It’s safe to say that in 2023, electric power is the new face of luxury. From the Rivian R1T to the Mercedes-Benz EQS, luxury manufacturers are in an all-out race to bring quiet torque to the driveways of the wealthy. In a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone, Cadillac has announced that it’s working on an electric Escalade called the Escalade IQ, an EV coming this year that’s very much for the here and now.
Cadillac grilles without Cadillac mills isn’t anything new. After all, the brand’s lineup already contains two electric vehicles. In addition, GM already has precedent building super-sized luxury EVs with the Hummer EV SUV, a 4.5-ton monster with a battery that weighs more than a new Honda Civic Si. It was only a matter of time before an electric Escalade existed, built to print money and ferry around the rich and famous. Plus, a giant Cadillac SUV with an equally-giant battery pack would almost feel like the return of the Cadillac 500 V8, an 8.2-liter behemoth as sublime as it was ridiculous.
That’s all well and good, but we need to talk about the badge. Cadillac plans on calling this vehicle the Escalade IQ, but all signs point to the added letters not being pronounced like the mental test. Instead, it takes after Cadillac’s existing EVs, the Lyriq (pictured above) and Celestiq, so it seems to be the same noise you’d make if you found half a worm in your apple. “Ick” or “eek,” take your pick. However, it’s not just amusing for its sound – the last time an EV was offered in America with a standalone “iQ” badge, it was about as far from an Escalade as you could possibly get.
Remember the Scion iQ? No, just me? No worries, most people don’t. The Scion iQ was a rebadged Toyota iQ city car sold in America to compete with the Smart Fortwo. Its big selling point over the plastic-paneled wonder from France was a 3+1 seating arrangement good enough for three humans and a dog. Of course, with the rear seats up, there wasn’t space in the cargo area for much more than a single tortilla, but that’s what you’d expect with a vehicle this small.
The gas-powered iQ was already efficient on both fuel and space, but as was the style of the times, Toyota used one of its quirkiest vehicles to dip its toes into the EV pool. It’s the same sort of thinking that brought us the Mitsubishi i-MIEV. As such, the iQ EV was born, and even though most Americans have never seen one in the metal, it made it to the land of the star-spangled banner as a Scion.
Under the floor of the iQ EV sat a 12 kWh battery pack, good for an EPA-rated range of 38 miles. Yeah, electric cars have come a long way over the past decade. However, because the iQ EV was tiny, it didn’t need much power to get going. A small 47 kW electric motor cranked out 120 lb.-ft. of torque and got the iQ EV from zero-to-60 in 13.4 seconds. Top speed worked out to 78 mph, not quick but certainly highway-capable.
Weighing just 125 kg more than a gasoline-powered model, the iQ EV was an exercise in a minimum-viable American-market EV. It was just 10 feet, 2.8 inches long, traveled just as far as one might need for errands, sat just as many people as was practical, and was aimed at a use case without individual ownership. That’s right, every iQ EV that made it to America was a car-sharing vehicle.
Although the iQ EV was made for people who didn’t own cars, it was actually an exceptionally exclusive vehicle. Scion only made 90 of them, all for car-sharing in places like Pleasanton, Calif. and the University of California, Irvine. Since their decommissioning from fleet service, these tiny oddities do pop up for sale every now and then. Mind you, limited range doesn’t make for an excellent fly-and-drive candidate, so budget in shipping if you want to add one to your fleet.
While it would be really cool if the Cadillac Escalade IQ was an American analogue to the Aston Martin Cygnet, it’s shaping up to embody the shift in electric vehicles over the past 11 years. Efficient city pods are out, expensive status symbols are in. While other markets feature a litany of low-end EVs, they’re a dying breed in America. The Chevrolet Bolt’s death certificate is all but signed, and only Nissan knows what form the next Nissan Leaf will take. While room for small EVs in America will likely appear once again in the distant future, the Escalade IQ paints a vivid picture of where we’re headed next.
(Photo credits: Cadillac, Scion, GMC)
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I’m not sure who outside a few influencers are at the center of the Venn diagram between “Escalade buyer” and “EV buyer”. At least for the first model year, and until the black-car services start buying them.
I always thought the IQ was such a lame name but why stop at IQ? Both Tesla and Nikola took their names from a (troubled) genius, why not call it Cadillac Einstein or the Hawking, where you could even throw in a Q for the hell of it: The Cadillac Hawqing.
Given the elaborate computers necessary in today’s EV’s, I propose the
Jack Rickard of EVTV out in Cape Girardeau, MO, converted a Cadillac Escalade to electric back in 2010. He only got around an 80-100 mile range, and it weighed about 7,600 lbs lugging around a ton in batteries. It was monstrous, with close to 1,000 lb-ft of torque available at 0 rpm.
I’m looking forward to the IQ 2. You might as well have some goals.
I mean at least they didn’t call it the Escaladiq
The IQ referenced is at room temperature level.
What’s the conversion to pH?
I’ll say it: The original iQ was highly underrated. It does things 90% as well as a smart car but with 4 seats, FWD, and Toyota reliability. It’s a shame they never brought the manual transmission ones to the US.
It was a real missed opportunity not to make the third generation Yaris a stretched 5-door iQ.
Why give it 5 doors? Would it have 2 rows with seating for 6?
I’ve seen a Hummer EV out in the wild. It was behind me in traffic. All I could think was that it weighs 3x more than my car and anyone with a license can drive one. That is unacceptable to me.
That is so absurd! I could drive a vehicle up to 26,000 pounds on the same license as something as light as a Smart. I mean it’s under 26,000 so the driving dynamics and stopping distances are pretty much the same thing right?
Since it’s a slow day at work I decided to look up Uhaul weights and the Hummer weighs more than an empty 20′ truck! I’ve driven a 20′ Uhaul empty and almost full and it was exhausting in both forms. Sure the Hummer will ride nicer but it is still a behemoth. I hope I never see another one on the road but sadly I know that this is only just the beginning and my visibility of the road ahead will decrease by the day.
I’ve seen exactly three HEVs in the wild–all three were together, on a flatbed semi trailer being schlepped cross-country on I-80. I suspect that they wouldn’t even fit onto a typical car transporter, and if loaded normally they’d be a considerably overweight load.
Please, no more -iq names, Cadillac. iQ as a standalone badge marker is fine. “Escalade iQ” is cute and makes sense. I would be down for an “Eldorado iQ” or a “de Ville iQ” as well.
The others like “Celestiq” and such? Ick.
A Cimmeroniq might be cool though.
It’d be ci-moronic.
Sooo the Escaladeiq? That’s just idiotiq.
The Escalade Low IQ and every other 10,000 pound luxury EV are all stupid as hell. They’re a danger to everyone around you. They’re a danger to infrastructure. They’re monuments to greed, excess, and virtue signaling. I hate them, and seeing as the 1% have some of the most egregious carbon footprints out of all of us I don’t think them switching from their Range Rovers to some stupid electric monstrosity is going to make too much of a difference.
Couldn’t agree more. Having to worry about the growing prevalence of vehicles of this girth, especially those barreling down interstate highways going 20+ mph above the speed limit or trying to intimidate other vehicles by their sheer size and weight, is quickly taking away any joy I had for driving.
This is one of the reasons why I like my Kona N so much more than the GTI I had before it. The little bit of extra height makes a world of difference when I leave the DC area and have to contend with every other car being some 5,000+ pound behemoth. I no longer have ridiculous LED light strips blinding me in my rear view mirror and can actually find ways to see around the monstrosities.
…but why do we have to live in a place like this? Normal people shouldn’t have to make sacrifices so Tiny PP McConsumer can live out his fantasies of driving an M1 Abrams or make a stupid idiot point by making his wealth so conspicuous that it literally inconveniences other people.
Rich people used to flaunt their wealth with mink and leopard coats too. Not so much anymore. Start chucking cans of red paint across the grill and hoods of those monsters and they’ll go away too.
Admittedly I am a cynic by nature, but I find it very amusing that the declared advantages of EV are saving money by saving on gasoline costs, and saving the environment because they use less resources.
However, almost the EV are all aimed at luxury car buyers who don’t save enough money on the gas not used to pay their maid’s annual salary, and I can’t help but think that the best-case scenario for saving the planet would not involve driving 5,000 pound SUVs packed with a ton of lithium batteries we have no idea how to dispose of.
But then, what do I know about people’s necessity to display status and virtue?
So disappointed they missed the chance to go Esqualade
It’s a CadilliQ.