DETROIT — Cadillac is overhauling the badging of its powertrains to focus on vehicle power and performance rather than the engine's displacement as the brand prepares to add an influx of full-electric vehicles.
Instead of identifying the liters of a vehicle's engine, such as a "2.0T" for 2.0-liter turbo, each model will display the torque of the powertrain. Electric powertrains for EVs have no displacement; however, acceleration, as with internal combustion engines, is best measured in torque.
“We’re not talking about displacements anymore,” Cadillac President Steve Carlisle said during a media briefing Wednesday. “What’s the appeal of an electric motor and electric car? It’s the torque. It’s the early torque. It’s the driveability. It’s the acceleration. We see this as a step toward the future and moving into battery electric vehicles.”
The caveat for American buyers is the number that will be on the vehicle to designate its performance will use newton meters of torque rather than pound-feet, which is a measurement exclusive to the U.S.
Carlisle said the decision to use the metric measurement was made because of Cadillac's worldwide sales. It also is a higher number than pound-feet.
"It's metric. It's global. It's universal," Carlisle said. "You have to think about all the markets we are doing business in."
The badging will begin this year on the new XT6 large crossover and expand throughout Cadillac's lineup, Carlisle said.
For example, instead of a "2.0T" badge to represent a 2.0-liter turbo engine, the badge would read the torque with a "T" at the end: "350T." If a vehicle is powered by a combustion engine such as the 3.6-liter V-6 in the XT6, it would just be badged "400." It would be 271 pound-feet.
Cadillac is serving as General Motors' lead brand for electric vehicles and Carlisle said the EVs will have a different designation at the end, but he declined to disclose what that may be.
The use of the metric system for vehicle badging in the U.S. isn’t unprecedented for GM. In the 1960s, the Pontiac GTO, the first muscle car, was one of the first, if not the first, American vehicle to use the displacement of the vehicle’s engine in metric. For example, a “GTO” badge had “6.5-litre” under it.