- GM unveiled the Cadillac Lyriq crossover Thursday night as the "next chapter" of the American luxury brand and a "technology spearhead" for the automaker.
- The Lyriq is the first to debut with the automaker's next-generation batteries and EV architecture.
- The midsize crossover is expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms in late 2022.
General Motors unveiled the Cadillac Lyriq crossover Thursday night as the "next chapter" for the American luxury brand and a "technology spearhead" for the automaker.
The Lyriq is the first to debut with the automaker's next-generation batteries and EV architecture. GM executives believe the technologies will rival, if not outperform, anything else on the market today, including Tesla, the global leader in electric vehicle sales.
"It marks a turning point for the brand, a pivot point for the brand, an opportunity to regain momentum and position the Cadillac brand for its next chapter," Cadillac President Steve Carlisle told reporters during a media briefing. "Lyriq really is the cornerstone upon which we are going to build the future."
GM plans to have a majority, if not all, of its Cadillac cars and SUVs sold globally to be all-electric vehicles by 2030. The brand is expected to lead GM in its global EV plans.
The Lyriq, a midsize crossover, includes a massive diagonal 33-inch curved LED screen on the interior, advanced lighting technology on the exterior and GM's Super Cruise driver-assist system. It is heavily based off a rendering the automaker showed last year when it announced Cadillac would lead its all-electric vehicle efforts.
"It further positions Cadillac as a technology spearhead for General Motors," Carlisle said.
The Lyriq is expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms in late 2022. The vehicle will first launch in China, the world's largest electric vehicle market, shortly before the U.S. release, Carlisle said.
The range of the vehicle is estimated to be more than 300 miles on a single charge, according to GM. That's lower than the 400 miles or more the company has said its next-generation electric vehicles could be capable of, but it's within what GM has called the "sweet spot" for customers.
Tesla's Model Y crossover is capable of up to 316 miles on a single charge, according to an EPA estimate on Tesla's website. The company's longest-range vehicle is a version of the Tesla Model S sedan at more than 400 miles.
"Our goal is to lead. No excuses, no apologies," Carlisle previously told CNBC.
The Lyriq will be offered in both rear-wheel-drive and performance all-wheel-drive systems. The performance model will not offer a front truck, also known as a "frunk," that many new all-electric vehicles have thanks to there being no engine.
GM declined to release charging time, pricing and other specifications for Lyriq but said it will be competitive with other all-electric luxury crossovers.
The vehicle, according to the company, will be produced at plants in both China and North America, according to GM.
The most noticeable thing on the exterior of the Lyriq is the front of the vehicle, which includes an illuminated Cadillac crest and dozens of light bars that form a black "grille" around the logo. It also features vertical lighting similar to headlamps and long rear brake lights of current Cadillac vehicles.
The headlights and other lights on the vehicle will "recognize" when a driver is approaching, initiating a choreographed lighting sequence while also preparing cabin features such as the driver's seat, mirrors and climate systems.
"Basically, this is all about the car recognizing the owner," said Andrew Smith, Cadillac executive director of global design, color and trim. "As you walk up, you'll see the car will come to life and recognize you."
On the interior, the vehicle's 33-inch driver information center and infotainment screen extends across nearly the entire instrument panel of the cabin. GM says the display has the highest pixel density available in the automotive industry and can display over 1 billion colors.
"It really is an amazing piece of engineering and, frankly, industrial design," Smith said. "We wanted to make it feel like a piece of jewelry, so it does kind of float."
The vehicle also features a new "dual-plane augmented reality-enhanced head-up display" that projects driver information and navigation onto the windshield in front of the driver. The vehicle will also have remote self-parking.
GM unveiled the Lyriq as a "show car" with the caveat that a vast majority of the vehicle's features will make it to dealer lots. Show cars are typically production-intent vehicles compared to concept cars, which are meant to portray a "vision" for the company.
GM has said its next generation of all-electric vehicles will be capable of fast-charging, at least 300 miles to 400 miles on a single charge and, unlike today, will be profitable from the beginning of production on a per-unit basis.
The Detroit automaker, despite the coronavirus pandemic, has not wavered from a plan to invest $20 billion in all-electric and autonomous vehicles from 2020 through 2025.
GM's next-generation EV architecture is a modular "skateboard," or flat, design. The company has said it can be used for a variety of different vehicles – from sports cars to pickups – thanks to its design and packaging of proprietary flat pouch battery cells.
The first vehicle to arrive on dealership lots with GM's next-generation "Ultium" battery system is expected to be the GMC Hummer EV pickup late next year.