ExecuTech Car Edition: Cadillac’s New Electric Vehicle, Mercedes S-Class, Handpresso Auto French Press, More

cadillac elr concept

Cadillac’s Electric ELR

cadillac.com | available in January: Another upscale competitor has appeared on the electric car grid.

General Motors will begin selling Cadillac’s ELR (a close cousin to the CTS coupe) in January, targeting luxury buyers looking for a sporty alternative to the Tesla sedan, or cheaper, more pedestrian but respectable rides like the Volt, Nissan’s small Leaf or plug-in models from Toyota, Honda and Ford.

The ELR, which Cadillac likes to call an electrified luxury coupe, features Cadillac’s trademark creased modern design on the outside. On the inside are an eight-inch color touchscreen and LED lights, wood grain and chrome trim. Also unique: Regen on Demand, a feature that allows drivers to temporarily regenerate energy from the vehicle’s momentum through steering wheel paddles, which slows the ELR down as it stores electricity in the car’s battery pack. A combo of electric drive and a 1.4 liter gasoline-powered electric generator propel the vehicle. A sport mode is also available.

Given the luxe-loving buyer Cadillac is targeting with the ELR, the company also offers a concierge to provide info on battery care, home charging and service scheduling.

With the ELR’s impressive looks, the sporty car should help lure more influencers to the electric vehicle market, and give the segment the kind of cool factor, long controlled by Tesla, that the auto industry has been seeking to get more consumers interested in greener wheels.

The price is still steep, however, but that could change: The Volt’s pricetag at launch was $40,000. Now, it’s less than $35,000.

GM plans to follow up the ELR with a $30,000 electric car that can run for more than 200 miles between plug-ins, in its effort to build 500,000 electric-friendly cars a year by 2017.

So far there are 15 different electric vehicles on the market, and with the ELR just about ready to roll out, there soon may be more that will start turning heads.

Handpresso Auto French Press

Handpresso.com | $200: In a rush to get to the office and need your caffeine fix? Handpresso provides a quick jolt with this device that provides 16 bars of pressure, is powered by a 12 volt outlet, uses Illy espresso pods and fits easily into a cup holder. Fiat also offers a Lavazza-branded espresso maker as an option for its small 500s.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

mbusa.com | starting at $92,900 (excludes $925 destination charge): When it comes to infotainment screens, Mercedes-Benz hasn’t exactly wowed car buyers. But with its updated S-Class flagship, the German automaker finally has something impressive to offer. Inside the private-jet-like interior, with its retractable metal work trays, seat-back screens, “hot stone” massage seats, wireless audio, video and Internet access, are two massive 12-inch color screens mounted side by side in the dash. While one features digital gauges and night vision of the road ahead, the other displays entertainment, including HD video, environmental controls and a 3D map. Powered by Harman, the infotainment system will connect each seat to email, news and social networks wirelessly, with messages able to be read in 18 languages. The center screen can be split in two for the driver and passenger to access different content at the same time. A unique Drive-show feature sets points of interest along the route for passengers.

Tylt Band Car Charger

tylt.com | $40: Tylt gives the traditional smartphone or tablet car charger some style with a sleek ribbon and bright colors. The twofoot cords are available with Apple’s 30-pin or Micro-USB connectors, and enable two devices to be charged simultaneously and rapidly with its 2.1 amps of power.