• 300-mile range from plug-in gasoline-electric drivetrain
  • 4-passenger coupe styling based on Converj concept
  • Standard CUE infotainment with navigation
  • Limited availability starting early 2014

Cadillac unveiled its first electric vehicle today at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Based on the earlier Converj concept, the 2014 Cadillac ELR features an extended-range electric drivetrain similar to the one found in the Chevrolet Volt. Production of the four-passenger coupe is expected to begin late this year, with the first examples reaching showrooms early in 2014.

Like the Volt, the Cadillac ELR is a plug-in electric vehicle with a four-cylinder gasoline engine onboard to provide a recharge on the go. The ELR uses the same 1.4-liter engine as the Volt, but its electric drive motor is more powerful for better performance. Total output is 207 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque. Cadillac says the ELR can achieve 35 miles of electric-only driving range - enough for most daily commutes - or can travel over 300 miles with a full charge and a full tank of gasoline.

Cadillac's angular signature styling is recognizable upon first glance, although the ELR features details like a flush fascia and grille for improved aerodynamics. LED headlights, taillights and running lights, hidden door handles and big, 20-inch wheels convey a premium look.

Inside, the ELR includes CUE, Cadillac's iPad-like touchscreen interface, as standard equipment. Navigation is included, too, as is an 8-inch configurable instrument panel in place of traditional analog gauges. Chrome, wood and microfiber interior trim are standard, while upscale carbon fiber trim and Opus semi-aniline leather seats are available as options.

ELR drivers can select among four driving modes to suit conditions or preferences. Sport mode provides the most responsive settings for the accelerator pedal, steering and suspension. Touring mode is geared toward comfort and efficiency. Mountain mode holds enough battery charge in order to deliver climbing power, while Hold mode stores up energy for electric-only driving in congested areas.

Production of the ELR is confirmed, but drivers that wish to be among the first to own the newest Cadillac should act quickly. Bob Ferguson, Cadillac's global vice president, says the ELR will be "a specialized offering produced in limited numbers."

What it means to you: The 2014 Cadillac ELR delivers zero-emissions electric driving without sacrificing performance or luxury. But limited production for the new model means interested parties should act quickly once pre-ordering and sales commence.

See all Detroit Auto Show news.

What do you think about the  Cadillac ELR? Let us know in the comments below.

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Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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