Cadillac Canada gave a state of the union address to a gathering of Canadian media late last week, which centered on the upcoming Lyriq EV, not surprisingly, but also on the schedule for the launch of the Escalade V performance SUV and the progress of the Ultra Cruise Level 3 autonomous drive system, coming to a Cadillac near you in the near-future.
This is Cadillac’s opening salvo in its long-announced, ambitious drive to become an all-electric brand by 2030. We’ve seen the images and heard the specs, and according to Cadillac close to 2,000 Canadian buyers have already committed to at least making a reservation on the model. The automaker will start taking official orders for the Lyriq as of May 19, and we’ll see then how many of those potential buyers will turn into actual ones.
Cadillac confirmed that we will first see the RWD-configuration Lyriq offered in the market, with the AWD variants coming to market early in 2023. Interested buyers will be able to get a close-up online look at the Lyriq once it shows up in the flesh at the Cadillac Live studio in the next few weeks.
We’ve also seen some images of the future Escalade-V performance variant of the brand’s largest SUV, but technical details are still being kept under wraps. But that will change with the official unveiling of the model on May 11.
Super Cruise… to Ultra Cruise
In addition to the much-touted Ultium EV-dedicated platform that will underpin the Lyriq and all any number of other future EVs across General Motors’ brands, another innovation the luxury automaker has been pushing in recent years is of course the Super Cruise autonomous-drive system. That Level 2 self-driving technology is already in use in several Cadillac models and will migrate to other GM brands as well, but already Cadillac is working on its follow-up, the Ultra Cruise system, which will deliver Level 3 self-driving capability. According to the automaker, that means between 85 and 90 percent of driving can be done without human intervention.
At the same time, Cadillac confirmed that it will start to deliver over the air updates to Super Cruise systems already in use in the coming months. One benefit of that, at least for owners of 2021 Escalades with the feature, is that the system can then be used not just on most divided highways in North America, but many non-divided highways as well.
One other point Cadillac touched on in its presentation is the state of its dealers’ ongoing transition to electric mobility readiness. You may recall that as part of its electric-by-2030 plan, the automaker is requiring that its dealerships invest in making their facilities equipped for electric vehicle sales, charging and service. Dealers can opt out of that plan, but in doing so they will no longer be Cadillac dealers. According to spokespersons for the brand, only four of its Canadian network of dealers chose not to invest in electrification-readiness.