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Cadillac will make PHEV versions of most models instead of going all-electric … yet

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Cadillac is about to embrace electrically assisted powertrains across the majority of its model range, but fully electric vehicles are still on the more distant horizon.

Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen told Automotive News that plug-in hybrid versions of almost all its vehicles will be offered to meet stricter emissions regulations, especially in China. “For us, the avenue to ensure that we are able to play in China is going to be through plug-in hybrids,” de Nysschen said at the LA Auto Show.

While other luxury automakers are developing standalone EV models to contend with Tesla, Cadillac says it will meet the market’s needs with PHEVs that offer some all-electric range but aren’t handicapped by charging infrastructure. As part of GM, Cadillac also benefits from the governments regulations as an average across all models, so the Volt, Malibu Hybrid, and other fuel efficient models bring down the emissions and raise the fuel economy numbers cross-brand. “That removes to some extent the immediate imperative” to do a Tesla fighter, de Nysschen stated.

Some of its luxury competitors like Mercedes-Benz and BMW must create a number of ultra-green models since they don’t have sub-brands that make their own efficient vehicles.

The present plan is to parlay the plug-in hybrid system that debuted in LA on a CT6 sedan shell into several other PHEV Cadillacs. The system pairs a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a version of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt’s e-drive twin-motor setup and an 18.4kWh lithium-ion battery. In the CT6, the full-size sedan will manage 30 miles of electric range and offers an mpg equivalent of 65.

“We think that those cars anyway offer the advantage that they effectively can be a full EV, but they are not subjected to the constraints of a still-immature charging infrastructure,” he said, speaking of upcoming PHEV Cadillac models.

This doesn’t mean a full EV isn’t on the way, it’s, “just on the longer time horizon,” he said. “Once we’ve covered all the bases … then we’ll turn our eye to doing a full EV. It’s definitely not something I exclude,” commented de Nysschen.

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