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Cadillac to Build Plug-in Hybrid

The Cadillac ELR

Cadillac announced yesterday that it will begin building the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid coupe starting in late 2013. The Cadillac ELR is based on the Cadillac Converj, a concept vehicle unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in 2009.

The Detroit News reports that the ELR could go on sale in early 2014.

General Motors hasn’t released many details, but the ELR will be based on the Chevrolet Volt’s drivetrain, which includes two electric motors, a lithium-ion battery and a four-cylinder engine. “Like the Volt, the ELR's engine will fire up to feed the battery when the car runs out of juice after driving on electric power only,” writes Cars.com. When fully charged, the Volt can travel on electric power alone for up to 38 miles.

Edmunds reports, “GM did not release ELR specifications, but the coupe is expected to get more power than the Volt. It is also expected to be more expensive than the Volt.” The 2013 Volt starts at $39,145.

The ELR will have the same CUE infotainment system that is found in the 2013 Cadillac XTS, according to Motor Trend. The ELR will seat four, according to Edmunds.

Forbes notes that “cut-rate lease deals” have helped GM sell more Volts in recent months, “but the more Volts GM gets into consumers’ hands will closer the car and its advanced technology will approach the mainstream.”

Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Edmunds.com, told CNN Money that “it's important for GM to expand the Volt technology to other models if it is going to drive down prices and spread out the research and development costs.”

The Detroit Free Press predicts that the ELR will compete with the Tesla Model S and Fisker Karma, but the ELR will also likely go up against other luxury hybrids, like the Infiniti M Hybrid, Lexus GS Hybrid and BMW 5-Series Hybrid.

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