How about this for a shock? General Motors had a big surprise up its sleeve at the Detroit Motor Show – an all-new luxury coupe! Called the Cadillac Converj, it's an electric concept that uses a development of the drivetrain found in the Chevrolet Volt.
Clad in a gorgeous coupe body that takes the design language of the Cadillac CTS Coupe forward, the Converj was the star of the GM stand, scoring a huge hit with the assembled crowd. Underneath the striking shape lies a development of the firm's Voltec system, which features an electric motor that is assisted by a small petrol engine.
GM vice chairman for global product development, Bob Lutz, wouldn't elaborate on just how powerful the electric motor/petrol engine combination was, but said that the Converj can run solely on electricity for 40miles – just like the Volt. It can then travel an additional 200 miles thanks to the petrol engine.
"It doesn't sound like a Cadillac, it doesn't sound like anything," he said, "but it certainly looks like a Cadillac and it's the next evolutionary step in GM's green car strategy. It proves electricity can be used for compact cars [the Volt] and luxury cars too [the Converj]."
There's no set date when the Converj will go on sale but with the Volt arriving at the end of 2010, it looks like it'll be a few years away yet. The Converj was the last of 16 GM cars to arrive in the GM hall – which included the new Volt, the Vauxhall Insignia, the Chevrolet Beat concept and the Cadillac SRX – and each got a huge cheer from the assembled GM employees.
In his speech, GM boss Rick Wagoner said that the company had to "fight misperceptions" about its cars. "Today marks the new begininning of GM", he said. "Development of alternative propulsion vehicles will be rapid and the products seen here today [the Volt, the Converj and a host of other hybrids] are a taste of things to come."