The move toward electrification is in full steam at General Motors with nearly every brand showing off at least one battery-electric vehicle based on the Ultium suite. However, we haven’t heard a peep from Buick regarding electrification for markets outside of China…until now. The brand, today, provided us a quick glimpse of what appears to be a near-production concept car. It came with a caption stating: “We’re fans of all GM EVs, but this summer we will show you our dreams of a groovy electric future.” It is then followed by a lightning bolt emoji before stating that they’re sure “a mastermind who makes his own quasi-futuristic clothes will be impressed” before ending it with a mind-blown emoji.
Buick released a single teaser shot of the headlight on Twitter, which appears to be a single curved unit. There doesn’t appear to be a second cluster for the projector nearby unless it’s been mounted lower down to create the tiered setup that’s become so common in crossovers these days. It also looks like there’s a black trim piece just below the LED strip that may span the entire front fascia. This teaser alone hints that Buick’s first BEV will continue the evolution of the brand’s current design language, which first appeared on the Avenir and Avista concept cars. The latest version is found in the latest Envision and refreshed Enclave, and this concept appears to be an evolution of that.
Last year, Mary Barra, Chair and CEO of General Motors revealed that more vehicles will move the Ultium suite. This follows the GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Silverado EV, and the upcoming GMC Sierra EV. Barra also noted that a $30,000 crossover will use the Ultium suite, which was revealed this year as the Chevrolet Equinox EV. It will be followed shortly by the Blazer EV. During last year’s announcement, Barra mentioned that Buick will also have a lineup of crossover on the Ultium suite. However, there was no mention regarding which segments they will be in.
If we were to take an educated stab at it, we think Buick will enter a BEV in two of the most competitive classes: the compact and mid-size crossover. One will likely be similar in size to the Envision while the other could essentially be an all-electric Enclave. These SUVs will likely be positioned between their Chevrolet and Cadillac counterparts, which should make them more affordable than the latter but more premium than the former.
In addition to a platform dedicated to BEVs, the Ultium suite also includes batteries codeveloped with LG Energy Solutions and electric motors developed in-house by General Motors. The batteries are capable of charging at rates of over 300 kW, allowing them to go from 0 to 80 percent in less than an hour depending on the size. GM’s three Ultium electric motors are quite powerful with the most potent developing 342 hp on its own. There’s also a 241 hp unit that’ll likely be used on more affordable vehicles. The third motor is specifically for the front axle to enable AWD and only has 83 hp. All three are designed with minimal use of heavy rare earth metals, which should also bring down the cost of the vehicles.