New Models for Top Electric Vehicle Brands


2013 has ushered a new rush of models coming from the major car manufacturers who are seeking to get ahead in the electric car revolution. Nissan and Cadillac have just recently unveiled their newest models at the Detroit Auto Show.

Nissan has unveiled its latest crossover plug-in hybrid concept named the Resonance. This is essentially an upgrade to its current Murano crossover, this time with a plug-in hybrid drive train. The concept focuses on being lightweight, as well as having an aerodynamic design, using the V-Motion Look that begins at the front grille of the vehicle and moves throughout the hull of the car until the now familiar boomerang shaped headlamps.

The Resonance design team consisted of the Nissan Design America under the aegis of Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer. Other innovations include a ‘floating’ roof design which was executed through the use of steeply cut pillars that frame a full length glass panel on a D-pillar design. It also utilizes the concept ‘one motor, two clutch hybrid’, where the 2.5 liter dual overhead cam (DOHC) internal combustion engine works hand in hand with Nissan’s high performance electric motor. The battery pack is made from lithium ion which drives Nissan’s XTronic CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission System.

According to Francis Bancon, Nissan Motor Co.’s Division General Manager for Product Strategy and Planning, “Resonance is meant to be provocative, energetic and engaging- even polarizing. Its edgy yet sophisticated design, combined with an environmentally sensitive powertrain and intelligent utility provides a clear exciting view into the future of crossover innovation.”

Another car manufacturer, namely Cadillac, has announced that it would be launching its Cadillac ELR in 2014. The vehicle based on the Converj concept unveiled back in 2009, the latest reincarnation of that design would include the brand’s very first Extended Range Electric Vehicle.

While related to the Chevy Volt, the Cadillac ELR would draw its power from a 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and able to produce 295 pound feet of torque. Once the battery charge is depleted the gas powered generator would then take over, providing another 300 miles of range after the projected 35 miles of all electric range.

The main focus of the ELR is its emphasis on luxury in both the exterior and interior of the vehicle. According to Cadillac, the ELR styling ‘establishes a new, progressive proportion for the brand’, yet at the same time retains its identifiable design themes, such as the vertical headlights and taillights that has been synonymous with the brand since 1948.

Its aerodynamic design allows only 0.305 coefficient of drag, which helps extend range for the vehicle. This is achieved through the small details such as, tapered fascia corners, active grille shutters, sharp rear edges, and rear spoiler designed to optimize airflow. The HiPer strut front suspension and Watts compound crank rear set up is fully utilized under the Continuous Damping Control system for a comfortable ride. The vehicle has four driving modes, with special emphasis on the Hold mode which defaults to generator mode when the battery charge is depleted.

The interior accentuates modern elegance with integration of technology showcased in the Cadillac CUE with Navigation System which is in essence an eight inch full color touch screen display.

Clearly, the electric car revolution is in full swing.

Cadillac Joins the EV Fray


Cadillac has confirmed last month the unveiling of its very own extended range electric vehicle. The technology for the luxury brand is based on what is standard with the Chevrolet Volt.

The new vehicle would be the 2014 Cadillac ELR, which is the production version of the 2009 Converj concept. The production models would be unveiled sometime in 2013.

The specifications are still sketchy and only official data disseminated is that the ELR would be a luxury coupe with an electric drive unit with a T-shaped lithium ion battery with a four-cylinder range extender. This range extender is actually an electric generator that would provide power to the drive unit. Upon depletion of the batteries, the generator would then take over to provide power to the electric drive unit, very similar to how internal combustion engines turns the alternator to create electrical current.

Many are of the mind that the ELR would just be a two door Chevy Volt. The key differences though would be the Cadillac luxury interiors and technological gadgetry. This would definitely add more weight to the vehicle. Another major difference would be the price tag, which is pricier estimated at the mid U.S. $50,000 range. This requires the use of expensive lightweight materials to work around the weight issues associated with the Cadillac brand.

Other features reportedly to be included in the ELR includes sound deadening materials and active engine mounts together with radar and camera based monitoring systems. Even with these ultra modern features, the curbside weight of the ELR should just be about a hundred pounds more than the 3,800-pound curbside weight of the Volt and all these because of the Volt’s weight saving measures.

It is also projected that the ELR’s range extending motor would be more powerful than the Volt’s 1.4-liter engine. The most likely choice would be the new four-cylinder engine from Opel with an engine displacement of 1.8 liters. This more powerful engine would allow for quicker charging time for the battery of the ELR as well as stronger drive when using the internal combustion engine.

The battery would be bigger than the 16.5 kWh of the Volt. The changes to add more charge would be done through the addition of more prismatic lithium ion cells using the T-shaped battery found in standard Volts.

Other signature features include the vertical LED headlights and taillights and the well-known trapezoid shaped grille that would be closed off providing better aerodynamics and greater fuel economy. The roofline has a shallow upward angle, providing great airflow over the top of the vehicle and continues all the way to the rear. This makes the vehicle look like the classic fastback models back in the 60’s and 70’s. The beltline runs from the front of each door to swoop to the rear to end at the uppermost end of the taillights. The chrome rims have seven spokes and is set on low profile tires.