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Cadillac Likely Won’t Be All-Electric by 2030

by | May 1, 2024

Cadillac has backed away from its plan to offer “an all-electric portfolio by 2030,” the luxury brand’s global boss acknowledged Wednesday. While that could yet happen, said General Motors Vice President John Roth, Caddy is likely to continue offering vehicles using internal combustion engines well into the next decade.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq - side with cloud

Cadillac’s Lyriq rollout went more slowly than originally planned. But the pace picked up rapidly during the last few months.

With the pace of sales growth slowing, Cadillac is the latest automotive brand to rethink its electrification strategy, company officials confirmed Wednesday.

In April 2021, former Caddy boss Rory Harvey told a media gathering that “We will be leaving this decade as an EV brand…which means we will not be selling ICE vehicles by 2030.” That position has been echoed on several occasions since then.

But during a media backgrounder on the brand’s next all-electric model, the 2025 Cadillac Optiq, Harvey’s successor acknowledged a significant shift in direction. According to Cadillac global boss John Roth, Cadillac will have “a portfolio” of all-electric vehicles, but that doesn’t mean everything in its line-up will be an EV.

Peaceful co-existence

“EVs and ICE (internal combustion engines) will co-exist for a number of years,” Roth told reporters. “We want to make sure (Cadillac customers) have that luxury of choice.”

The shift in direction appeared to be signaled when Cadillac recently announced plans to refresh its existing line-up of gas powertrains.

2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ Sport front 3-4 REL

Cadillac will offer an all-electric version of its flagship SUV, the Escalade IQ.

And it follows comments made by GM CEO Mary Barra last November backing away from her mantra that the automaker is “on a path to an all-electric future.” While that’s the parent company’s long-term goal, Barra said, it will add some plug-in hybrids to its line-up in the short-term, reflecting the reluctance by many American motorists to switch to EVs.

No straight lines

Between 2019 and 2023, EV sales surged more than eightfold in the U.S., from barely 1% to 8% of new vehicle sales. But the growth curve has allowed significantly in recent months and EV demand is expected to grow no more than 25% in 2024, according to forecasts by J.D. Power and other researchers – though that would still reach about 1.5 million vehicles, or one out of 10 sold in the U.S.

Industry analysts point to a variety of factors that have slowed the EV transition from niche to mainstream, including limited range, high costs and the lack of a robust public charging network.

“One thing I learned in 35 years in this industry is that it doesn’t follow a straight line,” said Cadillac’s Roth. “There are no absolutes,” he added, stressing that Cadillac is simply trying to respond to shifting customer demand.

More EV News

More EVs to come

Cadillac Unveils CELESTIQ

The Cadillac Celestiq will be a hand-built, $300,000 electric grand tourer.

Cadillac is just one of many automakers rethinking their EV programs. Cross-town rival Ford, for one, is delaying $11 billion in new investments and will delay, possibly cancel some all-electric models, including a high-end SUV set to be offered through the Lincoln brand. Volkswagen, Toyota and other manufacturers have confirmed their strategies are in flux.

While Cadillac is likely to continue offering gas-powered models beyond 2030, Rother stressed that the automaker is not cutting out any of its EV programs, however.

It has confirmed a step-ladder line-up, starting with the entry-level Optiq. It already produces the next step-up, the midsize Lyriq SUV, and plans to follow with the three-row Vistiq. Later this year, an all-electric version of its flagship utility vehicle, dubbed the Escalade IQ, will join the line-up, as will a new, largely hand-built grand tourer, the $300,000 Celestiq.

The automaker also dropped a teaser last month for a high-performance battery-electric model it dubbed “Opulent Velocity.”

Strong demand for luxury EVs

Audi A6 e-tron driving

The Cadillac Lyriq has been outselling luxury rivals such as the Audi A6 e-tron.

If anything, Cadillac’s initial EV, the Lyriq, appears to be connecting with buyers, Roth told Headlight.News. The electric SUV got off to an extremely slow start but that was largely due to issues with GM’s new Ultium battery technology. With production snags largely out of the way, demand has grown to around 2,000 of the midsize SUVs a month, more than for competing products from brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Only the Tesla Model Y does better, Roth noted.

Overall, EV demand is running stronger in the luxury market than in more mainstream segments. According to Roth, around 60% of high-line buyers say they would consider owning an EV. While battery vehicles accounted for 8% of the overall American market in 2023, it reached 12.5% for Cadillac. And that jumped to 17% during the first quarter of this year. Lyriq is now the Detroit brand’s second best-selling SUV.

“We haven’t wavered from our EV plans,” Michael Albano, Cadillac’s lead spokesman, told Headlight.News on Wednesday. But the brand is trying to reflect an uncertain market for all-electric models, he said. As a result, “The transition period may take longer than expected.”


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