The 2013 Cadillac XTS, which will hit dealerships in a few weeks, is a hotbed of new technology and features for GM. The car is the launch vessel for everything from the CUE infotainment system to vibrating alert seats. This week, Cadillac has detailed a smaller but perhaps equally useful feature.
Instead of the traditional fuel door and fuel cap, the XTS uses a capless fuel filler system that provides a cleaner, more seamless fill up. The system has two internal fuel doors, each with its own rubber seal, ensuring that everything is airtight and leak free. When it's time to refuel, you open the outer door and insert the nozzle directly through the two internal doors, which automatically open to accommodate the nozzle. Because the inner fuel compartment doesn't need to fit a hand to loosen the cap manually, it's smaller and sleeker than the average.
"Some capless systems on the market have just a single door, making them vulnerable to leaks,” explains John Hamilton, Cadillac's fuel systems design engineer. "Unlike competitors, Cadillac’s system also has no internal drain, something that can also lead to inadvertent dripping."
As someone that's moved from a full-service state, where gas station attendants fill your gas, to a self-service state, I can appreciate this small, subtle convenience. While I've gotten used to the speed of pumping my own gas, I still don't like getting the grime and smell of gas on my hands, especially if the pit stop includes grabbing a bite to eat after filling up. With the Cadillac system, you don't have to manhandle the filler cap, so you should stay gas and grit free.
Within the past week, I've also seen about four or five cars with dangling gas caps that drivers forgot to screw in before leaving the gas station. It's humorous to an onlooker, but threatens to leak fuel, damage paint and fire the "check engine" light for the driver in question. Cadillac's system eliminates that little human error.