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Cadillac takes on Tesla, debuts all-electric Lyriq

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Cadillac revealed its first all-electric car, the Lyriq. The electric SUV will have an estimated range of 300 miles and will be Cadillac’s attempt to break into the EV market. Cadillac CMO Melissa Grady joined Yahoo Finance’s Pras Subramanian to break down the specs of the car.

Video Transcript

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Cadillac's electric future taking a step forward with the debut of the Lyriq, the automaker's first all-electric car. Joining me now to discuss is Cadillac CMO Melissa Grady. So Melissa, I see the car behind you. It looks great. It's an all-new platform for the brand. What are some of the highlights?

MELISSA GRADY: The car is absolutely beautiful. And I think that's going to be the first thing that you notice with this car, is this styling. This car has [INAUDIBLE] better than really any car ever at GM. And when-- I know when I look at this car, I have never wanted a car so much. So I think the styling is really the first thing that you notice with this car.

Once you get inside the vehicle, though, it's its amazing technology. There's a 33-inch LED screen. It's beautiful. There's some little hidden [INAUDIBLE] that are very fun. It's absolutely amazing. And then when you get to the technology, you know, you've got things like Super Cruise, which is our hands-free driving. And there is a double-plane AR HUD so that you don't have to take your eyes off the road as much. And really, the way that the vehicles, the turn signals, all of the information comes to you there, is-- it's pretty groundbreaking, the way it looks.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: So how do you think you guys can stick out amongst the pack of the Audi e-trons, the Jaguar I-PACEs, and even the Tesla Model X?

MELISSA GRADY: Yeah, you know, I think, again, this car, when you look at the styling, it's really great. We're going to have the range, so we'll have 300-mile range with this vehicle. And it's really going to have the technology. And our technology is really anticipatory. It's very human-centric. So I think that it's really going to appeal to a lot of people.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: You know, you mentioned the range, where 300 is sort of like a magic number in the car world, right? So tell me about Cadillac's Ultium battery technology. So this is going to compete against, you know, what some are saying for Tesla, it being-- they see that as the best software and battery tech stack going on. How does Cadillac compete with that?

MELISSA GRADY: Yeah, the Ultium battery technology is pretty amazing. And as I've learned how we've put this together, I've absolutely-- my mind has been blown at the way we did this. So whereas typical batteries are cylinders, we have flat battery packs that can be stacked in a multitude of ways. And that stacking allows us to both create space where we need to. It also allows us to have different configurations, so you can add onto that to have just different power configurations with the vehicle. So it makes a lot of sense.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: So you know, you mentioned range and you mentioned battery technology. You know, for-- as an example, like, how fast could you do-- using a quick charger system, how fast could you charge the battery, and what kind of range could you get, you know, within an hour or so?

MELISSA GRADY: Yeah, so with DC fast charging, you can get up to 100 miles in 10 minutes. There are, you know, level one, level two charging that we have. But you know, most people do charging at home. And you would think of it different than how quickly you do it. It becomes more like when you plug your phone in at night. So how do you easily come in, plug your car in. It takes two seconds, you don't think about it anymore, and then in the morning, you come out and you're fully charged.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: You know, you talk about the car as if it's like almost like another device that we would have, right, with charging, things like that. You know, let's take a step back, talk about the customer, right? So trad-- like, you know, I imagine this car is going to go after a younger demographic, a newer type of Cadillac customer. So that's a big move for the brand. But are your traditional customers, are they clamoring, too, for an all-electric offering?

MELISSA GRADY: Absolutely. I mean, I think when you look at it-- and we've done a ton of research on this, and when you look at the research, there are a lot of Cadillac customers today that are ready for EV today. And EV readiness tends to not be an A/B, on/off type thing. It's a spectrum. So as we look at conquest customers, we also have the same thing, where there's a lot of people who are ready for EV now, and they're just looking for a beautiful product like the Lyriq.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: So with the Lyriq coming online I think 2022 or 2023, right?


PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Is that right?


PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: 2022. So you know, in the future, [INAUDIBLE] the not too distant future, do you think we'll see Cadillac as a fully all-electric brand?

MELISSA GRADY: Yeah. When we look at GM's vision, it's for zero, zero, zero, zero emissions being one of those. Cadillac is the lead brand at GM to-- into an all-electric future. So yes, as we look on the horizon, and obviously following consumer adoption of this, but yes, we will be an all-electric brand.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: All right, well that's a good future to look forward to for Cadillac. CMO Melissa Grady, thanks again for joining us.

MELISSA GRADY: Thanks so much.