cadillac’s signature.
“Cadillac once defined luxury and innovation and will do so again,” GM President Mark Reuss said.
Due for production in 2022, the Lyriq is about the size of luxury SUVs like the Cadillac XT5, Audi Q5 and Tesla X. It has four seats, and interior touches like a 34-inch-wide high-def screen, wood trim with backlit filigree openings and four seats with a rear center console to control infotainment, climate and more.
The Lyriq has a wide stance, 23-inch tires and light streaks in the black crystal surface of its nose in place of the openings in a traditional grille. They’re flanked by Cadillac’s traditional vertical light blades for headlights and running lights.
The concept shown was about 85% true to the production vehicle, suggesting touches like the four-seat cabin may be swapped for a more practical five-passenger layout with a rear bench rather than bucket seats.
The luggage compartment is spacious, with plenty of room for big TVs and other significant purchases.
Large Cadillac SUV
About the size of an Escalade, but likely to be a supplement to rather than replacement for the 2022 Escalade large SUV that just debuted, the large Cadillac SUV’s design is more traditional than the groundbreaking Lyriq and Celestiq.
It will have three rows of seats and high-def screens that literally stretch along the dashboard the full width of the car, from pillar to pillar.
Like the Lyriq and Celestiq, it will have a name rather than the alphanumeric designations Cadillac experimented with. The new CT4 and 5 sedans are likely to be the last alphanumeric Caddies.
GMC Hummer SUV and sport utility truck
Both due to be built in the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, the Hummers will boast 1,000 horsepower and a ludicrous 11,500 pound-feet of torque. The batteries will be arranged for maximum power for the vehicle, which GM says will have extraordinary off-road ability.
The crew cab Hummer sport truck will have removable roof panels that can be stowed in its front trunk, where the engine would go in a conventional SUV. The pickup has a five-foot bed. Its wheelbase is 9 inches longer than the SUV.
The interiors will feature recyclable materials — no leather — with a large touch screen and design touches including a topographical map of the Sea of Tranquility — site of the first moon landing — on floormats and aluminum speaker grilles.
The space where a grille would be is narrow from top to bottom, but stretches the vehicle’s full width, fender to fender.
Unnamed, and clearly farther from production than other designs shown Wednesday, were two Buick SUVs that shared a wheelbase, but had very different personalities thanks to their proportions.
Both vehicles have sleek, vaguely European looks that GM called the “new face of the Buick brand.”
Chevrolet Bolt EUV and midcycle update
The closest to production, these two small EVs go on sale in mid-2021. The EUV — I’m guessing “electric utility vehicle,” but GM wouldn’t confirm — is 5 inches longer than the current Bolt. Its long roof is level, creating the impression the vehicle is taller than the regular-size Bolt. The EUV’s wheelbase grows 3 inches. Other changes include a new interior and controls.
The Bolt EUV will be the first non-Cadillac to get GM’s revolutionary Super Cruise hands-free driving system for highways and other limited access roads.
Chevrolet full-size pickup
The only vehicle shown in digital images rather than a physical model you could walk around and touch, the full-size pickup will complement the Silverado, Chevy’s best-selling vehicle. It’ll also compete with Rivian’s upcoming pickup, though the Chevy is more likely to be a working vehicle than the luxury Rivian, which is seen more as an accessory for luxury lifestyles and outdoor vacations.
It’s slated for production in 2025.
Chevrolet midsize SUV
Roughly the same size and sharing the design flair of the popular Chevy Blazer SUV, the electric midsize will seat five. It had a low roof, long doors and big wheel wells. Like the other EVs, it will have a larger touch screen than most current vehicles, but smaller than those in the Cadillac, Buick and GMC Hummer models.