December 9 Weekly Open Thread, Current Events Edition: Electric Car Sticker Shock
Come in out of the cold, grab some hot chocolate, sit down by the fireplace, and let's talk cars.
Just in time for Christmas, General Motors announced the 2014 Cadillac ELR Saks Fifth Avenue Edition, in a limited production run of just 100 vehicles, with an MSRP of $89,900.
So what the devil is a Cadillac ELR in the first place? According to the official General Motors press release:
The 2014 Cadillac ELR luxury coupe blends dramatic design and industry-leading extended-range technology to deliver a driving experience that is sporty and environmentally friendly. It represents the first application of Extended Range Electric Vehicle technology by a full-line luxury automotive brand....Industry-leading Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) technology provides full driving range exceeding 300 miles (480 km), combining pure electric driving and an efficient, range-extending generator....
"Extended Range Electric Vehicle," eh? Where have I heard that phrase before?....Oh, yeah, now I remember: the Chevy Volt, the $40,000 compact that does everything a Cruze Eco does for twice the price. The ELR isn't blatantly transparent cheapskate badge engineering in the tradition of the Cimarron, but beneath its rather attractive interpretation of the Cadillac "Art and Science" design theme is the powertrain and platform of a Chevy Volt.
The reaction to the plain vanilla ELR in the buff books and the automotive blogosphere ranges from "that's a bit pricey, isn't it?" to "that's crazy," with the bell curve centered somewhere around "you gotta be kidding me." Another $14k for some slightly different paint colors, a "free" charging station that normally sells for three grand, and minor bragging rights just doesn't seem worth it. If you absolutely must have an exclusive, designer edition car with "green" cred, there are cheaper ways to go about it.