When the Cadillac ELR extended-range plug-in car goes on sale, probably in 2013 as a 2014 model, it's a given that it will cost more than the 2012 Chevy Volt.

But how much more?

In the spate of reports late yesterday covering GM's announcement yesterday that its 2009 Cadillac Converj concept would be built as the Cadillac ELR, one sentence from a Bloomberg story stood out.

That story said, "GM plans to price the ELR less than the $57,400 Model S by Tesla Motor Inc.’s, said a person familiar with the plans."

In other words, the base price of a 2014 Cadillac ELR will be less than the $57,400 base price of the lowest-range 2012 Tesla Model S all-electric sports sedan, whose battery will provide a 160-mile range. Versions of the Model S with 230- and 300-mile range will cost more.

2011 Chevrolet Volt test drive, Michigan, October 2010

2011 Chevrolet Volt test drive, Michigan, October 2010

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt, GM's sole extended-range electric car now in production, has a base price of $39,995. While that's lower than the 2011 base price of $41,000, it includes less standard equipment and represents a price increase if the new Volt is comparably equipped to the prior-year model.

If we had to bet, we'd look for an ELR base price around $49,900 ... with luxury options potentially adding as much as $8,000 more.

That's how GM [NYSE:GM] will work toward making its Voltec powertrain profitable, which is one of the reasons the Cadillac Converj concept from 2009 was approved for production, as this site reported last week.

GM CEO Dan Akerson is "all about profit," said our source at the time, and as a premium brand, the Cadillac ELR can justify far higher sticker prices--for what is still a premium-priced technology--than can a compact Chevy hatchback.

Will the Cadillac ELR really compete with the Model S from Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA]? Or will they appeal to two completely different audiences?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.



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