The Cadillac Celestiq is GM’s big (literally) luxury EV bet • TechCrunch


Years ago, Cadillac was associated with luxury and performance.

Today, in an effort to carve its way to the top of the luxury pile, the US automaker on Monday revealed the production of the Cadillac Celtic, a behemoth handcrafted, bespoke sedan that adheres closely to its concept. Unveiled in July from this year.

The car, which dates from the 1960s land yachting era, has an Escalade equivalent weight of 56.35 to 6,217 pounds, It will start at a whopping $300,000 and be built at General Motors’ global technical center in Warren, Michigan.

The company has been making a lot of buzz since it revealed the concept in July, and it showcased Prototype in Pebble Beach Back in August of this year, TechCrunch got its first look at the production vehicle in Hollywood on Monday night.

In truth, the company has been making great performance and luxury sedans for years (cars like the CTS-V, ATS, and CTS), but it failed to capture the American luxury market the way it had planned and wanted. . The former sedans were designed to catch up with the best-selling German cars that toppled the company as the “world standard,” Cadillac’s motto for the past 41 years.

“We will continue to make our way back to the top of the luxury market and bring Cadillac back to the pinnacle of luxury,” Rory Harvey, Cadillac’s global vice president, told TechCrunch, “and we don’t intend to stop.” “

Celestiq is a Cadillac halo. Cadillac said earlier that it plans to produce only 500 cars. However, spokespersons at Monday’s event told TechCrunch that it intends to continue making Celestiq for years to come, suggesting that the final sales tally could exceed that initial figure. Harvey said the company can earn up to two a week at Warren Technology Center in Michigan.

A mixture of old and new

Image credits: Abigail Bassett

While Cadillac has a rich history of hand-engineered craftsmanship that stretches back to its beginnings, this is the first modern vehicle with an all-electric motor that blends cutting-edge technology and bespoke customization.

Celestiq supports GM’s Ultium battery technology, albeit in a different design than other GM vehicles.

Cadillac chief engineer Tony Roma told TechCrunch that the company had already been reviewing the Celestiq battery design for two years, but no one asked about it.

The batteries are positioned across the bottom of the vehicle rather than piecing in the chassis. The front of the battery pack is lower than the part under the rear seats, and there’s an additional battery pack placed lengthwise down the middle of the car, to simulate the transmission tunnel.

The custom EV architecture combines a 111 kWh battery pack with a two-motor all-wheel drive system. GM estimates that the Celestiq will put out 600 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque and get about 300 miles on a full charge.

Cadillac says the Celestiq will travel from 0 to 60 mph in about 3.8 seconds. The company also says that with DC Fast charging, the Celestiq will gain up to 78 miles of range in just 10 minutes.

This is impressive, considering that everything in the car looks like metal is actually metal that adds to the already heavy weight. Most car manufacturers make things like trim and interior parts out of lighter weight plastic and wrap it up to look like metal. This is not the case for the Cadillac Celeste. Chief Engineers Brandon Vivian noted during the preview that this is intentional. “

This is Cadillac’s flagship car and we want it to be authentic and authentic.”

The company used a combination of additive manufacturing, stamping and casting to manufacture everything from the white-painted body to aluminum steering wheel studs and curved composite body panels.

Additive manufacturing is basically 3D printing, and according to Rome, the technology wasn’t really feasible for the project until about a year and a half ago. When the technology became available, Cadillac was able to recycle it and use it in construction. There are 115 3D printed pieces in Celestiq.

And the evolution of add-on technologies has enabled Cadillac to offer even more bespoke features. “If I wanted your name or some sort of cut-out design on the steering wheel or the piece of metal under the vents, we could do that. Because we could just print it out on the file itself, and it’s not like I have a complete instrument,” Roma said.

technology and packaging

Cadillac Celeste cabin

Image credits: GM

“One of the most challenging aspects of designing the Celestiq was encapsulating a nice looking body around all the technology,” Erin Crossley, design director at Celestiq, told TechCrunch. The technology includes everything from a fixed glass roof that has four separate panels that can be individually converted to opaque, embossed or open, depending on the preferences of those inside, to a 55-inch diagonal screen that extends across the Celestiq’s dashboard.

Cadillac also says that the Celestiq will be equipped with the latest Super Cruise technology, GM’s advanced driving assistance system that’s as close to autonomous driving as realistically possible, today.

The Celestiq will come with the Ultra Cruise, which will be based on GM’s Super Cruise, and allow hands-free driving on designated highways and divided roads. Ultra Cruise will allow drivers to drive hands-free in the city. Cadillac says that “the vehicle will be equipped with all the necessary Ultra Cruise hardware to enable additional feature growth via over-the-air updates in 2024.”

The Celestiq will also include automatic remote parking, which allows the driver to exit the vehicle while leaving the same parking space in a parallel or perpendicular space.

China’s ambitions

As Cadillac struggles to regain its world record title, at least here in the US, the company’s cars are popular in China, and it’s easy to see how the Celestiq could fit in with the company’s global ambitions.

Its tall, low design and curved roof, with everything from retractable drawer tables located in the central armrest in the rear seat to individual screens in each seat, suggest Cadillac is thinking about those buyers who would rather drive, rather than drive themselves.

When asked about overseas market ambitions, Cadillac representatives said, “Celastic will be available first in North America. As a global brand, we will be looking at expanding to other global markets later in the product lifecycle, including China and the Middle East.”

Cadillac says it will start building the Celestiq at the end of 2023, and orders can be placed through dealers. Interested parties will then contact a concierge who will guide them through the design process or use in-house developed AI to help them narrow down their multiple choices of colours, finishes, materials and customization.

As customers customize Celestiq more, the price will rise above the $300,000 starting price.

While that price is out of reach for most car buyers, Cadillac said that much of the technology the company used in developing the Celestiq will appear in more achievable cars, too. Manufacturing techniques, as well as some packaging and technology, are likely to appear in future Cadillacs at affordable prices for those of us who are mere mortals.

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