Way back in early '06 — following a year during which ten billion samoleans took flight from GM's balance sheet — the company's capo Rick Wagoner said a hybrid version of the Cadillac Escalade was on the way for 2008. Heavy snickering ensued, followed by cries the company was pandering to a shallow, Hollywoodland vision of environmental correctness. Nonetheless, according to Automotive News, said duplicitous 'sclade will go on sale in the fall of 2007, sporting a hybrid transmission built by Allison that's similar to the two-mode hookup set for the soon-to-be Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon hybrids. The system, AN says, which uses nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) battery packs from Panasonic EV, could give the Escalade a mileage boost of 25 percent. Now, one Jalopnik reader says he's captured what may be a prototypical Hy-Sclade on a Michigan test outing.

I spotted this out near Milford, MI @ Island Lake State Park this afternoon. I guess it's proximal to the GM proving grounds. Black gaffer tape covered the hybrid badges on either side of the vehicle. It looked like a 2007 Escalade to me, but I may have missed subtle styling cues.

A new era of responsible decadence? Break out the Cristal Lite. [Thanks to Joe for the pics.]

GM Planning Escalade Hybrid [internal]