Caddy CMO Subbed In Electric Car to Make Ad ‘More Socially Palatable’ | Ad Age

; Caddy CMO Subbed In Electric Car to Make Ad ‘More Socially Palatable’; In Ad Age; 2014-03-06.
Teaser: CMO Knew It Would Generate Buzz, but Worried About Tone


Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus
Cadillac CMO Uwe Ellinghaus


  • Uwe Ellinghaus, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Cadillac
  • is quoted.
  • If it worked he was going to take credit for it; if it had trouble he needed cover.

Cadillac ELR | Patrick Wang

Cadillac ELR #2 Off the Lot

Patrick Z. Wang;Cadillac ELR #2 Driven off the Lot & First Drive 32.2 miles, 11.1Kwh; In My Cadillac ELR; 2014-01-12.

cadillac elr delivery truck
Patrick Z. Wang; Picking up the ELR this weekend hopefully; In My Cadillac ELR; 2014-01-07.

Patrick Z. Wang; 2014 Cadillac ELR Customer Profile – Who’s Buying This Anyways?; In My Cadillac ELR; 2013-11-20; via backfill.

Black Cadillac ELR
Patrick Z. Wang; Why I picked the Cadillac ELR over the Model S 60Kwh.; In My Cadillac ELR; 2013-11-18; via backfill.

Cadillac ELR, some actualities and promotions

cadillac elr

2011-cadillac-elr-6-1024x682; Cadillac ELR Test Drive Reviews; In EV Obsession; 2014-01-14; syndicated; generalized autosnobbery, can’t bring himself to say he likes it, ’cause then what’s left of his career in The Opinery?

Cadillac ELR
; Who Does GM Expect to Buy the Cadillac ELR?; In Wall Street CheetSheet; 2013-12-01.

See also: Patrick Wang’s Journey

Is the Chevy Volt Destined To Remain GM’s ‘Niche’ Product? | Hybrid Cars

Jeff Cobb; Is the Chevy Volt Destined To Remain GM’s ‘Niche’ Product?; In Hybrid Cars; 2014-01-23.


Provided for color, background & verisimilitude …




Chevy Volt costs about $1.76/day to fuel (uh, charge) via CPAU E-1, Tier 3

The Data

Date Delta 6-months Average Monthly Daily Rate
Ending kWh $ kWh $ kWh $
2013-06-19 322 $58.54 291 $52.83 9.69 $1.76
2013-05-21 290 $53.62
2013-04-22 334 $60.52
2013-03-20 218 $40.69
2013-02-20 181 $33.70
2013-01-23 399 $69.91

Provenance & Context

  • Data from 2012-06-21 through 2013-06-19.
  • Complete utility metering data is not shown
  • Monetary values include CPAU “Utility Users Tax” of ~4.20%
  • The “delta” is relative to the 6-month prior metric.
  • Operation of the vehicle commenced 2013-01-31.
  • For the frame ending 2013-01-23, this includes the school holiday break wherein the kids watched a wall-sized TV for between 8-14 hours/day from 2012-12-21 to 2013-01-02.
  • City of Palo Alto (CPA), Residential Rates, the E1 Rate Card

Cadillac ELR Roundup

The powertrain is largely based on the Volt's plug-in "extended-range electric" system.


  • Buzzword: tech halo
  • Cadillac Converj concept, introduced 2009.


(claims & bragging points)

  • 295-pound-feet of front-wheel-drive “instant torque”
  • “Precise, linear steering feel” for “smoother ride and control.”
  • Steering <quote>The rack-mounted, dual-pinion system – one for steering and one for power assist – consumes energy only when the vehicle is actively steered.</quote> via Hybrid Cars.
  • Acceleration 0-60 => “around” 8 sec.
  • Speed “top speed” => 100 mph, governed.
  • Power/Torque: 207hp/295 lb-ft
  • Drag: 0.305
  • Dashboard
    • Reconfigurable 8″ cluster
    • Cadillac “Q-system”
  • A power assisted cup-holder (silly!)
  • Range: 35 mile (like a Volt)
  • Lighting: LED only, first time this has been done.

Lots of components, capabilities & specifications recited at General Motors and Inside EVs


(branded sub-components)

  • Front HiPer Strut suspension.
  • Rear compound crank with Watt’s link suspension.
  • ZF electric power steering system.
  • ZF-Sachs continuous damping control.


  • Chris Thomason, Vehicle Chief Engineer, Cadillac ELR.
  • Keith Fisher, Design Manager, Cadillac ELR.
  • Darin Geese, Product Manager, Cadillac ELR.
  • Tim Kozub, Exterior Manager, Cadillac ELR.
  • Bob Ferguson, Global Vice President, Cadillac Division of General Motors.
  • Frank Saucedo, Director of Advanced Design, General Motors.


  • <quote>It should be noted that although the price of the Cadillac ELR has also not yet been announced, it is probably not going to arrive at the lower end of original expectations as GM has said the re-tooling to build the ELR will cost about $35 million dollars and that the plug-Caddy will now also be a “limited” production run. We think a mid-60,000s MSRP is likely.</quote> via Inside EVs

Original Sources

Referenced & Cited


JayLenosGarage; 2014 Cadillac ELR – Jay Leno’s Garage; On YouTube; 2013-06-16; 15:14.

Something hosted at Brightcove; likely General Motors; 1:19 or so; undated.

Something hosted at Brightcove; likely General Motors; 1:56; undated.

gmblogs; Cadillac ELR Interior Blends Sport and Luxury | Keith Fisher | Faces of GM; On YouTube; 2013-02-21; 1:50.

kquein; The best car ever: Cadillac ELR; On YouTube; 2013-02-15; 10:45.
Summary: this is the floor show from the Chicago Auto Show 2013.

Car and Driver: Tested : 2014 Cadillac ELR Revealed @ 2013 Detroit Auto; In Car & Driver on YouTube; 2013-01-14; 12:29.


See links for photo credits, largely in archaeological order (newer on top, older below)

The 2014 Cadillac ELR's advanced suspension and steering technologies provide the responsive dynamics drivers have come to expect from Cadillac. Image courtesy of GM

The powertrain is largely based on the Volt's plug-in "extended-range electric" system.

5th Annual REFUEL Clean Power Motorsports Event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Sunday 2013-06-30

Official Press Release


Speed Ventures presents the 5th Annual REFUEL Clean Power Motorsports Event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Sunday June 30, 2013.




Perception becomes reality: Is the Volt an electric car?

One learns so very much about marketing complex technical products in the three month sales cycle of a Volt … What got answered in the research/sales process and what didn’t and what got met with silence. There’s a few Bob Lutz quotes rattling around the trade and enthusiast press which are super-duper instructive here, but they’ll only make sense once one has taken delivery.

I’ve had the following conversation like about five or six times so far in the journey:

I got a Volt.
Really, it’s electric, right?
[as in: but, um you always ever owned V-8 vehicks right?]
Uh, yeah, it’s mostly electric.
[as in: keep it short, it's a social situation]
What’s the range?
About 35 miles.
That’s pretty risky isn’t it? I mean, what do you do when you’re out of juice?
There’s a gas engine, you just drive it. I did that last week.
Really? I’ve never heard of this.
it varies a bit after that.
Oh, so it’s not like a Leaf then?
Yup. The gas engine takes over. In fact, I don’t bother to charge at work. Too pesky with all the pure battery folk in a panic to get home.
Is that what they call a hybrid?
blah blah blah series-parallel hybrid blah blah blah lead with the battery, follow with the engine to make up average power but not till ~70 mph blah blah blah
[the laugh here is that last bit is right out of the GM media campaign 2010, it's good patter]
Interesting, what’s the 0-60?
it’s pretty much straight home after that.

There’s this rule of thumb in marketing somehow that one must recite simple messages over and over and over. Everyone knows this but then you learn it again and again in the trade. And then once again because you get so steeped in the process that you can’t begin to see the concerns of the prospects who aren’t really listening to you anyway.

Short Messages:

  • The Volt is just a car, drive it like one.
  • It’s not a toy. Use it as you would a family car.
  • You buy this car and you buy freedom. Enjoy that.

I got endorsed by the focus group: “Dad, this car is way cool. I want it.” age 14.5

[I now have a problem when that focus group element hits 15.5. Kids these days love their computers and this machine is way full 'o computers. Maybe the ELR will get built and I can trade up.]

The “range anxiety” concept is accurate, precise and honest. But it’s a fancy enough term that it reminds me that it’s a problem I didn’t have before, so entering into a situation that buys that problem, owns it and solves that problem is a wash. And bathing is … um, um, cough, a good idea. But it must offer some other benefit. Faster, cheaper, bigger, rougher are a thing, and in that, you can’t beat coolness.

The charging cord is not really a demonstrable symbol of freedom.  The leash aspect has to be argued away somehow.  As in “if you don’t want it, don’t use it.”  They have some of this simplicity in the brand campaigns, but it’s totally overdriven by blaring angry self-righteous EV culture.

The success recipe here has to be:

  • hide the sanctimony
  • hide the save-the-planet stuff
  • hide the entitlement
  • hide the tech policy stuff
  • hide the job subsidy stuff
  • hide the accounting cost basis stuff
  • hide the acronyms unless they’re in the frat, know the secret handshake and are a serious serious policy wonk.

To wit: AC AEV AEV-100 AEV-300 ANL BEV BSC CAFCP CAISO CARB CDFA CEC CHAdeMO CMAQ CPUC CVRP DC DGS DMV DOE DRIVE EERE EPIC EREV ETP EV EVSE FCEV GEELA GOBIZ HCD HEV HOV HVIP ICE I-HIB L1 L2 L3 LCFS LG LMC LMP MAP-21 NAIS NEMA NEV NGO NREL NRG OPR PACE PEV PEVC PHEV PV SAE SAE-J1772 SAE-J2929 SGC SOC TCO V2G VA VMVSS WGB WOT ZEV. I read all this stuff just to figure out if I could own this vehicle, they’re all real places, orgs, standards, programs or concepts. Most of ‘em are irrelevant. A few matter. The ones that matter aren’t colocated & separated from the irrelevant ones. Everyone is a policy wonk and an expert in their own affairs so all this stuff gets interwoven in arbitrary ways. Such is the magic of social proof.

I still have worries & questions. But most aren’t directly related to owning & operating the voltec technology in a “daily driver” vehicle, not really.  The car “just works”  It’s the stuff around it that’s pesky: the smartphone apps don’t work, for-pay nav is expensive & confusing, for-pay radio is expensive, confusing and wow is it expensive on any cost basis you choose to measure, and getting into the fine world of residential L2 charging is a longer process than one might imagine, etc.