Cadillac’s new CT6 range-topper has just made its Chinese-market debut at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, where the American luxury brand announced a new plug-in hybrid variant to be sold alongside the four-cylinder and V-6 variants announced earlier this month in New York. The new plug-in CT6 will simply be known as the CT6 PHEV, where PHEV stands for “plug-in hybrid electric vehicle”, and like most plug-in hybrids it will provide owners with all-electric capability for around town and the assurance of an internal combustion engine for longer journeys.

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The powertrain of the CT6 PHEV leverages General Motors Company’s [NYSE:GM] proven battery technology, with its 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack the same size as the one in the 2016 Chevrolet Volt. In the CT6 PHEV, the battery, stored between the rear seats and trunk, helps power two electric motors that spin the rear wheels. These motors work in conjunction with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with combined system output registering at 335 horsepower and 432 pound-feet of torque.

The battery can either be charged at home or on the run using the engine or regenerative braking. Cadillac’s Regen On Demand feature, already available on the ELR extended-range electric car, supports a more-engaging driving experience by allowing the driver to slow the vehicle by kicking up the regenerative force using paddles behind the steering wheel. This is done ideally when entering a corner, much like downshifting with a manual transmission.

Cadillac hasn’t mentioned a driving range for the CT6 PHEV,  either in electric or hybrid modes, but our colleagues at Green Car Reports note that a Chinese release for the CT6 PHEV cites an electric range of "greater than 60 km" (more than 37 miles). Cadillac also states that the fuel economy of the CT6 PHEV should be more than double that of the car’s conventional engine offerings, as measured by mpge.

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As Cadillac wants to position the CT6 PHEV as a driver’s car, there are also some distinct operating modes—Normal, Sport and Hold—that should make for a more enthralling drive. Normal provides a balance of comfort, performance and maximized electric range and fuel economy. Sport provides more aggressive pedal mapping for improved off-the-line feel and a stiffer, at the cost of efficiency. Hold allows the driver to maintain a certain level of charge in the battery, storing for when he or she may be approaching a city where electric mode is most efficient.

“The first-ever CT6 is a technological showcase throughout, making it an ideal platform for Cadillac to offer its first plug-in hybrid,” Cadillac chief Johan de Nysschen said in a statement. “The advanced plug-in hybrid system is a key addition, providing a combination of exceptional fuel economy, crisp acceleration and strong electric-driving range.”

To see what else is at the Shanghai Auto Show, head to our dedicated hub.


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