Electric coupe showcases new Volt technology
11 January 2009

Cadillac has surprised the Detroit show with its Converj concept, an electric luxury coupe.

Designed by Brit Simon Cox, the Cadillac Converj uses the same propulsion system as the Chevy Volt. The so-called Voltec system means that the wheels are always battery powered, offering a 40-mile range which can then be extended with a four-cylinder petrol engine charging the lithium-ion battery.

GM's product czar Bob Lutz said that the Cadillac Converj concept proves that the blueprint laid down by the Volt can be scaled up or down. In the Converj it delivers 273lb ft of torque, 120 kW of power and a 100mph top speed.

Fuel saving is further enhanced by an all-glass roof incorporating solar panels and a design that promises very good aerodynamic efficiency.

"This is proof that Cadillac can produce a smaller product" Simon Cox told Autocar. "It’s more relevant to the needs of owners without losing any presence.

"We wanted an aerodynamic profile and the cab-forward design is a very different look for Cadillac. Fuel-efficient cars don’t have to look boring and undynamic.’

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Cox revealed that the Converj concept was completed in record time. He and his team were only given the brief in July 2008, meaning that it went from sketch to the Detroit show stand in just six months.

The leading British designer wasn’t ruling out production possibilities for the car either. "This is a very real concept in terms of the look and feasabilityof it" he said. "The interior is very believable and that was intentional."

The Chevrolet Volt is due to appear at the end of 2010, but Bob Lutz told reporters at the Detroit show that his intention was to utilise the technologies in other cars, leading to speculation that the Converj, or something closely related to it, could eventually become production reality.

In the metal the Converj is a handsome car that clearly develops the current Caddy look pioneered by GM's advanced design studio in Birmingham.

Chas Hallett

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