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 Post subject: Another analysis of ELR vs Model S vs LS460
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:18 am 
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Currently, due to aggressive incentives from Cadillac, one can lease a base ELR for $700-$750/mo (with $4,500 down) depending on state sales taxes and fees. That's a lot less than the ~$1,000/mo one would have to pay to lease a Lexus LS460 for the same MSRP, mileage, and down payment. But if we take leases out of the equation, the value comparison between the Model S, LS460, and ELR changes.

Let's look at some similar (but not perfectly exact) configurations of my favorite three cars: [1] a $79,685 ELR with Luxury Package and Adaptive Cruise; [2] an $88,570* 60kWh Model S with Tech Package, Parking Sensors, Fog Lamps, Ultra High Fidelity Sound System, Extended Nappa Leather Trim, Alcantara Headliner, Premium Interior Lighting, Subzero Weather Package, 19-inch Michelin Primacy Tires, and Supercharger Enabled add-on; and [3] a $75,130 RWD Lexus LS460 with Pre-Collision System, all-speed Dynamic Radar, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and 19-inch 15-spoke Alloy Wheels:

[-A] ELR is 0-60 in 8.8 (or 7.8) seconds; 60kWh Model S is 0-60 in 5.9 seconds; and the LS460 is 0-60 in 5.4 seconds. While the ELR and LS460 have no option to go faster at any price, the Model S can achieve 0-60 in 4.2 seconds (P85 version) for $18,820 more than the 60kWh one built above.

[-B] Seating: ELR can seat 2 adults + 2 adults/kids under 5'6"; the Model S can seat 5 adults; and the LS460 can seat 5 adults. The ELR and LS460 can't add seating at any price, but the Model S can add additional seating for 2 medium children for $2,500 and loss of all rear storage space.

[-C] The ELR and Model S can't add all-wheel drive at any price, but the LS460 can add it for $2,945.

[-D] The LS460 has cooled front seats standard, which the ELR and Model S can't get at any price.

[-E] Of the three vehicles as-built, the ELR's sound system is the best. However, on the LS460, you can replace the base 10-speaker sound system for $1,580 with a premium 19-speaker Mark Levinson system that's one of the most impressive available. The "Ultra High Fidelity Sound System" in the Model S is very nice, but not quite as good as the ELR's (and definitely not better than the LS460's Mark Levinson system).

[-F] The ELR and LS460 both have Adaptive Cruise Control, Frontal Collision Warning, Cross-Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Departure Warning, a key fob tied to the driver's seat & mirror memory positions, and other such luxury features that the Model S doesn't have available at any price.

[-G] Naturally, some big differences abound amongst these cars as configured above: ELR is a plug-in hybrid (EREV), Model S is pure electric, and LS460 is all gas (unless you want to pay $120k for the hybrid version); ELR has regen-on-demand paddles, neither the Model S nor LS460 have them; ELR has the C.U.E. system, Model S has a 17-inch interactive display, and LS460 has a 12.3-inch infotainment screen; the ELR has an extremely distinctive concept car look, while the Model S and LS460 are more standard and can easily be confused with other vehicles; the ELR is front-wheel drive while the Model S and LS460 are both RWD; etc.

So is the $79,685 ELR, $88,570 Model S, or $75,130 Lexus is the better value? A customer's answer depends on what he wants: Ultimate luxury? LS460. Reasonable comfort plus all-electric drive and potentially limited range? Model S. Very nice luxury plus electric drive plus no range limit w/gas plus gorgeous exterior styling? ELR. I can see a potential customer choosing any of these three for very good, thoughtful reasons.

Regarding the efficacy of the ELR, I believe GM misjudged the marketplace with its trade-offs on the ELR. I suspect that the suits at Cadillac thought more potential customers would be bent out of shape if the ELR delivered less electric range than the Volt, especially with the extra weight of the car. So by keeping the acceleration the same as the Volt and increasing the usable battery from 11.3kWh to 12.5kWh, the ELR was able to achieve that similar range. But I believe GM should have gone the other direction.

If an 85kWh Model S can go ~265 miles per full charge, and an ELR uses 12.5kWh of battery to go ~37 miles, then every kW on the Model S delivers ~3.12 miles, whereas every kW on the ELR delivers ~2.96 miles. (Comparatively, the Volt delivers ~3.30 miles per kWh.) Therefore, the ELR is already the least-efficient of the bunch by a fraction.

So if, instead, Cadillac had released the ELR with 0-60 acceleration of 6.5 seconds with an EV range of ~30 miles, don't you think the discussion and reaction to the ELR would have been a lot different? Sure, 6.5 still isn't a barn-burner, but 30 EV miles is still very reasonable, and 6.5 would smoke the Volt and a large majority of other vehicles on the road (including the fast Rav4 EV). The Fisker Karma and Tesla Model S would still be faster, but not by much.

Unfortunately, GM went the other way and preserved the 35-38 mile range of the 2012-14 Volts, so instead of getting customers to focus on the comfort, quiet, technology, and luxury of the ELR, everyone just focuses on the comparatively mediocre acceleration, which then reinforces many people's preconceived notions that the ELR is just a "pretty Volt," which invites comparisons with interior space ELR vs. Volt, number of doors ELR vs. Volt, and storage space ELR vs. Volt. Cadillac also blew it by not making sure the ELR included every feature found on its less-expensive cars (like Head-Up Display and Cooled Front Seats).

Therefore, because of GM's decisions (and non-existant pre-release marketing and terrible post-release advertising), people don't see the value in the ELR, to the point that many who might have been curious don't even bother to take a test drive. The ELR gave me what I wanted, and had the leases not been available, I probably still would have bought one...but I would have waited until just before my Volt lease was up in case poor sales forced GM to lower the ELR's price. But even if that didn't happen, I still would have bought it at full price (begrudgingly at first, then gleefully).

* These additions required to keep the installed options as similar as possible between the three cars, even though that's not entirely possible due to [G] above


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 Post subject: Re: Another analysis of ELR vs Model S vs LS460
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:23 pm
Posts: 28
Blastphemy, great information.

In fact, so useful, that I was once set on trying to convince my wife the ELR was the vehicle we needed, that now I'm not so sure :D

We'll have to go back to the drawing board and evaluate our options and reasons.. thanks a bunch :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Another analysis of ELR vs Model S vs LS460
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:51 pm
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Blastphemy, great post. I just leased my ELR, which coincided perfectly with the end of my Volt lease. For me, the choice was relatively easy. When people ask me why I did not opt for the Tesla Model S, the simple reason is that I did not want another large car. The ELR is perfect for me- I love 2+2 coupes, and the Converj/ELR was my dream car ever since I saw the Converj reveal in 2009.

I agree with you that I wish it had better acceleration, but when I researched the issue, my understanding is that it was more a limitation of the architecture than a conscious design choice. In other words, I don't think GM could have designed it with Tesla-level acceleration without some serious re-engineering. That said, I am really thrilled with the ELR, and the acceleration, while not pulse-pounding is still fun. The entire driver experience is fantastic. I had thought the Volt had spoiled me for other cars- everything else felt so 20th Century :) But the ELR is unbelievable. Its like something out of a science fiction movie.

I also don't understand the reviewers who complain about the 1.4l ICE. Maybe it's because I am coming from a Volt where I had gotten use to it, but it is a lot quieter than my Volt. Unlike the Volt, I don't always notice when it turns on (it's been very cold in NY, and the ICE threshold looks like it was raised to about 35 degrees F). It just shows the small ICE icon periodically, and says "full power" rather than battery power.

For those that want an unbelievably luxurious personal plug-in coupe, there is no other option. Btw, I am 6'3", and my head does not rub against the headliner.


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