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The Lyriq is the first of a line of electric vehicles for GM’s Cadillac. (GM)

Cadillac reveals Lyriq electric vehicle

The Lyriq is the first electric vehicle (EV) in Cadillac’s makeover as GM’s automated-driving and technology showcase.

Cadillac this week revealed its Lyriq crossover, the first of a coming stable of electric vehicles (EVs) from Cadillac and GM’s other brands. And although Cadillac already trails many other luxury-brand rivals in launching an EV, the Lyriq – which Cadillac for now is choosing to call a “show car” – will not be in showrooms until sometime in late 2022.

The midsize, five-passenger crossover is built on GM’s dedicated EV architecture and will be powered by the company’s new Ultium lithium-ion battery system in an approximately 100-kW pack capacity that is claimed to provide up to 300 miles (482 km) of driving range. The Lyriq also will be fitted with the latest version of GM’s Super Cruise (SAE Level 3) assisted-driving capability that adds automatic lane-changing to the hands-off driving experience on approximately 200,000 miles (321,868-km) of high-definition-mapped U.S. roads.

In a release in conjunction with the Lyriq’s unveiling, Cadillac said the crossover will offer DC fast-charging capability at “over 150 kW” and Level 2 charging at up to 19 kW. The Lyriq’s 100-kW battery capacity currently would place it in the top echelon of production EVs, but luxury makers such as Porsche and Tesla already offer respective DC charging at rates of up to 270 kW and 200 kW. At least one DC charging network has 350 kW units in operation in the U.S.

GM engineers have said, however, that both the Ultium batteries and the Lyriq’s platform have been designed for maximum flexibility and future-proofing, so it could be assumed the crossover’s capabilities may expand before it is finalized for production some two years from now. “We developed an architecture specifically for EVs,” said Jamie Brewer, Cadillac Lyriq chief engineer, in a release. “It is not only an exceptional EV, but first and foremost a Cadillac.”

The Ultium battery chemistry of nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum (NCMA) relies on aluminum in the cathode to help reduce the loading of rare-earth materials such as cobalt. GM has said Ultium cuts cobalt content by some 70% compared to current GM batteries. The flat, pouch-shaped Ultium form factor incorporates the battery electronics in the cell modules, which engineers said eliminates nearly 90% of battery pack wiring.

Tech flagship
Although other GM brands such as GMC and Chevrolet also will use the Lyriq’s modular architecture and the Ultium batteries, Cadillac is charged with integrating and expounding many of the automaker’s cutting-edge technologies. In addition to the above, the Lyriq also is fitted with an expansive 33-inch (838-mm) diagonal LED display encompassing the gauges and other supplemental information; a “dual-plane, augmented-reality” head-up display (HUD), “next-level” active noise cancellation and driverless automated parking.

The layout of the Lyriq follows the fast-forming convention for most premium EVs: the “base” layout is rear-wheel-drive, with optional all-wheel-drive that adds a second drive module for the front axle. Cadillac said the Lyriq has near 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, but offered no performance claims beyond the 300-mile maximum driving range.

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