Cadillac Has More Electric-Drive Up Its Corporate Sleeve

By John O'Dell August 19, 2011

Cadillac Ciel Concept Reveal 2.jpg

The Cadillac luxury division looks to be taking General Motors Co.'s lead in promoting and expanding the corporate vehicle-electrification plan, and this weekend’s annual Pebble Beach Concours get-together near Monterey, Calif. is the place to show them off. In addition to the already-announced Cadillac ELR, a range-extended plug-in hybrid that is Caddy's version of the Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac pulled the covers off a 4-seat convertible hybrid concept, the Cadillac Ciel, at a Pebble Beach party on Thursday evening. The automaker says the all-wheel-drive concept convertible uses a twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 coupled with a GM-designed hybrid electric drive system and a lithium-ion battery pack.

The powertrain for this Cadillac convertible would deliver a combined 425 horsepower and 430 ft.-lbs. of torque, GM says, while the hybrid system would be capable of propelling the car in all-electric mode at low speeds – which likely means it wouldn’t use a grid-rechargeable battery in the fashion of the ELR/Volt. Instead, the Ciel probable will use engine power and regenerative braking to keep the batteries charged – a conventional hybrid, in other words.  It all is mounted in 203.5-inch body (that's 16.9-feet from nose to tail) with a 125-inch wheelbase that is a foot longer than the Cadillac CTS sedan's. The concept convertible rides on un-hybrid-like 22-inch wheel and tires. No other details about the powertrain were divulged. We expect, though, that bits and pieces will leak out as GM marketing gurus try to get a feel for public acceptance of – and potential demand for – a drop-top Caddy hybrid.

Cadillac Ciel Concept Reveal 1.jpgCadillac Ciel Concept Reveal 6.jpgCadillac Ciel Concept Reveal 5.jpgWhat GM would say about the 4-door, four-seat concept is that it was designed at GM's North Hollywood Design Center and has features such as nickel-plated brightwork, center-opening "French-style" doors (they used to be called suicide doors) that do away with a B-pillar, olive-wood trim sourced in Italy from a “fallen and recycled tree,” hidden cashmere blankets that the three passengers (one front, two rear) can deploy if the evening gets chilly, a small cigar humidor built into the center console, an aromatherapy center with controls mounted on one of the rear armrests,  drawers hidden beneath the seats that store sunscreen, sunglasses, beach towels. And, of course, leather upholstery, (from a fallen and recycled cow?) tanned without use of toxic chromium salt.

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