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Tesla vs Cadillac


Bruce Nunnally

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In an interview on the sidelines of an event this week in Washington, Akerson said the Detroit automaker plans to confront Tesla via its Cadillac brand.

“If you want to compete head-to-head with Tesla, and we ultimately will, you want to do it with a Cadillac,” he said.

Bruce

2016 Cadillac ATS-V gray/black

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A 200 mile range electric car without an RE generator will not sell in the mass market. It will do very well as a "second" car or grocery getter, and it needs to priced as such. With the generator, and 5 passenger capacity, it will sell as a primary vehicle. You can't buck the norm and expect large sales numbers. People have come to expect 300+ mile range from cars, and 20 minute fill ups. Most people are ready for a break after 300 miles of driving, not counting short rest stops.

IF GM would partner with Tesla, or at least not duplicate their efforts by building 20 minute, compatible recharge stations, even at 80% charge in 20 minutes, 200 mile range MIGHT sell as a primary vehicle. Make that a 300 mile range and 80% recharge in 20 minutes, install those charge stations at a restaurant chain commonly found on the highways, and it will sell. Especially if gas is $5.00/gal.

Home charging will not need to be as quick. I do very well with my Volt using the included charger and an 8 hour recharge.

Wish List:

I definitely wish that my current Volt would get more than its normal 50 miles on electricity.

I also wish that when the ELR is produced its electric range is increased to 80 - 100 miles, it would most likely be my next car in that case.

If the ELR holds to the Volt normal range, I will be considering a Tesla instead. Prices will be too close, Tesla resale value will likely be better than the Cadillac.

All of this being said, it will be VERY difficult for me to go back to a fully gasoline powered vehicle. Electric cars are just much more enjoyable to drive.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just saw an article stating that the ELR pricing will start at $75,000! For a jazzed up Volt yet!

What world are these people living in? Looks like Tesla wins again.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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You mentioned that "Electric cars are just much more enjoyable to drive." This statement sounds exciting. Not having any experience with an electric vehicle myself, I was wondering if you could elaborate on that subject.

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Sure Paul, with pleasure. But keep in mind that my experience is limited to the Volt chassis, I'm sure the Tesla S is a few degrees better in all areas.

First and foremost, it's the sheer silence. No noise at startup (no starter) no warm-up, just push a button, put it in "gear" and go. Then you head down the road and the noise level doesn't change, no revving the engine (even in neutral) no noise at all until you get to about 35 -40 mph when the tire noise begins to be noticeable.

So, then you notice the immediate throttle response, and gobs of immediate torque. Throttle response is very smooth too, think of "drive by wire" taken to the next level. No shifting gears (well there's no transmission anyway) so the power is steady and continuous. So you want to go 100 MPH, just push the skinny pedal and you're there pretty quickly. So you're driving along and notice that your battery is about to run out........and then......nothing happens, you just keep going. No noise change, no jerking, nothing...Oh, except the battery gauge picture changes to a fuel gauge picture on the dash to tell you that you can go another 250 miles or so.

Now, GM has a huge problem with tire/road noise on all their cars that it chooses to ignore. So when you have a drivetrain this quiet, tire noise and road noise are more pronounced. Even though that is true, the lack of engine noise (and even in the case of the Volt/ELR, GM did a great job of silencing generator (engine) noise) and transmission noise, somewhat make up for that. Wind noise is pretty much negligible in the Volt since GM spent over 500 hrs in the wind tunnel to make this car slip through the air quietly. To add to the tire noise issue on the Volt, the tires are inflated to 38 psi cold for fuel/battery economy, so they are pretty hard and noisy. So in the end you have a very quiet car, even at highway speeds, except for the tires.

You soon realize that there are not many things that can break during your trip. Nothing to overheat, no transmission, rear end, drive shaft to worry about. No belts running (most of the time) ...nothing. Heat is electric, as is A/c, but the heat works better when the generator engine runs. You really think about cars in a totally different way, which to me is pretty enjoyable.

This chassis is a good one. It goes where you point it with no unexpected movements from the steering wheel when you hit a bump, this is partly due to the electric steering assist (also extremely smooth). It's also roomy, though not 5 passenger, and back seat legroom is kinda tight as most cars are these days. With 600 pounds of battery mounted down low, it rides real well, and you are NOT going to roll it. It corners flat.

Then you get back home from a short trip, your MPG flashes on the screen when you shut the car off, and it typically says "250+ MPG"! The "+" is critical here since you soon realize that you didn't use ANY gas at all.

It also tells you at what time it will be fully charged, so you plug it in, or you can just tell it to be ready by 6:00AM (or whenever) and it takes care of the rest.

Then you realize that there's no heat being added to your garage, since there is no hot engine/transmission to cool down, so you save on your A/C bill in the summer.

Then you realize there is no oil change required for two years! No maintenance needed for the transmission, nothing. Very enjoyable driving experience.

The main drawback of this Volt (aside from the high price) is the throttle response at highway speed after the battery has run down. There can be a 1 to 1.5 second lag before the generator revs up and the throttle computer really decides that you want to go faster. Remember, the computer is running the throttle on the engine, NOT your foot! It just takes a little getting used to, and requires a little pre-planning if you want to pass somebody. Once all the stuff figures out what you want to do, it gets with the program pretty well up to 100 MPH. I can accept this with a $40,000.00 Chevy.....I could NEVER accept it with a $75,000.00 Cadillac! In fact, I'm still trying to figure out where they put $35,000.00 worth of extras on the ELR. Maybe it's those hard "Euro" seats!

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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From what I've heard, the ELR is a new design for Cadillac, not just the Volt drivetrain, although "the techology" is leveraged. That can mean anything, but if they use the same rare-earth magnets in the motor/generators and use experience with the inverters and battery managers in the Volt to help speed a new design, the ELR can be a whole different car. Or not. We will see, but I would expect the ELR to be designed to have far better throttle response under all conditions than the Volt.

The Tesla is a performance oriented two-seater, like a Corvette, while the Volt is a family town car, focused on everyday driving and commuting. I think comparing a Volt with a Tesla is like comparing a Ford Focus with a Corvette or a Chevy Spark with a Viper.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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The Tesla is a performance oriented two-seater, like a Corvette,

You must be thinking of a different Tesla model, the model S luxury sedan has seating for five, plus two rear facing "child" seats if you wish to add that option. It also has a trunk in the front, and a trunk in the rear so it has a lot of room. Base price starts at $5000 below the ELR, but it doesn't have the onboard generator, so range is limited to about 250 miles, unless you get the BIG battery option. You are right about one thing though, it runs like a Corvette!

I'm not the only one comparing the two:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2425572,00.asp

And just for fun: http://www.teslamotors.com/models/features#/performance Sorry.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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You're right, I was thinking of the Tesla Roadster.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Thank you so much for telling what it is like to own and drive an electric car. I am nearing retirement age and I don't want to be chained to a rocking chair on the front porch because gasoline is too expensive to buy. I have looked at a number of hybrids on the market but once you have owned and gotten use to a Cadillac. I think it would be really hard to make a change to anything else.

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It all depends on your individual circumstances. I'm retired, so my trips are pretty short. In that service my Volt is giving me about 200 mpg with no increase in my electric bill. So it makes all other hybrids including the Prius, look like gas hogs. On long trips my Volt will give 40 mpg, so the Prius "sorta" wins there. The Prius is no where even close to the car the Volt is in all other respects such as room, interior quality, sound system, etc.

Don't discount the Chevy, I like to think of it as my other Cadillac, since it's generally quieter than my DTS and just as roomy in the driver's seat. Test drive them both, or all, and let your wallet help you decide. My Caddy will be taking me to Florida pretty soon, but if gas hits $5.00/gal. I would have no problem taking the Volt....that's how good it is.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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The Volt and the ELR have a great appeal to me, although the appeal of the CTS-V was far stronger, and I can't imagine being without it anymore. But there is a lot of appeal in driving a Volt or ELR, or even a Prius or Ford Focus Electric or Nissan Leaf or other make that is at least a hybrid, but preferably a plug-in. Most of my driving is local errands, under 40 mph, where the ride and handling of the CTS-V help make the drive safer and more enjoyable, but doing it all-electric is quite appealing too. Then, there's the fact that it's almost free with the plug-ins, and nearly so with the hybrids.

But a plug-in that is acceptable for the Interstate? I think the Prius is workable for the Interstate but I don't hear anyone singing its praises for that type of driving. It's amazing success and popularity as a town car blazed the trail that justified the investment that has given us the current generation of electric cars, and the Prius has not been static and remains a leader.

I envision my two-car garage with the CTS-V, a Volt or ELR, and the motorcycle all in a row. The Pontiac is too wide to allow the motorcycle beside the cars in our two-car garage but I think that it could be done with the smaller ELR or Volt. Grocery store? The plug-in. See the autumn leaves? The motorcycle. Over ten miles? The CTS-V!

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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We are an elite group here. We as Cadillac owners have come to expect a very high degree of comfort and efficiency, as well as power and economy, which for a car maker probably poses quite a dilemma. To me, plug in hybrids have proven their viability as not only a local town car, but also as a highway car. Let's face it, there are a lot lesser cars on the interstate than a Prius, and those drivers do just fine.

At the risk of sounding like a Volt commercial even more than I already have, remember the market that the Volt was designed for, the commuter that drives less than 40 miles to work. That commuter typically lived in California, and needed to go 100 mph (to pass) on the interstate to get to work. With the included on board generator and 300 mile range, it serves multiple purposes extremely well. The Prius, on the other hand, was designed to save fuel no matter where you went, and it did a good job of that. In my opinion all the other hybrids EXCEPT the Tesla, fall somewhere in between. In the final analysis, the Volt, like the Cruze, is a very capable highway car.

The key to the Tesla as a highway car rests solely on the availability of the Supercharger stations that are proposed. When it comes time to buy my next car, and replace my DTS, the supercharger network will be the deciding factor. The Tesla is the next step forward in electric cars and really all cars in general. They're just that much better.

One thing for certain, the choices won't include an ELR. The additional weight, without a major improvement in battery range makes that car a non starter in the sales department. GM did the same thing with the ATS. Oh, let's just price it the same as a 3 series BMW and nobody will notice the difference until it's too late. Not the right way to compete in my opinion.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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My garage looks like this Jim:

post-200-0-56692700-1382556423_thumb.jpg

Close enough? BTW, the bike doesn't get much use any more.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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Mine is similar, but lots of stuff is stored on the sides that would have to go to give room for the cars to have a motorcycle between them. The Pontiac Grand AM GT is the smaller car, and is on the left in my garage. The CTS-V is on the right. The CTS-V is noticeably narrower than the Eldorado but not by much; the track is about the same but the body is not as wide.

There is room between the cars now that would allow the motorcycle, if it was carefully placed to allow the driver's door to open on the left-hand car. But the clearance is not enough for me to feel secure about the bike not getting dinged, and knocked over, by a car coming into the garage with probability of such mishap zero, which is my requirement for such an arrangement.

As far as the ELR, I don't expect a clone of the Volt, with the same performance, range, etc. I expect a re-design. A re-badged Volt is a non-starter. The ELR specifications page is here:

http://www.cadillac.com/future-cars/elr-electric-car/specifications.html

The range is given as 300 miles. The torque is given as 295 lb-ft, and the economy running the gas engine full time is given as 30 to 35 mpg, which looks like a very different design point from the Volt. Interestingly enough, the top speed without the gas engine running is given as 100+ mph. The charge time with a 240 Volt charger is given as 5 hours, probably at 68 F (20 C).

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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The range is given as 300 miles. The torque is given as 295 lb-ft, and the economy running the gas engine full time is given as 30 to 35 mpg, which looks like a very different design point from the Volt. Interestingly enough, the top speed without the gas engine running is given as 100+ mph. The charge time with a 240 Volt charger is given as 5 hours, probably at 68 F (20 C).

Essentially identical to the Volt, the Volt on gas alone is quoted at 38 mpg, though I get about 40. Torque might be a tad higher on the Caddy, which probably hurts electric range a bit as well as the additional weight. I see that it's quoted at 35 EV, which is lower than the Volt's 38 miles EV (quoted). With regenerative braking and during summer, I get 45 -50 miles EV range.

At this point I'm thinking they want the car to sell pretty much on looks alone.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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