Recently, General Motors announced that it had chosen a site for the production of the upcoming Cadillac CELESTIQ, the company’s planned flagship luxury sedan meant to compete with vehicles like the Tesla Model S.
“As Cadillac’s future flagship sedan, CELESTIQ signifies a new, resurgent era for the brand,” said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors. “Each one will be hand-built by an amazing team of craftspeople on our historic Technical Center campus, and today’s investment announcement emphasizes our commitment to deliver a world-class Cadillac with nothing but the best in craftsmanship, design, engineering and technology.”
To make this happen, GM is investing $81 million into its Global Technology Center in Warren, Michigan. The company is putting in equipment and facilities for the hand-building process that’s planned for the vehicle, which should allow for very tight tolerances that someone would expect from an expensive flagship sedan of this type.
Obviously, not everything can be built from scratch, though. The vehicle will rely on GM’s Ultium platform that underlies most other GM electric vehicles. The difference is that they’ll be using these parts to perform a hand-assembly, which should produce a vehicle that won’t have any minor flaws, squeaks, rattles, etc., that come from more automated forms of production.
Another thing that sets the upcoming CELESTIQ’s production apart is the much higher use of 3D-printed components in the supply chain. More than 100 of the vehicle’s parts will be built using additive manufacturing techniques, which can produce better efficiency for low-volume production and less environmental waste (an important goal in an electric vehicle as far as environmentally-conscious customers are concerned). The CELESTIQ production facility itself will also take advantage of additive manufacturing for tooling, fixtures and gauges in the assembly process.
So, it’s pretty clear that the process of building the vehicle is quite different than other vehicles we’re used to seeing built.
“This investment is a great example of our commitment to GM’s EV transformation as we apply our manufacturing expertise to a one-of-a-kind, ultra-luxury vehicle for the Cadillac brand,” said Gerald Johnson, executive vice president of Global Manufacturing and Sustainability. “The advanced manufacturing technology and tools we are utilizing on CELESTIQ will help our team deliver the highest quality vehicles to our customers.”
The vehicle itself is also going to set itself apart in some interesting ways after it leaves the factory. The vehicle’s roof will have four “quadrants,” each equipped with smart glass that uses suspended particles and electricity to allow for variable tinting. Each person in the vehicle will be able to decide how much shade or sun they want while the vehicle goes down the road. The vehicle is also supposed to come with “a pillar-to-pillar freeform display with active privacy.”
We’d love to show you images of all this, but Cadillac is still keeping its cards relatively close to the vest. On the 8th, GM released a few teaser images of the upcoming vehicle to help stimulate public interest, but none show the full vehicle. We’ll tell readers more as details trickle out of GM.
Featured image and gallery images below by Cadillac, GM.
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