Hybrids & Electrics

Is the Triton Model H an Electric Cadillac Escalade Rip-Off?

News recently broke about an electric SUV coming from a solar panel and charger supplier. The Triton Model H, based on its manufacturer’s claims, was an 8-seat electric SUV that could deliver up to 700 miles of range. We were understandably a bit skeptical. After all, some of the best electric SUVs on the market or close to debuting can’t hit anywhere close to that number. Well, the latest news seems to be proving some of these doubts. It’s possible that the Triton Model H is just a Cadillac Escalade clone.

The Triton Model H vs. the Cadillac Escalade

Triton Model H
Triton Model H | Triton

According to InsideEVs, some thought the Triton Model H was rather similar in design to a few large GM SUVs. To be fair, it can be difficult to distinguish 3-row SUVs from certain angles, especially the side. However, YouTuber Drivable Designs recently recorded a video comparing the Model H side-by-side with the 2021 Cadillac Escalade. And it’s clear that, at the very least, the Model H is very inspired by the Cadillac SUV.

To be sure, the Triton Model H is not an exactly Escalade copy. However, in overall shape, as well as in some details, the two SUVs share a resemblance. Especially, InsideEVs notes, to the lengthened Cadillac Escalade ESV. Both SUVs’ D-pillar areas are similar, as are their rear windows, grille, and front-wheel arches.

2021 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV
2021 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV | Cadillac

Drivable Designs also points out the Model H’s similarities to the Lincoln Navigator. With the Navigator, the similarities are more subtle. However, in the overall shape and rear design, the two SUVs aren’t terribly different.

2018 Lincoln Navigator rear overhead
2018 Lincoln Navigator rear overhead | Lincoln

It is important to note that, as of this writing, Triton has not shown any interior shots of the Model H. At the moment, the New Jersey-based company’s SUV appears to be a render, rather than a physical prototype.

Does this spell legal trouble?

In the past, The Drive reports, automakers have called each other out over too-similar designs. For example, Bentley’s chief designer, on Facebook, asked the Lincoln Continental’s designer if Lincoln wanted Bentley’s product tooling.

Electric GMC Hummer
Electric GMC Hummer | Road & Track via Instagram

GM and Chrysler have also had a court-room conflict in the past. There were allegations that the Hummer H2’s grille was too similar to Jeep’s slotted one. Eventually, a court ruling declared that Hummer had stolen nothing, and the case was dismissed.

2020 Mahindra Roxor
2020 Mahindra Roxor | Mahindra

Jeep also entered into a legal battle with Mahindra over the Roxor ATV because of a similar design similarity. There, though, the judge ruled in Jeep’s favor. Mahindra eventually had to stop sales of the Roxor, and redesign it.

2020 Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic and Range Rover Evoque
2020 Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic (left) and Range Rover Evoque | Land Rover

There have also been notable cases when Chinese automakers have copied European and other automakers. In fact, Jaguar Land Rover sued Jiangling Motor, Reuters reports, for copying the Range Rover Evoque’s design on the Jiangling Landwind X7. Eventually, Autoblog reports, JLR won its case; Landwind X7 sales and production were stopped, and JLR was paid compensation.

As of this writing, no legal action by Triton or Cadillac has been taken. And if either does, it likely won’t be until Trion actually builds a Model H.

But, if the physical version looks like the render, that may spell trouble for Triton. Because Cadillac’s working on an electric SUV, and possible crossover, of its own.

Will there even be an electric Cadillac Escalade?

2021 Cadillac Escalade side
2021 Cadillac Escalade side | Cadillac

As of this writing, Cadillac hasn’t officially announced it’s developing an electric Escalade. However, Car and Driver reports that its reporters saw a concept version of such an SUV. And reportedly, the gasoline- and diesel-powered versions will still be sold alongside the pure-electric version. The electric Cadillac Escalade will reportedly share components with the GMC Hummer electric truck and SUV, and go on sale by no later than 2025.

Cadillac Lyriq Concept EV
Cadillac Lyriq Concept EV | GM

Cadillac was also set to debut an electric crossover called the Lyriq. However, Roadshow reports that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said debut has been delayed.

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