Cadillac Counts on 2025 Escalade IQ for EV Sizzle
Cadillac introduces the EV variant of its money-printing Escalade franchise.
General Motors said it’s all-in on transitioning its entire passenger-vehicle lineup to EVs and there may be no more critical litmus test of the strategy than the reception for the imposing 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ. If the EV version of the GM luxury brand’s best-selling model can continue to project the gravitas established by the internal-combustion Escalade, it will go a long way toward establishing GM’s EV credibility.
After all, the Escalade has instilled itself as the signature expression in the luxury SUV segment where, said John Roth, vice president of Global Cadillac at a media introduction for the 2025 Escalade IQ, one in three current segment sales is an Escalade. “The Escalade is the dominant player in the market,” he said, insinuating that in an SUV segment where today’s buyers can’t seem to get enough or pay enough, the distinctiveness of all-electric Escalade ought to be a can’t-lose proposition.
Taking a cue from the conventionally propelled Escalade, the 2025 Escalade IQ maxes out just about every current EV metric – including the price, which Cadillac said will start at around $130,000.
Engineers are promising 450 miles (724 km) of driving range under optimum conditions and the potential for lickety-split DC fast-charging – up to 100 miles (161 km) in 10 minutes – thanks in part to the SUV’s 800-volt electrical architecture. The massive range is afforded by the Escalade IQ’s equally mammoth 200 kWh capacity from its 24-module Ultium lithium-ion battery pack. Cadillac also said the Escalade IQ will be fitted with bi-directional charging capability to enable powering of a residence in the event of power failure or when it is desirable to draw energy from the vehicle battery into the home.
All-wheel-drive is standard, confirmed Mandi Damman, the Escalade IQ’s chief engineer, who said of her post, “It’s the assignment of a lifetime.” She said the IQ’s platform is not based on Cadillac’s Lyriq EV or any other existing vehicle and insisted that thanks to standard 4-wheel steering and a clever new “arrival mode” programming for the steering system, the Escalade IQ will be the “best-driving and most-maneuverable Escalade to date.”
Substantial dimensions, heft unspecified
In keeping with the standard Escalade’s reputation, the IQ will not be perceived as small. Its 136.2-inch (3460-mm) wheelbase is more than 2 inches (51-mm) longer than the current long-wheelbase Escalade ESV. At 224.3 inches (5697 mm) in overall length, the Escalade IQ does tuck in a couple inches shorter than the Escalade ESV’s 277 inches (5766 mm).The Escalade IQ’s overall height of 76.1 inches (1934 mm) is nearly identical to the conventional Escalade.
For those who believe power is the ultimate luxury expression, the 2025 Escalade IQ easily eclipses the internal-combustion Escalade. Damman said the GM-designed and manufactured front- and rear-axle traction motors generate a combined 680 hp and up to a thunderous 750 hp in what is called “Velocity Max” mode that the driver can select at any time and which she said is not a time-limited “boost” proposition – Velocity Max can be engaged indefinitely, although with a corresponding impact on driving range. The torque rating in normal mode is 615 lb-ft (834 Nm), while Velocity Max can take that figure to 785 lb-ft (1064 Nm).
The 2023 Escalade with a 6.2-L V8 generates 420 hp and 460 lb-ft (623 Nm). Its maximum towing weight is 8200 lb. (3719 kg), while Cadillac said the 2025 Escalade IQ’s max tow is 8000 lb (3628 kg).
After taking continuing heat for the 9046-lb (4103-kg) official curb weight of its first Brobdingnagian EV, the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, Damman and other Cadillac officials circumspectly did not provide a curb weight for the Escalade IQ, adding that the figure will be provided at a later date.
Premium chassis, packaging – but no NACS
The IQ’s standard 4-wheel steering reduces turning diameter to 39.4 feet (12 m), a cut of some 6.5 ft (2 m), while standard magnetic ride control dampers enhance ride control and isolation from road irregularities. Air-ride suspension enables raising or lowering from the standard ride height. The optional arrival mode is a programming for the 4-wheel steering that Damman said effectively is “the Cadillac version of [the Hummer EV’s] ‘crabwalk.’”
A heat pump thermally manages the battery pack and power electronics and reduces the energy consumed to condition the cabin. Cadillac said the energy-optimizing system, which is called Ultium Energy Recovery, also helps to extend driving range.
The Escalade IQ’s cabin is highlighted by two signature features: a 55-inch diagonal “coast-to-coast” curved LCD display stretching from A-pillar to A-pillar (although the display actually is comprised of separate 35-inch and 20-inch screens) and the Executive Second-Row Seating package that incorporates working desks, individual 12.6-inch display screens, massaging seats and a variety of charging and connection ports. Also standard is the Super Cruise hands-off driver-assistance system, while optional are power open-and-close doors.
Stung by criticism of the Lyriq EV’s lack of a frunk, Cadillac was certain not to make that design misstep with the Escalade IQ: the SUV has a voluminous 12 cubic-foot (345 L) frunk. Cadillac uses the term “eTrunk” and said in a release that the Escalade IQ’s is large enough to hold two golf bags, assuming one would prefer that storage to the 23.7 cubic feet (670 L) available in the cargo area even when the third-row seating is raised. There is 69.1 cubic feet (1958 L) of cargo space when the third row is folded flat.
Chief engineer Damman told SAE Media that one feature that will not be found on the 2025 Escalade IQ is the Tesla-designed North American Charging Standard (NACS) charge port that GM and several other automakers have pledged to adopt for “second generation” EVs and that SAE International has on an expedited timeline for standardization. Damman did not say if or when the Escalade IQ’s Combined Charging System (CCS) charge port might be reconfigured for the NACS connector, adding that an adapter will be available.
The 2025 Escalade IQ will be built at GM’s Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in summer 2024.