Cadillac's LYRIQal Future
Thursday evening Cadillac showed the world their new LYRIQ all-electric crossover show car and with it, the future of Cadillac design and propulsion.
The first vehicle to be publicly unveiled featuring General Motors' new Ultium Battery modular platform, the LYRIQ is unlike anything GM has ever shown before.
Billed as the "New Face of Cadillac" a lot can be gleaned from the design language, from its vertical LED headlights, to the interesting new split taillight design, the LYRIQ is definitely taking Cadillac design into new directions. But more on the design later. Lets talk specifics about the new power plant in this sleek new crossover.
All-Electric Future of GM
"The LYRIQ is based on GM’s next-generation, modular electric vehicle platform and driven by the Ultium propulsion system, allowing Cadillac to deliver customers a variety of range and performance options. With range being one of the biggest factors when it comes to selecting an EV, [Cadillac is] designing LYRIQ to offer beyond 300 miles of range on a full charge, based on internal testing"
With nothing more than a claim of "beyond 300" I personally feel Cadillac is falling short on the targeted range of this vehicle. The Tesla Model X, a close-in-size but maybe not in price competitor, can achieve 351 miles of EPA estimated range....TODAY. The LYRIQ is not set to arrive until 2022 as a 2023 model. I would imagine that Tesla would be able to achieve over 400 by that point in time. Never mind that Cadillac, and GM for that matter, have gone all-in on this Ultium battery technology as their future to electrification. The Ultium batteries are state-of-the-art nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum, or NCMA for short, batteries that are supposed to be cheaper to produce due to their use of aluminum in place of more expensive, rare-earth metals. The other big advantage of these batteries are the size, coming in with 90% of the wiring needed for the current slate of other GM electric vehicles, this battery system will be much less obtrusive than anything The General currently has in their tool bag.
Beyond range, the other big hurdle for consumers to switch to electric over gas is the charging network, another strong-suit of the LYRIQ's main competitor in Tesla. Tesla's long-famed Supercharger network is only getting bigger and faster as more customers jump ship to the trendy new brand. General Motors' answer to this is a partnership with EVgo and their budding new charging network. While not as quick and seamless as the Tesla Supercharger system, EVgo offers electric charging for the masses, not just one brand. GM aims to invest in EVgo's network and grow their network in size by the time their first Ultium powered vehicles start hitting the streets, and this means better EV motoring for all. We would also anticipate this partnership to yield some seamless charging integrations like Tesla's ability to pull up, plug in, charge, and go without apps or credit cards, but that is yet to be seen or announced.
The base model will be a single-motor RWD unit, with a performance based AWD dual-motor unit will be offered as well. No word on performance numbers at this moment, but we are sure Cadillac is targeting the performance of the Model X from Tesla. Figure somewhere around a 0-60 mph of under 3 seconds.
But is this all enough? Simply coming in alongside industry disruptors like Tesla with similar range at a more affordable price may not be enough. Elon Musk has already acknowledged that Teslas must become cheaper if they are to continue their run of success, meaning we may be seeing more affordable offerings from the leader in the segment. My fear is that GM might have been too focused on cost and not on range of these new battery packs, and therefore might fall short of the industry when the LYRIQ hits dealer showrooms. Only time will tell as we are yet to get official numbers from Cadillac.
If GM is just coming alongside their major competition in the all-electric side, they must really step up their game with the design, technology, and features of the LYRIQ and we believe they do.
“The LYRIQ represents the next iteration of the iconic brand’s styling, enabled by electrification, as only Cadillac can express,” said Andrew Smith, executive director, Global Cadillac Design. “Inside and out, LYRIQ is a thoughtful integration of design and technology and is intended to make every drive an occasion.”
The key design feature of the LYRIQ is its taut lines and flat surfaces, giving the crossover an assertive and modern design. Accentuated by the low roofline and wide stance, this crossover exudes agility and confidence. Aerodynamics were taken into great detail, characterized by the flow through roof spoiler on the top of the rear hatch.
This would be a good time to remind you that Cadillac refers to this vehicle as a show car, meaning it is not production ready as we see it. However, Cadillac claims about 85% of this show car will translate to the final production version. We anticipate items like the review mirrors to be enlarged for the production version, as well as some tweaks to some of the forward lighting elements. The flush mounted door handles have become a trademark of electric vehicles, but those too might not make the final version.
Lighting plays a key part to the exterior of this car, from the distinctive "black crystal" grille to the redesigned taillight signature, the LYRIQ is a very expressive vehicle when the sun goes down. As you approach your LYRIQ you will be greeted by an expressive lighting feature that begins at the point below the Cadillac Crest in the grill, flowing up the sides and back down the vertical LED headlights. A similar display occurs on the rear, split LED taillight design.
Special accented lightweight wheels and a hidden charging panel on both driver and passenger side front fenders round out the exterior of the LYRIQ.
Moving inside, the switch to an electric powertrain allows for much more freedom of design and ergonomics for the passengers. Freedom from a central tunnel from a traditional RWD car's drive shaft, the LYRIQ features a completely flat floor. A column-mounted drive selector frees up even more real estate for premium features like a jewelry box lined storage drawer under the dash.
Following on the heels of the new Escalade's 3-pane 38-inch curved OLED dash and infotainment screen, the LYRIQ features a 33 inch, single pane unit. Given this vehicle's smaller stature than the gargantuan Escalade, the smaller screen certainly won't feel that way when you climb behind the wheel. Behind that large screen is a new, dual-plane augmented reality-enhanced head-up display that incorporates a near plane for speed, direction and more, and a far plane for displaying navigation signals on the road ahead of you.
Some must-have technology in any vehicle preparing to go to war against any Tesla is self-driving and remote parking. This Caddy won't miss the mark there, featuring the next-generation of GM's Super Cruise system that uses mapped roads across the nation as well as LiDAR to provide a truly hands-free driving experience above the camera-only version offered by Tesla. The Cadillac system also features a driver attention camera to ensure drivers do not over-estimate the capabilities of the system and doze off to sleep while their car drives itself. Along with the Super Cruise, the LYRIQ features a remote parallel or perpendicular parking feature that can be initiated by the driver from inside or outside of the vehicle. Much akin to Tesla's beta version of Summon.
One of the problems facing electric vehicles as they travel down the road is the fact that there is not an internal combustion engine producing white noise around you as you drive, thus amplifying all road noises around you. Cadillac has addressed this too with active noise cancelling. "With this new system, Cadillac’s performance and audio engineers can target the frequency range of tire cavity noise, reducing the noise level in the vehicle and allowing for a quieter in-cabin experience.
The Cadillac LYRIQ builds on the brand’s exclusive partnership with AKG. “With LYRIQ we wanted to deliver a sound experience that would transport the driver from a vehicle into a recording studio,” said Hussein Khalil, Cadillac lead audio design release engineer. “With the AKG sound system, we are able to deliver this experience along with the quality and reliability luxury customers expect.”
At launch, LYRIQ will offer a 19-speaker AKG Studio audio system that delivers exceptionally crisp and precise sound reproduction, enabling drivers and passengers to enjoy their favorite music."
We have seen mixed reviews online of the design and features of this new show car. As with any vehicle, you won't really know all the nuances of the design until you can take it in in-person and we cannot wait to lay our eyes on one.
Our initial impressions are mostly positive, but without firm EPA range numbers or a pricing structure in place, we will reserve our full thoughts until we have a better picture of the production ready version. Until then we can imagine that the future of Cadillac will certainly be expressive.