The First Electric SUV from GM’s Luxury Brand
Despite occupying the number one spot in General Motors’ brand hierarchy, Cadillac will not get the first electric vehicle from GM’s new dedicated electric vehicle architecture. That honor goes to GMC, which receives the 2022 Hummer EV SUT, an electric pickup that will go into production in the fall of 2021, and which will later be followed by an SUV. (GM just released more details on the pair, in fact.) Instead, Cadillac will run a close second behind GMC – its Lyriq electric crossover will go on sale for the 2023 model year. Before that, the unveiling A full concept production preview will take place on August 6, and we know a lot about the concept and eventual model of streetgoing.
Indeed, the Lyriq concept is an unusually direct precursor to the production model, and GM says 95% of what we’ve seen is expected to go into production. This was supported by Michael Simcoe, vice president, global design. The Lyriq is based on the cross version of the platform known as BEV3. The five-seat, two-row midsize SUV will go into production in late 2021 or early 2022, with the first units destined for China and the first North American supplies coming a few weeks later. As you might expect, the Lyriq’s batteries live in its floor, under the seats; it will take advantage of GM’s own Ultium battery cells, which were jointly developed with LG Chem and will allow vertical or horizontal stacking to improve packaging options. Since Cadillac doesn’t share many photos of the thing yet, we’ve seen, we’ll describe it as best we can:
He has a wide stance, as well as an expressive face with a precise, backlit geometric pattern that forms a sort of grid; keep in mind that electric vehicles don’t really need grilles. The effect here is similar to that of Celestiq’s flagship concept that Cadillac also showed us, and the grille effect pattern bleeds into the Cadillac’s signature vertical headlights of the Lyriq. In fact, the overall look of the Lyriq was inspired by the bespoke and handcrafted Cadillac Celestiq. A new photo released by GM confirms that the charging port will be located on the front fender on the driver’s side, behind a large panel that will slide forward. The photo also reveals that the fender-mounted light will take the shape of the Cadillac crest, and the first concept is fitted with a GM Design badge along the sill panel.
As with the rest of the SUV, in the center of the front is the Cadillac Ridge, and there are some spectacular (and functional) air intakes. On the sides, the designers opted for a sporty profile with no interruptions of door handles, which flush with the surface of the bodywork, while a glass roof extends from the windshield to the rear glass spoiler. This dramatic form is set on a long serif. The concept has huge 23-inch wheels that will likely not be available on the production model. The rear end is dominated by a two-tier lighting display, with vertical lower taillights under an upper set of lights that start behind each C-pillar and flow into the tailgate directional lights. Cadillac refers to the single upper set of lights as the “sail tail”.
Inside is a 34-inch seamless curved LED display extending from one side of the dashboard to the other, a feature that will be rolled out in future Cadillacs. It is different from the more expensive curved OLED display of the Cadillac Escalade. Apparently, LED is the more affordable choice and makes more sense for high volume vehicles that don’t command the same high transaction prices as the Escalade, which is brand new for 2021. There are still physical checks for those who don’t. want to rely only on touchscreen inputs. A large crystal rotary knob controls all screen functions.
Without a transmission tunnel, the interior of the Lyriq appears open and spacious. The center console has two sets of drawers and the center console is a giant storage bin. The Lyriq uses a gear lever on the steering column similar to that found in Mercedes-Benz products. Each door has a beautiful, glossy wood trim that bleeds in a light pattern, and even the speaker design that slopes down to the armrest adds to the overall flow of materials in the door. Rear passenger face screens mounted in the front seats, as well as a third screen in the center console with easy-to-reach controls while lying in the massage seat (!).
Cadillac is touted as GM’s leading electrification brand. As a luxury brand, it is better able to absorb the higher upfront costs of technology. It’s a smart strategy, and a good reason behind the rise of Tesla where less interesting and cheaper electric vehicles have failed. Cadillac also appears to be taking the lead in changing its naming convention for its electrics: the Lyriq crossover and Celestiq’s flagship sedan – as well as two brands recently discovered for new names – suggest others end with “iq.” We’ll know more when GM shows the Lyriq on August 6 after the global pandemic forced a delay from an unveiling expected in April.