Cautionary tale: Cadillac's Volt-based ELR finally gets deep-sixed

2016 Cadillac ELR
Cadillac has finally pulled the plug on the Chevrolet Volt-based ELR after years of dismal sales.

Executives initially had high hopes for the ELR, which was hailed as the company’s first full-production plug-in model when it was introduced at the 2013 edition of the Detroit Auto Show.

“We’re only going to make so many. I actually think you’re going to see a scramble for that vehicle,” predicted Bob Ferguson, the former boss of Cadillac, in an August 2013 interview with Automotive News.

Ferguson’s foresight seemingly failed to take into account the coupe’s jaw-dropping base price of $79,995. To put that figure into perspective, the ELR was over twice as expensive as the original Volt that it shared most of its mechanical components with, and it was positioned in the same price bracket as the markedly more advanced Tesla Model S. It consequently failed to meet its sales target as soon as it hit the market.

Cadillac slashed the ELR’s base price to $65,996 for the 2016 model year as a last-ditch effort to lure buyers into showrooms. It also made an array of improvements, including tweaking the drivetrain to increase both torque and horsepower, and tuning the steering system and the suspension to make the coupe more dynamic. However, the updates were too little, too late.

Read more: Cadillac will take on BMW M and AMG with more V-Series models

It goes without saying that the ELR won’t be replaced, but its demise doesn’t mark the end of alternative powertrains for Cadillac. The company remains firmly committed to taking on the Germans, so it will shift its green car strategy to building plug-in hybrid models like the gasoline-electric variant of the CT6, its current flagship.

Déjà vu

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that Cadillac has tried to sell a dressed-up Chevrolet and failed in a spectacular manner. The firm tried to break into the booming compact luxury car segment in 1981 with the Cimarron, a sedan that was little more than a re-badged first-generation Chevrolet Cavalier.

Designers didn’t do enough to mask the Cimarron’s economy car roots, and it went down as one of the least successful models in the automaker’s illustrious history. John Howell, one of Cadillac’s former product directors, even kept a photo of the Cimarron on his office wall captioned “lest we forget.”

We’re willing to wager that phrase will make a comeback at Cadillac headquarters in the coming years, under a picture of the ELR.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Tesla given go-ahead to start deliveries of Model 3 to Europe

Tesla has been given the green light to start deliveries of its Model 3 electric sedan to Europe, giving it the chance to compete more effectively with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in the region's premium car market.

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.

Volkswagen is planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car will head to the Nürburgring for a lap-record attempt. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car with the I.D. R.
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.

Royal fans bid big money as Prince Philip ‘car crash parts’ hit eBay

A couple of days after a car crash that involved the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, debris apparently from the scene of the accident showed up on eBay. And people wanted to buy it.

If Batman became a race car driver, he’d hit the track in the Vuhl 05RR

Mexican sports car Vuhl revealed the hardcore 05RR, a roadster that blurs the line between a track car and a street-legal car. The 05RR stands out with a design that looks right out of a video game and a 385-horsepower engine.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk offers to help dig CERN’s new particle collider tunnel

CERN plans to put the Large Hadron Collider to shame with its proposed much larger Future Circular Collider -- and Elon Musk wants to help. Because, you know, he's not busy enough.