Cadillac says it intends to sell only electric cars by 2030. The Lyriq is getting close to actual deliveries, after more than a year of delays. The Celestiq will be here in a couple of years. They are both new to the Cadillac lineup. This week, the company took the wraps off the first existing model to get a battery electric makeover — the Escalade IQ.
“The importance of Cadillac to our global portfolio can’t be overstated,” GM president Mark Reuss said during the vehicle’s reveal in New York City this week. “You are witnessing the rise of Cadillac.”
In a press release, the company said, “Cadillac today unveiled the first ever all-electric 2025 ESCALADE IQ, a reimagination of the luxury full size SUV experience, brimming with iconic design, the highest level of craftsmanship and the latest automotive technology.
“Offering a Cadillac-estimated 450 miles of range, the ESCALADE IQ elevates the driving experience with a curved pillar-to-pillar 55 inch total diagonal LED display, available Super Cruise® driver assistance technology, vehicle to home bidirectional charging technology with GM Energy’s available Ultium Home products, luxurious appointments with a bold interior and exterior design, no-compromise performance, and zero tailpipe emissions.
“ESCALADE IQ raises the standard just as the original Escalade redefined luxury a quarter century ago,” said John Roth, vice president, Global Cadillac. “This reimagining of an icon marks the next step in Cadillac’s all-electric future. For more than 120 years, Cadillac’s bold innovative spirit has defined American luxury. The ESCALADE IQ embodies this spirit in the most sophisticated form.”
Escalade IQ Style & Comfort
The Escalade IQ is a full 7 passenger SUV with all the bespoke luxury touches one expects in an automobile that will start at $130,000. Robin Krieg, the lead exterior designer at Cadillac told the Robb Report during a preview, “We thought, what if Escalade was really sporty and sleek, with a sports car aesthetic?”
The designers were given the freedom to adapt the car’s exterior proportions and silhouette thanks to the GM Ultium platform it is based on. That’s the same platform that underpins the GMC Hummer EV, as well as the forthcoming Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. “The flexibility of the architecture means we could always do the Escalade we dreamed of doing,” Krieg says. “One of the major goals was to make the rear profile faster and really change up the formula for what people think of in a longer SUV,” she added.
Inside, the interior is defined by a 55-inch curved touchscreen display that has actual analog buttons and knobs integrated into it, along with layers of wood, leather, and deco trim. “What’s beautiful, from my standpoint, is how the interior design emphasizes the width of the vehicle,”says Krieg. “It has almost this mid-century feel, where you’re just letting the materials — and the layering of them — speak for themselves.”
A panoramic glass roof comes standard, and an optional executive second-row seating package adds a “command center” with twin 12.6-inch seat back screens, dual wireless phone charging, massaging seats, and speakers integrated into the headrests. An available 40-speaker AKG Studio Reference sound system provides an immersive, 360 degree sound experience.
Powertrain & Performance
The Escalade IQ is built on the same platform as the Hummer EV and the Silverado EV, which means it gets dual electric motors and a battery pack reported to have 200 kWh of usable capacity. No EPA range numbers are available yet, but the company says it will be capable of going 450 miles on a single charge, which is somewhat more than the stated range of its two stablemates.
Normally, the car has 650 horsepower available, but the driver can unlock more by selecting Velocity Max mode, which brings the available grunt up to 750 horsepower and 785 pound-feet of torque — enough to sling this juggernaut to 60 mph in a tick less than 5 seconds. Its gas-powered cousin fitted with a 682 horsepower turbocharged V-8 engine can do it in 4.3 seconds, but the best guess is the Escalade IQ will tip the scales at close to 10,000 pounds — nearly two tons more than the conventional Escalade.
On the other hand, the traditional Escalade sucks down a gallon of gas to go 11 miles in city driving. Car and Driver estimates the MPGe of the Escalade IQ at 99 — not quite Tesla Model Y territory, but still a dramatic improvement over the combustion engine version. The Escalade IQ will have a towing capacity of 8,000 pounds, just 200 less than its conventional cousin.
Thanks to its 800 volt architecture, the new Caddy can add 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes using the most powerful Level 3 charger available. [ Note: there aren’t a whole lot of those on America’s highways and byways just yet.] With Level 2 charging, it can accept up to 19.2 kW of power, good for about 36 miles of additional driving for every hour it is plugged in.
The Escalade IQ features independent front and rear air suspension with magnetic ride control and 4-wheel steering. It will also be capable of sending power from its battery back to a home or the electrical grid once it receives an over the air update in 2025. Cadillac expects the Escalade IQ will will go into production next summer at GM’s iconic Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan. Car and Driver estimates it will start at around $99,000 but CNBC says the first vehicles will sell for about $130,000 each.
Roots & Ruminations
The Cadillac Escalade is first cousin to the Chevrolet Suburban, which was one of the first station wagons to use a metal rather than a wooden body when it first went into production in 1935. It was first built on a pickup truck frame and continued to be until the SUV craze struck about 25 years ago. Then buyers demanded the room and utility of a truck with the comfort and convenience of a sedan. That’s when the clunky solid rear axle inherited from pickup trucks was replaced with independent suspension pieces, which made the Cadillac Escalade possible.
CNBC points out that the Suburban and Escalade are some of the most profitable vehicles in history, with GM enjoying 30% profit margins on both. The Escalade IQ is supposed to reassure nervous investors that The General can continue to enjoy such eye-popping numbers as it transitions to an all electric lineup by the end of this decade.
We have to admit that we here at CleanTechnica are of two minds when it comes to the Cadillac Escalade IQ. One one hand, it is an electric car that is a direct replacement for a gasoline-powered car. On the other hand, the damn thing weighs five tons! Is this really where the EV revolution is headed? Does an electric car need to have 450 miles of range?
We are also concerned about GM’s intentions. Is it leading the EV revolution or just a “me too” player applauding from the sidelines? At the introduction ceremony, Mark Reuss said GM is keeping Cadillac’s all-electric 2030 target “in mind” but ultimately demand will decide how long the company continues to produce the traditional Escalade models. “The customer and the market is going to tell us. We really honestly haven’t made any decisions when we stop and do EV-only on this. We’ll see. We’re going to do what the customer wants first.”
Escalade IQ sales are expected to begin slowly and ramp up through the end of the decade, as the company phases out combustion engine versions of the SUV. To us, that seems like talking the talk but slow walking the walk. The new EV from Cadillac seems more like wretched excess than a product that a world on fire needs most.
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