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Cadillac ELR Review (Exclusive)

As I just noted, I was lucky enough to test drive several high-end, high-performance cars while in Florida last week. I expected the ELR to be the luxury queen of the bunch. It turned out that the power and acceleration of this stealth beast shocked me so much that I forgot to even take note of the interior luxury. In fact, I even forgot to take a close look at the back seats after the drive.

Cadillac ELR 5

→ Related: i8 vs Model S vs ELR vs Panamera S E-Hybrid (vs i3)

This is really hard to explain in words, but the Cadillac ELR is superbly powerful and smooth. Surprisingly, I think it may have even beat the Tesla Model S 70D in off-the-line acceleration quality… or maybe I just had low expectations and the surprise was so shocking that my comparison is warped. Of course, it doesn’t beat a P85D (or P90D), but that’s the only car I’ve driven that I think has nicer acceleration (powerful + smooth).

The handling is also excellent, as I observed while pulling a fairly sharp and quick left turn across the highway in Britta Gross’s ELR. I couldn’t tell if she was nervous or eager to see me enjoy the wonderful car, but I was taking the opportunity to test it and just got more impressed with the quick curve.

Cadillac ELR 1 copy


When it comes to visual aesthetics, I’ve never been really keen on the ELR, but could see the appeal for certain people. In person, however, I thought it looked really good. It had a sportier and less conspicuous look, to my eyes, and I liked that. As with all cars, I think you really have to see it in person to judge it.

Naturally, it’s hard to justify an ELR when you could get a Tesla Model S that offers much more electric range, remarkable safety, access to free Supercharging, a cool touchscreen, a tremendous amount of space, and constantly improving software, but the ELR genuinely shocked me, and that’s hard to do after driving the P85D. There are benefits to the BMW i8 and Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid that I could theoretically see pulling me to drop my cash on them rather than the ELR, but at the end of the day, I’m quite sure I’d be more inclined to acquire the wonderful pure electric acceleration of the ELR — nothing with gas infused in the process compares (and that’s speaking purely from a performance aspect… not even considering the environmental, climate, and health benefits).

Cadillac ELR 4 copy

The places where the ELR excels compared to the BMW i8, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, and Tesla Model S 70D (for me, at least) are:

  • quick and powerful acceleration
  • price

The place where it loses points to most others in this comparison:

  • space


  • Official 0–60 mph acceleration = 7.8 seconds
  • Base MSRP = $65,000
  • Electric miles = 37 (and these are real electric miles)
Written By

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply had a lot of faith in these companies and felt like they were good companies to invest in as a portion of his retirement strategy. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.


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