General Motors has confirmed that its Cadillac Converj Concept, a luxury coupe with extended-range EV technology first shown at Detroit in 2009, will become a production model called ELR, retaining Cadillac three-letter model naming policy.  

“Development of the ELR is just underway, so details on performance, price and timing will be announced later,” GM said in a statement confirming a GreenCarReports report about a week ago.

The ELR would have an electric propulsion system made up of a T-shaped lithium ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator, much like the Chevy Volt.

“The concept generated instant enthusiasm,” said Cadillac marketing chief Don Butler. “Like other milestone Cadillac models of the past, the ELR will offer something not otherwise present – the combination of electric propulsion with striking design and the fun of luxury coupe driving.”

Cadillac said it selected the name ELR to indicate the car’s electric propulsion technology, in keeping with the brand’s three-letter international model naming convention.

Sources familiar with the plans told Reuters the plug-in hybrid would be built in 2013 as a 2014 model.

Toyota is rolling out its 2012 Prius plug-in hybrid, a competitor to the Chevrolet Volt. A plug-in Cadillac would be a rival to the US$97,000 Karma hybrid sedan that Fisker Automotive is launching as a 2012 model.

The Volt’s 400lb lithium ion battery provides electric-only range of 25 to 50 miles. After the battery is depleted, the 1.4-litre petrol engine provides power.

Toyota says that its Prius plug-in hybrid will have a range of 475 miles, and will be able to drive 13 miles on electricity alone on a full charge. Its battery can fully charge in 90 minutes using a conventional US household 110-volt outlet.

Reuters’ sources said GM also is exploring building an all-electric Chewvrolet subcompact car. The battery for that car’s powertrain would be supplied by A123 Systems which was just awarded a contract by GM for unspecified future electric vehicles.

A pure electric Chevy subcompact would be a competitor for Nissan’s Leaf, which was introduced late last year like the Volt.

Chevy subcompact cars are marketed as the Sail in China, the Beat in India, New Aveo in Europe and the upcoming Sonic in the United States. GM and its China partner, state-owned SAIC, have pledged to work together to develop electric drive vehicles.

A Chevy spokesman declined to comment on those plans. “We are exploring others (body styles), but we’re just not ready to make any announcements,” Mike Albano told Reuters.

ELR pricing speculation