If there were ever any doubt that hybrids are part of our driving future, it can be erased now. Cadillac has arrived at the hybrid hoop-tee-do with a stunner. The luxury brand's mid-size SUV looks futuristic and elegant at the same time, and the whispers around the General Motors Styling Center say the profile is a dead ringer for the upcoming redesign of GM's premium crossovers.
The existing SRX (Cadillac's first mid-size crossover) never really did it for us styling wise, so it's nice to see that Cadillac regained its styling mojo. Looking good is one of this concept's strong points, and its face certainly looks to be a member of the Cadillac family. With a wheelbase of 110" (3.4" longer than the Vue) and an overall length of 190" (10" longer than the Vue), the concept Caddy is a true mid-size SUV. Optimized for low aerodynamic drag (a key to the future success of electrically-powered hybrids), the nose of the hybrid features a computer-controlled grille that opens as cooling is needed for the powertrain. The undercarriage features a wind-tunnel designed belly pan, and the function rear spoiler helps reduce drag by enabling a smooth release of air off the SUV's roof. The vertical taillights look to cap vestigial fins. By the way, that grid pattern on the roof is an electricity-generating solar panel used to power gadgets inside the Provoq.
The Provoq's advanced powertrain matches the concept's design. GM identifies the propulsion unit as the 5th generation version of the company's hydrogen fuel cell stack. (The 4th generation is presently powering a fleet of 100 hydrogen Chevrolet Equinox SUVs that GM has put into a testing rotation with people in California, New York, and Washington.)
This next-gen version is one-third smaller than what's on the road now, and its hydrogen fuel cell can provide a continuous output of 88 kilowatts. This juice is channeled to three electric motors. One 70kW unit drives the front wheels, and each rear wheel has its own 30kW unit. The motors should deliver up 0-60 mph in about 8.5 seconds with a governed top speed of 100 mph.
Everybody "in the know" knows that America is heading toward hydrogen-powered vehicles. Until we get there, vehicles like this new Cadillac help provoke (sorry) more thought and resources toward making it all happen.