General Motors likened the debut of the new Cruise Origin autonomous vehicle to the arrival of major inventions like the compass, the light bulb and the internet. While the Origin may very likely prove to be an important invention, the vehicle’s autonomous capability is really only one part of what makes the vehicle’s arrival noteworthy. As Carscoops reports, the driverless car is also the first vehicle to feature the automaker’s new modular electric vehicle platform, which will underpin a variety of other GM EVs going forward.
Among the vehicles that will ride on the new flexible electric platform will be the upcoming electric Cadillac crossover, which was previewed with a digital design concept shown at the 2019 Detroit auto show. This platform strategy was first outlined in a slide shown to investors, which is embedded below. As we can see in the diagram, the ‘Centroid Entries’ that will arrive on the new EV platform are a ‘Lux 3 SUV,’ which refers to the electric Cadillac crossover, along with a mass-market ‘SUV-Compact.’
The ‘Centroid Entries’ are also described as “lead entry” vehicles in the diagram, which means they are supposed to be the first vehicles on the architecture. It seems GM has now adjusted the launch cadence for the platform, however, with the Origin bowing well before the electric Cadillac crossover or the other compact SUV. The Cruise Origin is the van-shaped ‘SAV’ in the diagram, which stands for Shared Autonomous Vehicle. Other body styles that this platform is capable of underpinning include a larger seven-person SUV, an even smaller crossover, a low-roof coupe and a low-roof sedan.
As we outlined in a previous report, the electric Cadillac crossover may fall under the Cadillac XT5 umbrella. The term “Lux 3 SUV” is used internally within Cadillac to describe luxury D-segment utility vehicles, which is the same vehicle space currently occupied by the XT5. It’s not clear what the ‘SUV-Compact’ could be, though we imagine this vehicle will end up being a Chevrolet or Buick crossover.
GM has previously said this platform will be capable of using different size battery packs with varying energy densities and will also offer DC fast charging. This will make the platform akin to the ‘skateboard’ chassis we’ve seen electric vehicle companies like Rivian debut, which can use not only different-sized battery packs, but also a varying amount of electric motors. Rivian plans to launch both an electric truck and an electric SUV on its modular chassis.
GM announced this week the Cruise Origin will be built at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Metro Detroit. The plant is GM’s first dedicated EV manufacturing facility and is expected to build the electric Cadillac crossover, the electric Cadillac Escalade and GM’s new electric pickup truck – which might revive the Hummer name. The truck will be the first product to roll off the line at Detroit-Hamtramck, with the vehicle expected to go on sale in 2022 following a debut in late 2021.