Cadillac's big, boxy Escalade SUV is an icon of American luxury and excess. It's bigger than it has any reason to be, it packs luxurious appointments, and it cares not for efficiency. It weighs in at well over 2 tons, is nearly 18 feet long, and you have to dig through multiple layers of the Cadillac website to find that the base model gets an abysmal 16 MPG overall. It is a monument of lavish overkill.
And for the 2025 model year, it'll also be optionally a lean, green, eco machine — the Cadillac Escalade IQ. It's still large, and it, well, it's a full-electric vehicle so it can also charge. And it will not be cheap.
Let's start with the specs. At 18.7 feet it's actually longer than the gas-powered Escalade. Cadillac hasn't announced the weight, but it'll be even heavier. While the current Escalade weight in at 4300 pounds, the smaller Tesla Model S sedan sits at 4600 pounds. Add in a large battery pack and the Escalade IQ will almost certainly push well past 5000 pounds.
And that battery pack will be large. 200kWh large, in fact, which should be good for a claimed 450 mile range on a full charge. For comparison, the Model S sedan has a 100kWh pack that'll go 405 miles — Cadillac still isn't really prioritizing efficiency here. A huge, hulking SUV would still be a lot of weight to move around and a big block to push through the air at 70mph.
Cadillac did make some nods to aerodynamics here, dubbing the Escalade IQ their "most aerodynamic full-size SUV ever." That's not really saying much, considering that the regular Escalade has the aerodynamics of a brick, but the tapering rear roofline and slatted wheels point to necessary improvements. That 200kWh battery pack could be getting a lot more range if the Escalade IQ was actually designed with aerodynamics as more than an afterthought. That huge slab front end isn't doing them any favors, but it's an Escalade so it has to look like that.
At least the 200kWh pack will be able to charge quickly, with a promise of 100 miles range in just 10 minutes at a DC fast charger — though I wouldn't be surprised if a full charge takes over an hour. The huge battery packs in EVs can charge quickly at the start, but that charge rate starts tapering quickly past 50%.
On the inside this looks to be a huge step forward for the Escalade brand, with Cadillac installing an enormous 38-inch curved OLED screen across the entire dashboard, with another screen on the center console for additional controls. There's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, though. It'll offer GMs Super Cruise driver-assist system for hands-free driving on 400,000 mapped miles of American and Canadian highways, and OnStar.
All of this will not come cheap. The base model of the 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ will start at around $130,000, and can be optioned all the way up to $175,000. Compare that to the current base Escalade and its starting price of $81,000 — turns out that 200kWh worth of lithium ion cells are expensive.
While the Escalade IQ is still just so excessive in so many ways, it's still a big deal. Even with its sad 450Wh/mile efficiency it'll still be more environmentally friendly than any of its heavily polluting gas-powered cousins. Getting those gas guzzlers off the road will do a lot to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Even if the electricity is being provided by a coal power plant it's still better than exploding gasoline to make the truck go.
And yeah, that $130,000 starting price is well out of the reach of most buyers. It's a fancy new Escalade, it was always going to be like that. But it won't always be like that. Eventually the price of the Escalade IQ will come down, and eventually it'll fully replace the gas-powered Escalade in the Cadillac line-up. This is the same game that happens with all new technology — the first versions are expensive and outrageous and as the manufacturing capacity catches up to consumer demand the prices drop.
While EVs aren't new (Tesla's been making the Model S for over a decade), the ramp up of manufacturing capacity has been slow. It's a whole new paradigm, starting with sourcing the raw materials in enormous quantities we've never really had to produce before. It takes time to build up the mines, transportation, processing, and assembly. And it will also take time to build out the charging infrastructure to support all these new electric cars.
But we're getting there, and vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade IQ are an important step along that journey.