Cadillac LYRIC – Taking Back the Luxury EV Lead?

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Cadillac Lyric EV

Reuss: “If I had one word to describe it, I would say personal.”

Cadillac’s first electric vehicle and GM’s first product on an all-new platform designed for electrification debuted last night in a virtual reveal live from the Design Center dome in Warren MI. Production is scheduled for 2022.

The Lyric’s propulsion system and supporting technologies could make Cadillac a leader in electrification, connectivity and automated driving, but it’s starting the race from the pits.

The abandonment of alpha numeric names is an attempt to craft an identity by not copying the German competition – Audi, BMW, Mercedes – that have been killing Cadillac (only a 9% share of luxury segment in US) in the global marketplace. Lyric was allegedly chosen because Cadillac is mentioned in more songs than any other automotive brand, including Tesla, which pioneered the concept of luxury electric technology, even though its execution was and remains flawed.

LYRIQ is based on GM’s next-generation, modular electric vehicle platform and driven by the Ultium propulsion system, allowing Cadillac to offer customers a variety of range and performance options. With range being one of the biggest factors when it comes to selecting an EV, LYRIQ can provide more than 300 miles of motion on a full charge, based on GM internal testing1.

GM President Mark Reuss offered the most intriguing and compelling description of Lyric when asked will customers accept it?

 “At the end of the day, product is key. If we get the vehicle right and have a charging infrastructure, and we have battery cell technology and scale that is very competitive from a price, cost and value standpoint for our customers, things begin to change and they begin to change rapidly,” Reuss said.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Cadillac Lyric EV“The passion and reflection of who you are and what you like is still present in an electric vehicle like an internal combustion car. The curves of what it takes  (internal Combustion and EV emissions, range, cost and drivability – KZ) needs parity… You can do it with our new EV architecture. You can tune the car to the personality of the customer. The Lyric will continually get better  throughout the ownership experience… the vehicle you drive today may not be what you want to drive tomorrow, which we can change with over the air technology. If I had one word to describe it,  I would say personal,” Reuss concluded.

Performance and Technology Highlights

  • Charging options for home, workplace or on the road. These include DC fast charging rates more than 150 kilowatts and Level 2 charging rates up to 19 kW2.
  • Rear-wheel drive and performance all-wheel drive configurations. Adding muscle – err an EV powertrain – to the front wheels adds horsepower.
  • The latest version of Super Cruise3, claimed to be with justification the first truly hands-free driver assistance item, available on more than 200,000 miles of compatible highways. It was recently was enhanced to include automated lane changing.
  • New technologies such as a dual-plane augmented reality-enhanced head-up display and remote self-parking.
  • Lyric’s adaptive technology interaction with the driver and passengers, including a 33-inch-diagonal advanced LED screen the spans the entire viewing area of the driver.

Strategic selling and engineering points explicitly reject luxury EVs adapted from a traditional internal combustion engine architecture. Cadillac’s all-new, modular EV platform on which the LYRIQ is based is the foundation for its performance.

With a dedicated EV architecture, GM claims – with validation – the design eliminates significant physical constraints associated with adapting electric propulsion within a conventional vehicle architecture. Lyric supports greater driving range, an “engaging” driving experience since electric motors provide instant torque and a different interpretation of passenger space.

At the bottom of  LYRIQ, the Ultium battery system is a structural element of the architecture that is integrated in ways that contribute to ride and handling, as well as safety. The lower center of gravity and near 50/50 weight distribution enabled by the placement of the battery pack results – as road racers well know – in a responsive vehicle that allows for ardent driving.  (Lordstown and Lithium. A New GM Constellation is Rising)

Like German luxury cars before all-wheel-drive, LYRIQ is driven primarily by the rear wheels, with a performance all-wheel drive option. The placement of the drive motor at the rear of the vehicle contributes balance and agility that Cadillac squandered after the 1975 oil crisis when front-wheel drive became GM’s dominate car architecture. Cadillac hopes you don’t remember Cimarron or, worse, the ELR disaster, which is a natural effect in its ageing customers. The question remains can Cadillac entice sophisticated luxury and electric vehicle customers back into its showroom?

AWD allows the system to channel more torque to the pavement without wheelspin for exhilarating acceleration and greater cornering capability. Vehicles equipped with performance all-wheel drive have a second drive unit placed at the front, which allows for a significant amount of tuning flexibility, enriching vehicle dynamics and performance for drivers.

Cadillac LYRIQ is powered by GM’s new Ultium battery system, which offers approximately 100 kilowatt-hours of energy. Ultium’s sophisticated NCMA (nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum) chemistry from LG Chem uses aluminum in the cathode to help reduce the need for rare-earth materials such as cobalt. Engineers reduced the cobalt content by more than 70%, compared to current GM batteries.

The battery chemistry is packed in large, flat pouch cells that enable “smart” module construction to reduce complexity and simplify cooling needs. Additionally, the battery electronics are incorporated directly into the modules, eliminating nearly 90% of the battery pack wiring compared to GM’s current electric vehicles.

More Technology

  • Battery and charging monitoring conveyed by at-a-glance graphics. The system identifies the vehicle’s energy needs at home and on the go, according to owner preferences, while also monitoring and forecasting energy consumption and providing charging suggestions. (GM and EVgo to Add EV Fast Chargers Nationwide)
  • New dual-plane augmented reality-enhanced head-up display employs two planes: a near plane indicating speed, direction and more, and a far plane displaying transparent navigation signals and other important alerts.
  • The latest version of Super Cruise, the hands-free driver assistance feature, including automated lane change.3
  • Supervised remote parking that uses hidden ultrasonic sensors to help the LYRIQ park itself in parallel or perpendicular parking spaces — whether the driver is inside or outside of the vehicle.4

Walk toward a LYRIQ and it recognizes the driver and initiates a “greeting” with a choreographed lighting sequence, while also preparing the cabin for the journey, including seat, mirror and climate system adjustments. Once inside, the LYRIQ offers Cadillac’s highest level of driver information, infotainment and connectivity integration.

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Cadillac LYRIQ EV Concept

Click to Enlarge.

A 33-inch-diagonal advanced LED display integrates a single, large screen that spans the viewing area for the driver and incorporates driver information details, infotainment controls and camera views. This new display has the highest pixel density available in the automotive industry today and can display more than one billion colors, 64 times more than any other vehicle in the automotive industry, providing an experience unlike anything I’ve seen before.

Cadillac will introduce a new road noise cancellation technology which has microphones and accelerometers. This improve noise cancellation. With this new system, Cadillac’s performance and audio engineers can target the frequency range of tire cavity noise, reducing the noise level in the vehicle and allowing for a quieter in-cabin experience.

And thus, the end of the opening refrain. But Lyrics will go on.

Footnotes

1Based on initial Cadillac testing.  Official EPA estimates not yet available. Your actual range may vary based on several factors, including temperature, terrain, battery age, and how you use and maintain your vehicle.

2Actual charge times will vary based on battery condition, output of charger, vehicle settings and outside temperature.

3Even while using the Super Cruise driver assistance feature, always pay attention while driving and do not use a hand-held device.  Visit cadillacsupercruise.com for compatible highways and more information.  Requires properly equipped vehicle, active Super Cruise subscription, working electrical system, cell reception, and GPS signal.

4Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. The driver should remain attentive to traffic, surroundings and road conditions always. Visibility, weather and road conditions may affect feature performance. Read the vehicle’s owner’s manual for more important safety limitations and information.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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