Cadillac shows off a single-seater VTOL drone concept

It's an escalade, but in the air.

At GM’s CES keynote, the company showed off a number of Cadillac vehicles, both real and imagined, to explain its vision for the future of transport. On the fantastic side, the company presented two concept vehicles that it says will exemplify its “halo portfolio.” First up is a single-seater drone, a VTOL craft with a 90kW battery, that can travel from rooftop-to-rooftop at up to 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour.


Second is the “Personal Autonomous Vehicle,” a self-driving box on wheels. GM says the craft behaves more like a “mobile living room” with an environment that can be fine-tuned to suit your needs. The idea being that you can sit back and relax inside the bench seating of this place while you’re ferried about the city.

Closer to reality, GM teased more details about its Celestiq uber-luxury EV, which has been floating around the pipes for several years at this point. The vehicle will be packed to the gills with technology, including a “four quadrant” smart glass roof that can be customized to suit the needs of the person under each seat. If the driver wants an opaque tint, but the person riding shotgun can look up through clear glass. In addition, the vehicle will have a “pillar to pillar” display that runs the width of the car, and customizable environment controls.

Cadillac also had some more details about its forthcoming (and very much real) Lyriq SUV, which was unveiled properly last summer. The cabin is now said to use Unreal Engine both for its in-car graphics, but also for its augmented reality heads-up display. And, the company confirmed that the Lyriq will also be packing Super Cruise driver assistance as standard.

Lyriq is also the first GM vehicle to use its “Ultium” battery system, which scales between battery sizes of 50-200kW, will also be used inside the Hummer EV, as well as the first GM electric pickup. GM says that its battery makeup uses 70 percent less cobalt, making them cheaper and better for the environment overall. The Lyriq itself will have a 100kW battery and a quoted range of around 300 miles, as well as its mammoth 33-inch Hyperscreen display.

Not everyone inside GM’s network of dealers is as thrilled about the advent of Cadillac’s journey toward electrification. In December 2020, a report claimed that 150 GM dealerships would stop selling Cadillac vehicles and accept a buyout rather than build out the necessary gear to service EVs. Partially, this is because dealership owners aren’t sure if EVs are the future, or that it would justify the costly upgrade to their facilities. Others may be leery about their future revenues given how little maintenance EVs require compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. And, naturally, some of it may be just an ill-informed rejection of the need to reduce carbon emissions or face a climate catastrophe.