Right after being displayed and winning an award at the cozy confines of the Detroit Auto Show, the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid went into the snow for some real-world extreme driving conditions. Cadillac engineers recently completed chassis testing on pre-production ELR models, evaluating the car's handling in winter weather conditions.

GM's goal is to bring the Voltec-powered plug-in architecture from the Chevrolet Volt to the Cadillac brand in the ELR in early 2014. As you can see in the video below, Cadillac ELR chief engineer Chris Thomason lead the engineering team as they tested four systems – ABS, traction control, electronic stability control and Continuous Damping Control suspension. The suspension control system adjusts damping every two milliseconds to maintain optimal control over varying road conditions. If it looks freezing cold, that's because it is. They're working in the middle of the upper peninsula of Michigan in the dead of winter, plowing around in four inches of fresh snow.

Despite the snow and ice, tire performance, stopping distance and brake performance are excellent, said Joshua Auden, Cadillac ELR vehicle performance engineer. The goal has been to balance making a car that's both safe and stable for the customer and fun to drive in all situations, he said.




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Cadillac ELR Undergoes Winter Chassis Testing

2013-02-12

DETROIT – Fresh off its award-winning world debut at the North American International Auto Show, the Cadillac ELR is undergoing the real-world extreme testing required to take the extended-range electric luxury coupe from auto show stage to Cadillac showrooms in early 2014.

Engineers last week completed winter weather chassis testing on pre-production ELR models in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, evaluating the car's handling in winter weather conditions.

More than four inches of fresh snowfall during testing helped the team validate final specifications on the ELR's steering, tires, anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control and Continuous Damping Control suspension that adjusts damping every two milliseconds to maintain optimal control over varying road conditions.

Combined with the HiPer Strut front suspension and watts link rear suspension, the ELR is designed to provide owners with a sporty, yet confident handling character.

"Being able to test the ELR in extreme road conditions, like those we experienced here in the U.P., allows us to provide a ride-and-handling character unlike any EV on the market today," said Chris Thomason, ELR chief engineer. "During this latest test, the ELR continued to perform beyond our expectations."

The ELR, which won the Eyes on Design Award for best production vehicle at the Detroit auto show, is based on the Cadillac Converj Concept. The ELR's exterior establishes a new, progressive proportion for the brand.

Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. In recent years, Cadillac has engineered a historic renaissance led by artful engineering and advanced technology. More information on Cadillac can be found at media.cadillac.com.


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  • 25 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      IM STILL choked that the ELR was not REAR WHEEL DRIVE :(
        MTN RANGER
        • 1 Year Ago
        Yes. The battery is in the same area the drive shaft would occupy. There would have to be a separate rear electric motor. Considering how the Voltec system works, it would effectively be AWD. I don't know if there is room based on the current platform. but I am guessing that may require a bit of work.
      Scott R
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not a big issue for most folks driving in snow & ice, but the Volt can't use tire chains and I assume the ELR will have the same issue. Chains are required at times driving in the Sierras during winter (CA, OR, WA, and NV at least). Some solutions that might work (socks) aren't approved by Caltrans and you'll be turned around by CHP at the checkpoint. Apparently Thule K-Summit chains work, but again "not recommended" and GM hasn't been very helpful with that.
        Z. Kesh
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scott R
        I have read that there will be some sort of spike belts. As for the source, I can't provide it. Sorry.
        mycommentemail
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scott R
        Huh. Didn't know that about the Volt. Wonder what the reasons for that are.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scott R
        @ Scott R Section 10 of the manual does say, "Do not use tire chains. There is not enough clearance. Tire chains used on a vehicle without the proper amount of clearance can cause damage to the brakes, suspension, or other vehicle parts. The area damaged by the tire chains could cause loss of control and a crash." GM's technical department is working with suppliers on developing suitable chains.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just a great looking car.
      Ford Future
      • 1 Year Ago
      Snow spins are fun.
      tump
      • 1 Year Ago
      I must say this: This is the first Cadillac I'd own in the history of the company.
      Z. Kesh
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh my god. I hope GM keeps grip on its VOLTEC-System, making it more and more advanced. I bet - in a few years - Cadillac will be a leadig Luxury Car producer with way advanced Luxury cars. Electric is the new V12!
      Z. Kesh
      • 1 Year Ago
      e-Motor ist the new V12!
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      I applaud GM for keeping the production car so close to the concept. I drove a Volt and enjoyed the experience but I am loathe to buy a 1st generation car with this amount of new tech. The ELR on the other hand is very intriguing. I will definitely test drive one next year.
      JonathanBond
      • 1 Year Ago
      I want a Cadillac now
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nice timing by GM to show winter performance to take advantage of Tesla's current woes. All's fair in love & war.
        JakeY
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Tesla did winter testing too in Minnesota. This type of testing only tweaks the handling of the car in winter conditions (such that the car is safely drivable, and there's no doubt for the Tesla Model S in this regard). It does not address range loss in the winter.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        PHEVs don't have to worry so much about battery range dropping in cold weather - another plus for them.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Cold weather effects still affect the batteries in PHEVs. It's just that you have to worry about it less since you have a tank of dino juice to burn when they go flat.
          Z. Kesh
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          @2 wheeled menace (6:49 PM) Don't forget: The VOLTEC has active thermal battery management. Another plus to keep the range from dropping too much.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "PHEVs don't have to worry so much..." "... you have to worry about it less..." Exactly. We agree.
      Julius
      • 1 Year Ago
      I find it interesting that the entire rear of the car is covered in snow in the video. I wonder if it's a quirk of the snowy environment, but it makes me wonder if an aero trade-off will be needed to be sure that the rear brake lights remain visible. I'd hate to get one, and get rear-ended in a snowstorm (or dust storm, for that matter) because someone couldn't see the tailights...
        paulwesterberg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Julius
        I think this is just due to the low pressure area at the rear of the vehicle and will happen to most vehicles. The brake lights should be bright enough to shine through the thin layer of snow.
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Absolutely correct - many times I have to clear snow off the taillights from snow accumulating there even when it is not snowing. Same thing with dust on dirt roads too. And you are also correct that the snow doesn't build up sufficiently to prevent the lights being visible when on.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      @ Cadillac ELR ? Yes, yes, YES !
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