Rumor: Cadillac Converj production approved

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 14, 2011

A source said that General Motors’ current product plan includes the electric Cadillac Converj luxury coupe. GM product executives had approved the Converj to enter production. It’s expected to launch as a 2014 model in the year 2013 but it may have a Cadillac-style three-letter model name. The source added that this production version will be equipped with "a Generation 1.5 Voltec" powertrain. This is an updated version of the extended-range electric powertrain, which was used on the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

It’s likely to offer an improved acceleration to go with Cadillac’s image. It won’t be the fully revised second-generation version that will enter production in 2015. It was at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2009 that the Converj concept car was first presented. The coupe garnered excellent reviews and in 2009, GM gave the green light for production to start. Bob Lutz, who was the product chief in January 2010, confirmed that management had approved it.

However, the Converj program was scrapped two months later. Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said that the Converj program had not reached "a point [at] which development would be occurring in earnest in any case." The reasons given were that GM won’t be able to make a profit at the low volumes the Converj had been planned for.

It’s possible that as Volt is basically sold out and GM is attempting to raise production quickly, the volumes for the Converj could go higher and this means that they could be priced lower. Product planners had been worried that the heaviness and added luxury features of a Cadillac may limit its electric range and performance, thus lowering its appeal. Notably, sales of the Lexus HS 250h were lower than anticipated.

When General Motors unveiled the Cadillac Converj Concept, it was a way of showing the capabilities of the electric propulsion inside a luxury vehicle. This is because it was designed to be a luxurious grand touring coupe that had a daring design and equipped with a wide array of interactive technology. Still, the main objective remains to be showing that the Voltec, the name for the company’s innovative electric propulsion system, would be able to power this four-passenger luxury coupe that comes with the "no compromises" design of Cadillac.

With this, the Cadillac Converj Concept can go for a total of 40 miles of gas and electric driving, with an extended range as far as hundreds of miles. Sporting a new style for its body, this extended-range electric vehicle, or E-REV, is a good example of what happens when the conventional Art and Science design motif of the brand is evolved. Serving as the basis for its athletic attitude is the arc profile that leans forward and is more aggressive.

In general, the Converj Concept was planned not only to be a Cadillac in form but in substance as well considering the use of premium material inside as well the driving dynamics and the technology that the brand has long been known for. Vice-Chairman of Global Product Development at GM Bob Lutz revealed that the Converj Concept is model that has production substance and serves as a logical expansion of the strategy of the automobile’s reinvention.

This concept model reveals what an electric vehicle from Cadillac is going to be and suggests that customers who prefer luxury will be able to get a car that came with a strong design combined with electric propulsion that would allow it to drive hundreds of miles emission-free. Lutz continued by saying that the Converj Concept will not be mistaken for anything else other than a Cadillac. With a profile that leans forward more, it gives a clue as to the advanced proportion and theme of the design evolution, he added. With the new proportions, he continued, the company has a 2+2 personal luxury vehicle that has its own distinct shape.

Supporting its overall shape are the extensive body lines with 21-inch wheels on the front and 22-inch wheels for the rear, both having been placed to the edge of its body. The exterior has been painted in what designers call as the "Reaction", which is a dark silver tri-coat. Another feature in the Converj Concept is the vertical headlamp with the taillamp, both utilizing light pipe technology. According to Clay Dean, Cadillac’s global design director, vertical lamps have long been a signature of Cadillac and this model simply built on this by fitting in light pipe technology that uses a more daring light emitting diode and even has high-intensity discharge elements on both the front and the rear.

Another unique feature, he continued, is the daylight light spear that is above the headlamps. Another feature in the Converj Concept is the roof that is made entirely of glass integrated to which are solar panels. This allows the power that is drained from the accessories to be offset. In order to improve the driving range, certain design efficiencies and aerodynamic changes have been made. An example of this is the belly pan or the full under-vehicle cover. To help lower the drag experienced on the front end, the opening of the grille is minimized while the wheels have been shaped in a way as to make sure that the air is pushed outward to result in the airflow on the body side being smoother. Helping lower the drag as well is the use of low-profile rearview cameras instead of the standard outside mirrors.

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