In the not-so-distant past, Cadillac released a plug-in hybrid coupe named ELR to ostensibly compete with Tesla. It did not have an all-electric drivetrain, four doors, or impressive performance specs, but it did have GM’s marketing team on its side. Hence the pretty graphics telling us why ELR was the better deal. Besides, it carried the same price tag, so folks naturally compared the two. Unfortunately for GM, nearly every comparison between ELR and Model S went the Tesla’s way.
By early 2016, GM had killed production of ELR after admitting it was a disappointment. While the L.A. Auto Show was going on, the automotive giant launched the Chinese-built Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid for U.S. audiences. Once again, it offers 30-plus miles of electric range and operates as a plug-in hybrid. Likewise, its MSRP of $75,095 brings it back near — actually, well above — Tesla’s base Model S buy-in of $68,000.
Beyond these basic similarities, the CT6 plug-in and ELR share little in common other than a Cadillac badge. For starters, the electrified model of the brand’s new flagship is a four-door sedan. As John Voelcker pointed out, trying to sell a small coupe is a fool’s errrand these days, especially in the high price point where ELR debuted. It didn’t work for the superior ATS in a lower price point, so the death of ELR was not surprising.
Cadillac improved upon several other aspects of its plug-in hybrid with the new release. Here are the key differences between the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid and the departed ELR.