When the Cadillac ELR goes on sale early next year, prices for the two-door plug-in car will start at $75,995. Factoring in a $7,500 federal tax credit for plug in vehicles, the ELR will effectively cost about $68,500.
At that price, the ELR would cost somewhat more than the fully electric Tesla Model S. A Tesla with a 265 mile driving range costs $72,400, after the tax credit, while one with a 208 mile range costs just $62,400.
The ELR, which is essentially a luxury version of the Chevrolet Volt, can drive for 35 miles or so under purely electric power. At that point a four-cylinder gasoline engine turns on, generating electricity for more driving. Unlike the Volt, the ELR is a high-performance two-door car , GM(GM) has said. The ELR costs more than twice as much as the Volt, which starts about $34,000
To justify the ELR's high cost, Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell pointed to the ELR's greater flexibility. Unlike a fully electric car, the ELR can be driven extremely long distances while stopping only to refuel with gas, which is much faster than charging a car.
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A Tesla(TSLA) model S would, in most cases, need to stop at one of the company's Supercharger stations for a recharge which, although free, takes about an hour. Tesla is also rolling out battery swapping stations, where drivers can replace a spent battery with a full one in about 90 seconds. The cost of a battery swap will be similar to the cost of filling up with gasoline.
Cadillac buyers will also benefit from Cadillac's extensive dealership network and its long experience in providing service to customers, Caldwell said. The ELR was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show last January. GM has said it will produce only about 10,000 ELRs per year. GM sold over 23,000 Chevrolet Volts in the U.S. alone last year.