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Concept-Cadillac Converj Preview

Concept-Cadillac Converj Preview

By Jeff Youngs, February 24, 2012

Critical Knowledge:
  • Four-passenger, grand touring luxury coupe
  • Front wheels driven by an electric motor and battery pack, assisted by a gas generator
  • Maximum range of 40 miles without using any gas
  • Recharged overnight by plugging into a household electrical outlet
  • All-glass roof features integrated solar panels
  • Rearview and side-view mirrors replaced by cameras and LCD screens
Introduction
General Motors showed the world what a fully electric-propelled vehicle could look like when it introduced the Chevrolet Volt Concept. Promising triple-digit fuel economy, and equipped with aerodynamic yet aggressive styling that helped the car achieve a 640-mile range on a single tank of gas, the Volt exhibited how economy and style could be rolled into one distinct package. Destined for production from the get-go, the Chevrolet Volt that people will actually be able to buy was revealed in the fall of 2008, proving that GM is willing to put its money where its mouth is.

Adapting the philosophy of the Volt to the luxury market, GM introduced the Cadillac Converj Concept at the 2009 North American International Auto Show. The 4-passenger, grand touring luxury coupe utilizes the same efficient propulsion technology (named "Voltec") found in the Chevy Volt while adding unique Cadillac luxury and flair. According to Bob Lutz, GM's vice chairman of global product development, "It clearly shows what a Cadillac electric vehicle could look like, and clearly indicates that global luxury customers can have a car that has both strong design and electric propulsion with a total range of hundreds of anxiety-free miles."

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Design
The Cadillac Converj Concept was designed with style and efficiency in mind. Dipped in dark silver tri-coat paint dubbed "Reaction" by GM designers, the sporty 2-door coupe features high sweeping body lines accentuated by 21-inch front and 22-inch rear wheels that are pushed to the corners to exude performance and are also shaped to maximize airflow, the company says. Furthermore, low-profile side-view cameras take the place of traditional mirrors, not only to enhance the Converj's design, but also to help streamline airflow.

Minimal grille openings are intended to minimize vehicle drag, while an all-glass roof features solar panels that help power the Converj's high-tech accessories. Capping off the front and rear are Cadillac's signature vertical front and rear lamps featuring light pipe technology with LED and high-intensity-discharge lighting elements.

Renewable materials are utilized throughout the Cadillac Converj Concept's interior. From synthetic "Winter White" suede on the seats and upper dash made from post-industrial content, to wool-blend carpeting and a headliner made of silk, the interior was conceived with environmental sustainability in mind. Access to the rear seats is easy with power-folding front seats, while the mood can be set with adjustable white ambient lighting. Luxury is further enhanced with "midnight black" leather and polished aluminum with wood grain accents.


Hardware
Utilizing the Voltec electric propulsion system found in the Chevrolet Volt, the Cadillac Converj Concept features a lithium-ion, T-shaped battery pack with an electric drive motor and a 4-cylinder gas engine generator. The front wheels are driven solely by the electric motor while the 4-cylinder gas engine is dedicated to generating extra energy for the electric motor in case the vehicle travels farther than the 40-mile range provided by the battery pack. When plugged in, the Converj recharges in 3 hours using a 240-volt outlet, or 8 hours when plugged into a 120-volt outlet. Additional energy is captured during braking to assist in recharging the battery pack.

When the battery pack is nearly empty, the Converj seamlessly transitions to range-extended mode. In this mode, the gas-engine generator creates the power necessary to propel the vehicle until the battery can be recharged. Performance is maximized regardless of drive mode, and at any time the Converj can unleash its 273 lb.-ft. of instant torque, delivering quick launches and a top speed of 100 mph, according to GM. The Converj's suspension features GM's Magnetic Ride control, as found in other Cadillac models and Corvettes.


Technology
The technologically advanced center stack in the Cadillac Converj Concept features touch-screen navigation and climate controls, while the reconfigurable instrument cluster utilizes organic LED technology. An LCD display is placed high on the dashboard and provides a panoramic view of what's going on behind the vehicle via rear-mounted cameras in place of the rear- and side-view mirrors. The Converj comes to life via push-button start and is further enhanced by a unique power-on sequence that features blue console graphics. Keeping track of vehicle dynamics is simple with screen displays for vitals including regenerative braking, battery charge level and power output.

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