There’s room for cars in General Motors’ electrified future. Well, at least one car.
GM has teased a show car version of its upcoming, all-electric Cadillac Celestiq, which will be the flagship vehicle for the company’s flagship brand.
Additionally, GM used this year’s CES to tease other previously unseen electric vehicles.
The Celestiq is thus far the only passenger car to be confirmed for GM’s new Ultium electric vehicle architecture.
It’ll sit above four all-electric SUVs that will correspond in size with the brand’s four internal combustion-powered SUVs: the XT4, XT5, XT6 and Escalade. Only the XT5’s electric counterpart, the Lyriq, has been revealed thus far.
The Celestiq will feature all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering and is expected to be larger than the BMW 7 Series-sized Cadillac CT6, of which North American (though not Chinese) production was ended so the Hamtramck plant could be retooled for exclusive electric vehicle production.
While the upcoming Cadillac Lyriq has a swoopy profile, the Celestiq is longer, lower and sleeker as befitting of a passenger car. There’s also a sharply creased bonnet .
It’s identifiable as a Cadillac through its tall, vertical daytime running lights.
Variations of these vertical lights have been rolled out across the current Cadillac range, themselves an evolution of the vertical headlights that appeared on the first Art & Science Cadillacs released in the early 2000s.
Down back, there also appear to be tail lights similar to the unusual ones employed by the Lyriq.
Inside, there’s a display screen spanning the entire width of the dashboard, while rear-seat passengers have their own entertainment screens.
There are also separate console screens front and rear, separating comfort settings from the other interfaces.
The Celestiq will also debut an innovative four-quadrant, suspended particle smart glass roof, allowing each vehicle occupant to set their own level of transparency. The tint of the glass also changes colour to “match the ambience” of the interior.
GM is launching 30 new EVs globally over the next five years and several of them were behind global design VP Michael Simcoe in his video presentation for CES 2021.
Front and centre is the first vehicle on GM’s new Ultium electric vehicle architecture, the GMC Hummer EV, which will launch late this year in North America.
Flanking it are the Cadillac Celestiq and the already revealed Cadillac Lyriq, a large (or mid-sized in the US) crossover due next year.
All the cars were parked in the shadows with only their daytime running lights illuminated, but we can tell the vehicle behind the Celestiq is a Chevrolet because of its illuminated bow tie badge.
Simcoe revealed two of the models were crossovers for the Buick brand. GM had previously confirmed one of these models would have more upright, traditional SUV styling while the other would be more “expressive”.
Judging by the similar DRL signatures of the two vehicles just behind the Lyriq, we believe these are the two Buicks. These will be crucial for GM in China, where Buick is GM’s best-selling brand and the sixth best-selling brand there in 2019.
That leaves the car on the far-right with its dramatic full-width DRLs, which by process of elimination is likely to be a new Chevrolet model.
This isn’t the first time General Motors has teased part of its upcoming electric vehicle line-up by parking some behind a speaker.
General Motors executives – including CEO Mary Barra – were seated in front of three upcoming EVs at the Barclays Global Automotive Conference last year.
One was an SUV version of the imminent GMC Hummer EV, while the other two appeared to be an electric pickup truck and a mid-sized SUV for the Chevrolet brand.
GM EVs can use six-10 Ultium battery modules, with double-stacking – with up to 24 modules – also possible for larger vehicles.
The Ultium platform will support front-, rear- and all-wheel drive vehicles with up to 724km of range.
It uses an almost completely wireless battery management system, a first for an automaker, reducing the number of wires by up to 90 per cent and supporting expanded over-the-air updates and real-time battery pack health checks.
Upcoming models will use GM’s new Vehicle Intelligence Platform, an electrical architecture that can manage 4.5 terabytes of processing power per hour, or five times that of GM’s current electrical architecture.
GM has upped its EV spending, with US$27 billion (A$37.1 billion) earmarked through 2025. The company had previously budgeted US$20 billion (A$27.4 billion) before the pandemic.
The new figure means the company will be spending more on EV development than on conventional internal combustion engines. Indeed, more than half of GM’s capital spending will be devoted to EVs and electric autonomous vehicles.
As part of its EV push, General Motors has also changed its logo for the first time in over 50 years. It’s now a lighter colour and a different typeface with lowercase lettering.
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