• Jan 11th 2009 at 3:03PM
  • 19
Click image above for live shots of the Cadillac Converj Concept

Cadillac just took the wraps off a new concept based on the Chevy Volt's "Voltec" drivetrain (that's a new moniker, by the way). The angular coupe is called the Converj and it is drop-dead gorgeous. With styling that is instantly recognizable as Cadillac, Bob Lutz told us at the press conference that the car was designed to be aesthetically pleasing on its own. It's just a great shape that holds great promise. Lutz and Co. referred to the Converj as the "CADILLAC OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES" and even if that sounds trite, it could well bring Cadillac back to the top of the luxury car heap, with a solid foundation of SRX and CTS below it.

Like the Chevrolet Volt, GM says the Converj will be able to travel up to 40 miles on electricity alone, and it will have a small helper motor to help drivers avoid "range anxiety." That's the term for the fear of running out of charge when you're still miles away from your final destination. As Lutz pointed out, you can't run down to the gas station for a 5-gallon can of electricity. There's a lengthy press release after the jump with plenty of stats. All we can say is that we'd love to hear that that the Converj is going into production tomorrow, but the reality of GM's current financial situation probably means they won't be able to make any firm commitments for awhile. Hit the jump to view video of the live unveiling.


Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips, Frank Filipponio / Weblogs, Inc.



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PRESS RELEASE

CONVERJ: THE "CADILLAC" OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Luxury coupe concept continues GM's leadership in the electrification of the automobile

DETROIT – General Motors unveiled a further glimpse at the potential of electric propulsion today, this time in the form of luxury transportation, with the Cadillac Converj Concept. The Cadillac Converj was developed as a well-appointed grand touring coupe with a bold design and a host of interactive technology.

The four-passenger Converj concept is intended to show how GM's revolutionary electric propulsion technology – called Voltec – can power a luxury coupe with a typically Cadillac "no compromises" design. The technology enables up to 40 miles of gas- and emissions-free electric driving with extended-range capability of hundreds of miles.

Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman of Global Product Development, said the Converj concept has production substance. "It's a logical extension of our plan to reinvent the automobile," he said. "It clearly shows what a Cadillac electric vehicle could look like, and clearly indicates that global luxury customers can have a car that has both strong design and electric propulsion with a total range of hundreds of anxiety-free miles."

Cadillac's extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV) concept has a new body style that is an evolution of the brand's traditional Art and Science design theme. An aggressive, forward-leaning arc profile is the foundation for the sporting stance. And more than a Cadillac in form, Converj is also intended to be a Cadillac in substance, with the premium materials, technology and driving dynamics that are hallmarks of the brand.

Voltec – innovative propulsion technology
The Cadillac Converj's Voltec electric propulsion system is made up of a 16-kWh, T-shaped battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator. It uses electricity as its primary source to drive the car.

A thermally managed battery pack contains more than 220 lithium-ion cells that provide the primary power to drive the Converj electrically up to 40 miles without using fuel or producing tailpipe emissions. The battery is integrated into the Converj's chassis and stores electricity from the grid when the vehicle is plugged in. It takes less than three hours to recharge the battery at 240V, or about eight hours from a 120V outlet.

When the battery's energy is low, the Converj seamlessly switches to extended-range mode. During this secondary level of operation, electricity needed to power the vehicle is created on-board by a flex-fuel-powered engine that operates much like a home generator to create electricity. The engine-generator ensures a constant supply of power for hundreds of miles until the car is refueled or plugged in to recharge the battery. This extended-range mode eliminates the range anxiety that comes with driving pure electric vehicles that offer no backup power when the battery charge is low.

Whether in electric or extended-range mode, the Converj is propelled all the time by an electric drive unit. It converts electrical energy from the battery or the engine-generator into mechanical energy to drive the front wheels. It also delivers 273 lb.-ft. (370 Nm) of instant torque, for a quick launch, and 120 kW of power. The top speed is 100 mph.

There is no compromise in vehicle performance in either mode of operation. To enhance the ride feel, the Converj also features GM's Magnetic Ride Control; and for even greater efficiency, energy during braking is captured and stored in the battery.

Pure Cadillac design
There's no mistaking the Converj for anything but a Cadillac, according to Lutz. "An aggressive, forward-leaning profile hints at a new, progressive theme and proportion in Cadillac's design evolution," he says. "The new proportion showcases a uniquely shaped, modern vision of a personal luxury 2+2."

The overall shape is reinforced by a prominent, sweeping body line with large, 21-inch (front) and 22-inch (rear) wheels pushed to the edges of the body. The Converj exterior is painted a dark silver tri-coat that GM designers dubbed "Reaction."

An all-glass roof incorporates solar panels that help offset power drain from the vehicle's accessories. Additionally, several aerodynamic and design efficiencies were incorporated to enhance the driving range, including:
A full under-vehicle cover (belly pan)
Minimal grille openings that reduce drag at the front of the vehicle
Low-profile rearview cameras replace conventional outside mirrors to reduce drag
Wheels are shaped to push air outward for smoother body side airflow

The Converj also incorporates vertical headlamp and taillamp elements, with light pipe technology.

"Vertical lamps are Cadillac signatures and the Converj builds on the brand's light pipe technology with bolder light emitting diode (LED) and high-intensity discharge elements front and rear," said Clay Dean, global design director for Cadillac. "There is also a unique daylight light 'spear' at the top of the headlamps."

Luxury meets technology inside
The Converj's interior has advanced features and luxurious appointments blending efficiency and environmental consciousness. The 2+2 configuration is trimmed in contrasting Winter White synthetic suede – including the top of the instrument panel – and Midnight Black leather, with polished aluminum and wood grain accents. Renewable materials are used throughout such as wool-blend carpeting, a headliner made from silk, suede made from post-industrial content and more.

A technologically advanced driver center increases efficiency and reduces the draw on the battery. Features include:
New, organic light-emitting diode technology used on reconfigurable instrument cluster
Touch-screen navigation, climate, center-stack controls and audio systems
Adjustable, overhead white ambient lighting
Unique "power on" sequence featuring blue-lit console graphics
Screen displays for features including regenerative braking, battery charge level and power output
No inside rearview or outside mirrors; cameras provide surrounding images on a screen placed high on the instrument panel for a full, panoramic view
Push-button ignition and power-folding front seats


General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 252,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 34 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

SPECIFICATIONS
General
Vehicle type:
2-door, front-wheel-drive 2+2 coupe
Category:
extended-range electric vehicle
Chassis:
independent McPherson struts, front magnetic ride, compound crank twist axle rear, four-wheel disc brakes, full regenerative brakes to maximize energy capture, electric power-assist steering
Seating capacity:
four

Performance
Top speed (mph / km/h):
100 / 161
EV range, city and highway (miles):
Up to 40, based on EPA cycle

Dimensions
Wheelbase (in / mm):
108 / 2742
Length (in / mm):
182 / 4620
Width (in / mm):
74 / 1883
Height (in / mm):
55 / 1386

Battery system
Type:
lithium-ion (w/ liquid-controlled thermal management system)
Energy (kWh):
16
Charge time:
Less than 3 hours at 240V/8 hours at 120V

Electric drive unit
Power (kW):
120
Torque (lb-ft / Nm):
273 / 370

Exterior
Tire size:
specially developed low rolling resistance tires on 21- and 22-inch forged aluminum wheels

Note: Information shown is current at time of publication.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honestly, After comparing BEVs to RE-EVs I think that RE-EVs win hands down in terms of value for money. It makes no sense for the time being to carry around 900 pounds of expensive batteries when you might only use 20% of their capacity 80% of the time.

      BEVs might be nice show cars, but I think most people given the choice would choose a RE-EV.
        • 6 Years Ago
        No kidding. The public will always be concerned about being range limited.

        Also, even if a BEV's range is reasonable for the typical day, what about the atypical day when you load up the kids and visit Grandma 300 miles away? With a BEV its a must have a second car for that purpose.

        One day we may all have BEVs. But for now, the Volt approach is the future 'missing link' to that evolution.
      Mark
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's shocking that it's taken 4 years from this public showing to showing off a production version.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow! I want it. I am a Volt fan, but I have an emotional reaction to this car that goes beyond want to desire. Way to go Bob.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Real full-blown technolust, eh? I know what you mean, I wasn't a fan of Cadillac, up until now. The tail-fin era Caddys were bad, the "bustle trunk" version was worse, but this is something you could be proud to drive up in.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can see that, in spite of the differences in body work, it has similar dimensions and uses the same frame as the Volt.

      One question is, will this "E-Caddy" arrive before or after the Chevy Volt? There are arguments to be made either way.

      The Converj will probably have a higher profit margin than the Volt, bringing out the Converj first would enable GM to more quickly pay off the development costs and return to profitability. The Converj will also appeal to wealthy "early adopters" that might otherwise choose a Tesla model S or a Fisker Karma, so an early intro could mean an increased market share.

      On the other hand, this is new technology, wealthy Caddy drivers are less likely to tolerate bugs than the upper middle class Volt drivers, so it might be best to work the bugs out with the Chevy Volt before putting the Converj on the market.

      Or GM could choose to split the difference and introduce them at the same time.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "The angular coupe is called the Converj and it is drop-dead gorgeous."

      I don't understand this sort of aesthetic sensibility. I am so not into current car styling trends. If they keep going this way, five years from now, the front end of the average new car will be four feet tall in order to house 3-foot diameter wheels, and the car will be made with cylon eye-slits for windows.

      Why on Earth would someone find this attractive or desirable?
      • 6 Years Ago
      GM didn't show a single BEV concept? Just because the EV1 failed doesn't mean GM should be last with a credible BEV.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hmmm... Aggressive front end and a super wide rear stance on an EREV concept car? Been there and done that, the Volt looked this bitchin before they realized it would cost them 10-15 miles of AER on the highway, where 8kWh (useable) doesn't get you far to start with. There is a reason the Prius, the Insight and the Volt look vaguely similar. The hotter the look the more likely that it is a brick in the wind tunnel.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're right, which is why this design might get modified before production. Those sharp edge creases has come to identify Cadillac, so I'd expect GM will probably keep the crease down the center of the hood and grill, where it won't cause too much drag, and perhaps the crease running along the side, but soften the edges where drag is more significant.
      • 6 Years Ago
      hmmm, daddy like.
      • 6 Years Ago
      SORRY, but this "Converj" is a marriage of Honda Civic-like design proportions and style cues with CTS iconography painted in gunmetal.

      it's like a Civic got an EXTREME plastic surgery makeover and wants to be the "Angelina Jolie of Actresses"... oh wait the "Cadillac of Electric Cars."

      i hope it knows how to blow...
      • 6 Years Ago
      The CTS's Drag is 0.33, while the official number of the Volt is not know GM says 'less that 0.295'
        • 6 Years Ago
        Mike, I think the Converj look similar to the CTS in some ways but the front end is a bit taller and more aggressive and that the rear end looks wider. Those look like issues that are going to be problems aerodynamically. I am not an expert, just an enthusiast, and I would love to see the Converj produced as soon as possible, even if its range is less than the Volt or if it required a few more kWh's worth of battery to equal the Volts AER. What I don't want to see again is a GM car that people get really fired up to buy, only to discover that the production vehicle looks little like the concept due to aero issues.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ok so I get that the CD affects the range of these vehicles but there are some good looking vehicles that have relatively low CD's. What I don't know is exactly how each 0.01 affects the range of the volt system, but here are a few CD's I found online.
      EV1 - 0.195
      Honda Insight (old) - 0.25
      04 Toyota Prius - 0.26
      2008 Nissan GT-R - 0.27
      2005 Toyota Camry - 0.28
      2006 Corvette Z06 - .28
      Hummer H2 - 0.57

      I'm just saying difference between a Toyota Prius and Nissan GT-R is 0.01 id be willing to sacrifice a little mileage to have a car that looked as aggressive as the GT-R over the Prius. The only thing I can think of is if people see a Prius they think efficient, and then see a GT-R they think power and not efficient. I guess its all about perception.
        • 6 Years Ago
        CD: You actually meant to compare CdA, not Cd. Cd doesn't represent the total drag force at a given speed because it lacks cross-sectional area.

        Here's the CdA ft^2s of cars you named that I could find:

        EV1 - 3.95
        Honda Insight (old) - 5.10
        04 Toyota Prius - 6.24
        2008 Nissan GT-R - around 6.8
        2005 Toyota Camry - 7.57
        2006 Corvette Z06 - 7.6
        Hummer H2 - 26.5

        What's impressive about the Prius isn't that it has a lower drag area than a GT-R. What's impressive is that it has a lower drag area than a GT-R *and seats five with ample room and trunk area*. You can fit two people in the back of a GT-R if they happen to be prepubescent pygmies. The seating of the GT-R is more comparable to the Insight.

        Nothing wrong with that at all for some applications, mind you. It's just not an equivalent vehicle, and if you make it larger to be an equivalent vehicle, its drag area will exceed the Prius's by a large margin.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder how much drag they reduced it by by getting rid of the side mirrors.

      Also, can GM for once put a driver right arm rest in their cars? Please!
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