Cadillac took the wraps off its Lyriq EV this evening. In a digital event, GM’s luxury brand revealed a striking and ultra-luxurious crossover EV. It’s still a “show car,” although the company says it’s about 80% toward production. The Lyriq goes on sale in the US in late 2022.

In a media briefing earlier this week, Cadillac executives spoke about how the Lyriq will “redefine American luxury” and the brand will offer a “portfolio of transformative EVs.” But this week’s news – coming more than two years before the arrival of the first electric Caddy – is all about the photos, with very few technical details about the electric powertrain.

The juiciest details were the target of more than 300 miles of range for both the rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive versions of the Lyriq – and the availability of a 19-kW, Level 2 charging option.

Marty Hogan, chief engineer for the Lyriq, said:

We’re going to do everything we can to maximize range. Our objective is to offer over 300 miles range on what we’re doing with these products and the variants on these products. But we’re still in the development phase of the program.

Hogan said that he won’t know where the range lands until the end of vehicle development. However, he explained that the performance-oriented all-wheel-drive model would have about 20 to 30 miles less than the RWD Lyriq.

Hogan promised excellent handling with a 50/50 weight distribution and center of gravity that’s about 100 millimeters lower than the Cadillac XT5.

The sequence for production of the first two GM Ultium EVs continues to be confusing. On the media call, Michael Albano, a GM spokesperson, said Lyriq production would start in China in 2021. That’s the same info that was provided during GM’s EV Day earlier this year. But Albano later clarified:

We have not announced the start [date] of production in China. But I can confirm China production will begin first with US production following shortly afterward.

GM declined to say which facility it will use to produce the Lyriq. Regardless, it’s confirmed that the electric crossover will not be available for sale in the US until “late 2022.” (It would logically be a 2023 model.)

Because the GMC Hummer EV will be produced at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant in 2021, it’s the electric Hummer that will be the first vehicle using GM’s new-and-improved EV battery system to hit US roads.

Hogan, the chief engineer, was questioned about the 19-kW home charging option and the need for Cadillac customers to install 100 amps of electric service on a circuit for EV charging. He emphasized that customers could choose a slower charging speed and that GM has a relationship with Qmerit, a service that helps EV owners through the installation process.

The Lyriq and other Cadillac electric vehicles are intended for global production and sale across the United States. Steve Carlisle, GM’s president for North America, said that the company is currently having discussions with Cadillac dealership councils to prepare them for an electric future – although his comments raised questions about production volumes in the early going.

In the early days, production will be a bit restricted as we ramp up. But our attention is to make this a national play for the brand.

We all know there are some states at the current moment with higher propensity [for EV purchases] than others. We need to pay attention to that, but we also need to be aspiring to our entire lineup. We believe within the next 7 to 10 years, we’ll be electric, and we need to be operating across the country.

Here are other confirmed technical details:

  • DC fast charging will be up to 150 kilowatts
  • The latest version of Super Cruise (by the time it arrives in 2022) will be available. Features will include automated lane changes and remote parking.
  • A dual-plane augmented reality-enhanced head-up display 
  • A 33-inch-diagonal advanced LED screen that spans the entire viewing area of the driver and provides billions of colors.
  • The Lyriq will recognize the driver and initiate a “greeting” with a complex choreographed sequence of the headlight’s vertical elements
  • New road noise cancellation technology

The Lyriq is still more than two years away from arriving in the US. So again, the main story tonight is about seeing the photos. Andrew Smith, executive director for Cadillac design, said:

We talked about moving into EV and a total redefinition of the brand from a portfolio point of view. We feel like it was an opportunity to leapfrog in terms of styling as well.

He emphasized the Lyriq exterior’s “classically great stance,” and an interior that conveys “spaciousness” and “optimism.”

The reveal of Lyriq is available to watch live: https://media.cadillac.com/gmbx/us/en/lyriq/home.html

Electrek’s Take

The Lyriq looks beautiful. The interior is dramatic. And we’re optimistic that Cadillac will produce a true flagship EV for GM’s luxury brand.

However, what we’re seeing today is 80% production intent – and none of the specs are locked down. Price is a big question. A lot could happen between now and late 2022 when the Lyriq arrives. (The pace to production, with China coming first, seems quite leisurely.)

While the fast 19-kW charging could be a good thing for some customers, we also see it as unnecessary for overnight home charging – especially considering the need for 100-amp service. Moreover, it reflects the mentality of drivers not familiar with the real needs of daily EV driving. And it shows how Cadillac might be overemphasizing clever tricks (like fancy headlight sequences) rather than delivering a great long-range EV at a compelling price as soon as possible.

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