Why Did Cadillac Nix One of Its First EVs?

The Cadillac ELR was a short-lived and short-ranged EV, with a small, two-door coupe design and an even smaller 37-mile battery range. Learn how these factors contributed to the vehicle only selling 2,700 units over a two-year period.
Written by Jason Crosby
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Feb 20, 2022
The
Cadillac
ELR (electric long-range) was a short-lived, ill-fated electric compact coupe. It stood out as one of GM’s first real attempts to put out a vehicle that would hope to compete with the
Tesla Model S
—but as time went on to show, the Cadillac ELR didn’t meet expectations. From being overpriced to having an extremely limited battery range, the Cadillac ELR was a letdown on all fronts. 
But considering GM was recovering from bankruptcy a few years prior, while trying to keep up with the growing popularity of Tesla’s sedans, it’s obvious that the Cadillac ELR was a hasty mistake. Take a look at what the automaker has learned what not to do from what happened with the ELR.  

The Cadillac ELR’s downfall 

As
Green Car Reports
highlights, the Cadillac ELR was intended to be an upscale version of the Chevy Bolt. But this compact two-door sedan wasn’t fooling anyone with a $75,000 price tag. 
During the two years it was in production, between 2014-2016, the Cadillac ELR sold less than 3,000 units. No one wanted to buy the “luxury” Bolt—and with Tesla’s Model S to compete with, there wasn’t much hope for the ELR. 
One of the main reasons wasn’t even the Cadillac ELR’s fault. Compact, two-door coupes are a tough market; just consider—a compact car, with even less space than a sedan. However, there was also the issue of the Cadillac ELR’s battery range, which made this tiny coupe a dud. 

The Cadillac ELR was crippled by a pathetic battery range

Unlike GM’s contemporary Ultium line, the Cadillac ELR was equipped with a tiny battery that gave it a measly 37-mile range on a single charge. That’s about 4 trips to the grocery store—in a two-door coupe that costs nearly six figures. 
While the battery range can be chalked up to poor engineering and lowballing on GM’s end concerning what customers would settle for in terms of battery power, the $75,000 price was a desperate gamble to help GM break even on its production costs for this expensive coupe. 
So it seems like GM jumped the gun, in many ways, and eventually scrapped the Cadillac ELR in 2016. But the American carmaker has made a successful comeback with the wildly popular
Hummer EV
, Chevy Bolt, and the Cadillac Escalade EV. 
So, if they do decide to try and release another electric two-door coupe, let’s hope it has a better battery. 

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