How the Cadillac Provoq Works

A Green Cadillac

An integrated solar panel provides power for Provoq's accessories.
An integrated solar panel provides power for Provoq's accessories.

General Motors claims the Provoq can drive 300 miles before the hydrogen tanks must be refilled. The last 20 miles of the trip come from the range-extending ability of the batteries, so aggressive drivers might not get as far. While the logistics of making, transporting and storing hydrogen mean that fuel cells are not totally without an environmental footprint, a car that doesn't release a single whiff of carbon dioxide is certainly a breath of fresh air. Currently, hydrogen is produced using natural gas (methane). There is low demand for hydrogen, and the price is tied to the cost of natural gas. If fuel cell vehicles become common, demand, along with prices, will rise. There are ways to make hydrogen without using methane, but they obviously require energy. The actual "greenness" of the Provoq and other fuel cell vehicles will depend on the power sources used to make the hydrogen.

The Provoq's environmentally friendly credentials aren't just about clean emissions and alternative fuels. GM has built several other green features into the concept. Part of the roof is taken up by a solar panel that draws in the Sun's energy to power accessories like the stereo, interior lights and the integrated hard drive. The tires were custom made by Michelin and use that company's Green-X technology. Although the tires maintain performance and grip, they also offer low rolling resistance. That means the motors don't need to use as much energy to turn the wheels, improving the overall efficiency of the Provoq.

GM touted several other eco-friendly features in their press release for the Provoq:

  • The headliner is wrapped in a fully recyclable soy-based material.
  • The carpet is made of recycled polyester and jute.
  • The leather used to cover the seats and the instrumental panel is free of harmful chemicals.
  • The chrome trim is made with less-harmful materials.

You can charge up the Provoq's batteries overnight by plugging either of the front fender charging ports into an outlet. No external charging device is necessary. The charging ports are part of the Provoq's sleek design -- instead of hiding them away behind a panel, GM's design team integrated them into the sweeping shape of the side panels. An amber light shows that the batteries are charging, and a green light indicates a full charge.

You're probably guessing that the new technology and eco-friendly design compromises the comfort and luxury that you've come to expect from Cadillac, right? Don't be so sure. Continue reading to find out how the Provoq is still very much a Cadillac.