Components and technologies on Cadillac’s first-ever electric SUV – the Lyriq – are said to be 80 per cent validated following an extensive program.
Testing, which so far has covered highway, rural and urban terrain across a myriad of climates at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground in Wanaka, New Zealand, has concentrated on the E-SUV’s drive quality, and “sensory elements” including “a new interior audio signature.” I.e. is the cabin quiet enough?
Confirmation that said systems are now 80 per cent operational for production means Cadillac’s engineers can now begin fine tuning the componentry ahead of the models’ launch in fall 2022.
“We have spent countless hours behind the wheel of our Lyriq test fleet and in virtual testing environments to be sure we deliver our customers a comprehensive luxury experience expressed in an all-new electrified package,” explains executive chief engineer Jamie Brewer in an official statement. “All the while we are remaining true to our brand promise, by placing high priority on meticulous craftsmanship and intuitive integrated technologies.
“We’re now fine-tuning Lyriq’s touchpoints. We’re making tweaks to a variety of areas as we do after every development drive, but we’re nearly there. Customers will love this driving experience and, we feel that it will redefine their expectations for electric luxury vehicles.”
Alongside the real-world test program, Cadillac has also conducted virtual tests on the Lyriq, a process the company states was not just faster but could also save up to US$1.5 billion per year in engineering costs if introduced into its global product setup. These virtual tests, conducted “within the confines of a digital environment”, focused specifically on vehicle aerodynamics, aeroacoustics and active road noise, cabin comfort and driver assistance safety systems. Notably, virtual testing also allowed Cadillac to move its entire product launch forward by a full nine months, an almost unheard-of accomplishment!
As confirmed at the model’s unveiling back in April this year, the new Lyriq will sit atop General Motors’ new, more flexible Ultium platform. As well as providing a lower centre of gravity and increased chassis rigidity over Cadillac’s previous ICE-powered SUVs, the Ultium also creates a “near 50/50 weight balance.” Mated with this platform is five-link front and rear suspension geometry complete with frequency-dependent dampers to maximize ride quality and cabin comfort. Notably, the torsional strength of the Ultium means cabin civility is unlikely to be affected by planned “exceptional responsiveness in the steering and suspension systems.”
The Lyriq will feature a rear-driven drivetrain that incorporates a single electric motor, a 12-module, 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack, will deliver an estimated 340 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque, and 480 km of range with a full charge. The Lyriq will be compatible with 190 kW DC fast-charging, with up to 122 km of range available inside 10 minutes. A Level 2, 19 kW module, capable of adding 83 km of range per hour, will also be available for home-charging.
The Lyriq will be produced at GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly plant into which the company has already invested US$2 billion for EV acclimation. An all-new battery cell manufacturing plant, also at Spring Hill, will also receive a US$2.3 billion injection of funds.
Prices for the Cadillac Lyriq in Canada are expected to start from $69,898, or just under $17,000 less than an Audi E-Tron.