During a media backgrounder in March 2020, General Motors offered a sneak peek at nearly a dozen battery-electric vehicles it was developing for each of its four North American brands.
Since then, GM has made a lot of news about its plans for Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC, but almost nothing has been said about where Buick is going. That’s about to change.
Following up on its “Dr EV-il” ad aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl, GM has tweeted out a tease of a “groovy electric future” for Buick that will get into motion over the summer with the debut of its first U.S. BEV.
The teaser image shows a small detail of a lighting assembly for what is all but certain to be an all-electric crossover, considering Buick has now dropped all sedans and coupes from its North American line-up.
A battery car fit for an EV-il genius
In a series of tweets that reference the Dr. EV-il Super Bowl ad, the super-villain asks the various GM brands, “Which one of you has the best vehicle to serve my EV-il needs.” Buick responds by tweeting, “We’re fans of all @GM EVs, but this summer we will show you our dreams of a groovy electric future. We’re sure a mastermind who makes his own quasi-futuristic clothes will be impressed.”
The swoopy head and daytime running lights from the teaser image suggest that a lot of design work has gone on since a clearly unfinished Buick concept vehicle was shown to journalists back in March 2020. The question is how much of the final look might be borrowed from Buick’s Chinese product line.
The teaser is likely to lead to a lot of debate, especially considering it flashes a disclaimer that it is a “concept vehicle shown,” so the final design could be significantly different.
Velite or Electra?
The automaker already has a family of plug-based models on sale in what is now the world’s largest market for electrified vehicles. That includes the Velite 5 plug-in hybrid sedan, the Velite 6 crossover which is available as both a plug-in and pure BEV, and the Velite 7 EV crossover.
At the very least, it appears, Buick may borrow the Velite name for which parent GM filed a U.S. trademark application last month. But there have been signals that Buick might prefer to bring back the once-popular Electra badge which would clearly have a new and even more appropriate meaning with an all-electric vehicle. The automaker filed for a trademark on that name last December.
What to expect from a Buick BEV? The brand traditionally has been positioned in-between Chevrolet and Cadillac and that’s likely to carry forward as GM continues along what CEO Mary Barra calls its “path to an all-electric future.” That would mean a somewhat less luxurious interior than the new Cadillac Lyriq set to launch this year.
Something in common
The two vehicles will, however, share the same Ultium architecture, a skateboard-like platform that moves key powertrain components below the load floor. In turn, that would yield a class size-above cabin.
Like Lyriq, we can expect to see Buick offer multiple drivetrain options, most likely a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. Buyers might also get a chance to choose between battery pack sizes. But it seems all but certain that a model delivering range in the neighborhood of 300 miles would be on the checklist.
As for pricing, the Caddy BEV will start at $59,999 — before delivery fees. Considering the normal GM brand structure, a Buick Velite, or Electra — or whatever it winds up being named — would likely start in the $40,000 to $50,000 range.
We hope to see Buick release more details before the battery-electric vehicle debuts this coming summer.