We like to pick on new Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen for his insistence, many years ago, when he was president of Audi of America, that plug-in vehicles are for idiots. Listening to him give the keynote address at the Washington Auto Show today, you wouldn't know he ever said anything negative about an electric vehicle. Instead, he sounds something like a EV-angelist.

De Nysschen said that Cadillac will be able to benefit from GM's considerable expertise in plug-in technology, which he said would be "applied across the spectrum of our portfolio." GM's electric committment will help in "making electrification commonplace." With the plug-in ELR already on the road, de Nysschen said that the company's next step in advancing powertrains will be the introduction of stop/start technology – which de Nysschen called an "important system to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions" – into a Cadillac for the first time later this year.

Without giving any specific details, de Nysschen said that Cadillac will introduce eight new models (not necessarily plug-ins) by the end of this decade, including five that "will take Cadillac into market segments where the brand is not even present today." These new vehicles will likely be much lighter than today's vehicles, de Nysschen said, because "weight reduction today is critical to automotive design, it helps to improve fuel efficiency and contributes to desireable vehicle dynamics." The key is to reduce weight without compromising safety or comfort and to use the right material – steel, aluminum, carbon fiber – in the right place at the right time. It was a not-so-subtle jab at Ford and its new aluminum F-150.

"In the pursuit of weight reduction, some manufacturers have also opted for abandoning steel and have gone for an all-aluminum approach," he said. "At Cadillac, we believe that different materials each present particular advantages in specific applications. There is no single material that represents the optimum balance of the conflicting objectives of every single application."


Related video:
Translogic 155: Cadillac ELR Plug-In Hybrid


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