GM preparing its Detroit-Hamtramck site to produce Cadillac ELR

Article by Anita Panait, on October 18, 2012

General Motors is preparing its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant to accommodate the production of the much-awaited Cadillac ELR, a luxury coupe featuring extended-range electric technology, according to General Motors North America President Mark Reuss. The inclusion of the ELR to the assembly plant represents a $35 million investment and hikes the total product investment to $561 million since December 2009.

The Cadillac ELR will the first two-door car produced at Detroit-Hamtramck since the 1999 Cadillac Eldorado. UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who directs the union\'s GM Department, remarked that the investment underscores the carmaker’s confidence that the highly skilled members of UAW Local 22 can successfully build one of the most technologically advanced vehicles in the world.

Ashton added that the hard work and dedication of its members demonstrates that they can competitively manufacture products for the future in Detroit. The ELR was born from the Cadillac Converj concept vehicle that was unveiled at the 2009 North American International Auto Show. The ELR will bear the design of the Converj and will feature an electric propulsion system consists of a T-shaped lithium-ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator.

The ELR will use electricity as its primary power source without using gasoline as fuel. However, as the battery’s power goes low, the ELR will be automatically powered by a gasoline-powered electric generator. The ELR’s lithium-ion battery will be produced at GM’s Brownstown Battery Assembly plant in Brownstown, Mich.

That the new Cadillac ELR has a profile that leans forward more and even has that aggressiveness is due to the progressive theme, as well as proportions, being implemented under its design evolution. In fact, there appears to be little or no change from the 2009 Converj concept, the very same model which served as an inspiration. Reinforcing the vehicle’s overall shape is the sweeping body line which has been made more pronounced.

This is highlighted with the 20-inch wheels positioned on the outer edges. In designing the ELR, the brand revealed that aerodynamics played a significant role. Air flow is managed better as a way of helping the vehicle slip to result in the drag being minimized. Both the fascia and the grille in the front are flushed and at the back of the grille’s opening, one can see active shutters.

The fascia corners have been narrowed which results in the air being able to easily move across the vehicle and this lowers the drag. Going to the back, the use of sharp edges plus the addition of a carefully-designed spoiler helps manage the airflow as well. The windshield having a more aggressive rake and then mixed in with the back glass lowers both drag and turbulence.

This feature helps ensure that the ELR will always have a coefficient of drag at 0.305. The use of vertical elements for the headlamp and the taillamp allow the ELR to show the brand’s trademark, whether it is viewed from front to the back and even from day all the way to night.

This has been a tradition of the brand going as far back to 1948. Cadillac Design Director Mark Adams shares that the new ELR is a good example of its Art & Science principle. He adds that the brand has always been about innovation combined with a proactive and emotional design. Since the ELR, as a luxury coupe, is able to make this happen, it is able to stand out from the rest of the major luxury brands worldwide.

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