Lyriq kicks off the electrified era for Cadillac, with big plans for increased connectivity and a reimagining of the brand’s performance models.
Later today, Cadillac will show off a near-production version of its Lyriq crossover. It signals a sea-change for the American automaker, a first shot in its role as the electric vehicle leader within the General Motors group. Needless to say then, it’s a big deal, and Phil Dauchy, global head of brand strategy, is eager to share what he can on the car prior to its launch.
“Our future is bright, and while we want to be the luxury mobility leader, what’s great is that we’ve been anointed by GM leadership to be able to do that,” Dauchy told us in a recent interview. He expands on the role, stating that no longer will Cadillac get technology “after it’s been in a Chevy Bolt.”
While all GM brands will gain access to the new Ultium BEV platform, its versatility will allow for a wide variety of models, like the enormous GMC Hummer EV. Engineers are able to modify the wheelbase and width, and send power to the front, rear, or both axles. The scalable nature of the battery pack also translates to anywhere from 250 to 1,000 horsepower. For Cadillac, that means an opportunity to evolve its performance lineup.
V Models Will Continue with EV Platform
“If you want to be a respected luxury brand you have to deliver on multiple fronts,” Dauchy tells us, “whether it be design, CX, customer service, whether it be build quality or heritage.”
“There are all these boxes that need to be checked when you build a luxury brand. And one box that needs to be checked is performance, and we’re committed to V, we’re committed to performance vehicles.” Indeed, Cadillac recently revealed two new V models in the shape of the CT4-V and CT5-V, though both are perhaps more sedate than V models of old. The upcoming Blackwing models—confusingly, not using the engine of the same name—will remedy that on the internal combustion side. The EVs will leverage Ultium’s scalability however, making instant-access torque a primary characteristic.
Naturally, Dauchy can’t expand on what battery-powered V plans are already in motion. All he has is a warning: “when you give these (performance) numbers to Cadillac V engineers, you better be ready, hold on and buckle up for what we can bring.”
Dauchy also won’t budge on exactly how many more Cadillac EVs are in the pipeline beyond the Lyriq and Celestiq. Don’t hold your breath for a merger of ICE and EV though, as a sort of ELR sequel. He doubles down on an “all-EV future” for the brand, stating that while the series hybrid has been investigated, what Cadillac is looking for is a “performance-oriented experience that delivers on the level of comfort that is required.”
Super Cruise Evolution and More Connectivity
Dauchy is proud to point out that Cadillac’s Super Cruise is the only hands-free driving assist recommended by Consumer Reports. Cadillac will continue to roll it out on more of the lineup—not all, as Dauchy is quick to point out—as it’s proven to be a big draw for buyers. Cadillac polled current owners and found a whopping 85 percent would now only consider their next car if it came with Super Cruise. Usage is also high, with half of owners activating Super Cruise when available. More important than those base statistics however, is the insight that those that do use the system arrive at their destination more calm and more relaxed.
“Super Cruise is our harbinger for our autonomous vehicle future,” says Dauchy. He talks about how it frees up cognitive loads for other tasks, and calls autonomous in general “a gift to mankind.” Naturally this steers the discussion towards connectivity in general, which Cadillac believes is central to delivering a user experience luxury buyers want. The new Cadillac infrastructure platform will allow for vehicle-to-vehicle as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. The brand wants its cars to celebrate and educate drivers, and according to Dauchy, that also means “remembering who you are, where you like to go, and what you like to buy.”
In an age where internet privacy is a major concern, we quickly zero in on that last one. We ask Dauchy about whether future Cadillacs would pull this info just from the driver’s interactions, or whether it would work in tandem with their mobile phone. “Right now I’m not at liberty to talk about potentially how we’ll be getting that information, how we’ll be completely using that information,” Dauchy respons, “but at the center is always the customer, always at the center is customer privacy and security.”
The Cadillac Lyriq will debut later today, August 6, at 7:00 p.m. EST. Stay tuned for more on it as Caddy pulls the veil back.
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