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News: Report Says Buick Will Get EV Crossover Based on the Bolt EV

GM Set to Expand EV Lineup

Even though General Motors technically won the race to release an affordable electric vehicle with over 200 miles of range, their golden child–the Chevrolet Bolt EV–has not sold quite as well as GM had hoped. Maybe it is still a little early to tell for sure, but it seems that GM is wasting no time in giving its buyers more options.

According to a recent report from InsideEVs, an all-electric Buick crossover based on the Bolt EV may be on its way. The report is based on information obtained from a “very trusted/known source” who attended a focus group in California.

Buick EV

Buick EV

According to the source, the future Buick EV will be essentially just a body and badge swap, with a few caveats. Most importantly, the Buick EV will share the same 60 kWh battery and motor as the Bolt which means it will be front-drive only.

With the interior of the car, it seems that GM is really trying to separate this vehicle from the Bolt as it will feature a floating roof and entirely new center console with larger touchscreen display. The Buick EV is also said to have about three inches more rear legroom.

Buick Encore-like

From the outside, the body of the future Buick EV was described by the source as “next generation Buick Encore-like.”

Buick Velite 5 Extended-Range Electric Vehicle

One Chevrolet (the Volt) has already become a Buick in China (the Velite 5)

Buick Velite 5 Extended-Range Electric Vehicle

One Chevrolet (the Volt) has already become a Buick in China (the Velite 5)

While it is common knowledge that GM plans to build a variety of vehicles based off the Bolt EV platform, this report is the first to suggest that the first Bolt EV sibling will be a Buick. This is not surprising, as any attempt to compete with the Tesla Model 3 (the other “affordable” EV that is just starting production—the quotes indicating that so far that means a $44,000 model) must fall further into the luxury category than the Bolt EV.

If Buick does release an EV crossover, look for it to cost around $3,000 more than the Chevrolet Bolt, and to hit the U.S. and Chinese markets first. The Chevy Volt had already been translated into the Buick Velite 5 for the Chinese market.

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About Author: Nick Zatopa

Nick Zatopa is a contributor at Clean Fleet Report. Nick is heavily into the modified car scene, but has become increasingly interested in performance electric and hybrid vehicles. Currently a student at the University of San Francisco finishing a degree in Media Studies, he has also worked in the automotive industry. Nick lives in San Francisco.

4 thoughts on “News: Report Says Buick Will Get EV Crossover Based on the Bolt EV

  1. Ed
    August 15, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Michael, I agree with you. That is the point I’m trying to get across (that there is a mismatch in the public dialogue), though perhaps not clearly. Automakers state publicly the demand isn’t there and that’s why they don’t offer more models, and automakers, the DOE, and other public policy stakeholders repeatedly suggest that battery prices have crossed some threshold where it just makes sense. I (and apparently you) believe we’re not there yet on battery prices where it just makes sense everywhere. That’s not to say the Bolt and Model 3 aren’t a great step forward, but we risk losing sight and making policy missteps without more balance that the tipping point is not here yet for core consumer vehicles. If you believe UBS’ cost analysis, the Bolt and Model 3 actually do have positive contribution margin and so Chevy and Tesla just need to sell enough for profit. I’m not sure I quite believe that because small uncertainties in the UBS analysis would make the contribution margins negative.

    • August 15, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      @Ed,

      You’re right–we’re on the same page. The cars are great and great bargains for consumers, but the margins are not there yet for manufacturers at current volumes. The forward momentum looks promising, though. Check out the article just published on Toyota’s work on solid state batteries. Those could be game-changers. –ed.

  2. Ed
    August 13, 2017 at 8:08 am

    It’s too small! The Bolt is too small (barely a midsize meeting the 110 cu ft standard by 1.3 cu ft). A body and badge Buick changeover will be too small. And the Model 3 is too small. Though, Tesla has not reported the interior volume officially yet, the reported leg/head/shoulder room suggests it will be Compact class. When will we see a consumer-priced (under $40K with common options, but before incentives) high mileage EV in the midsize or large segments (sedan, CUV, SUV, light truck, minivan, etc…)? They continue to address the markets at the margins, replacing non-EV vehicles that already get good gas mileage, and then complaining they don’t sell enough as evidence the market is not really there. It’s two-faced. I think they are losing so much money on these vehicles (Tesla included) that they really don’t want to sell many EVs at $35K or less. Think about it: 60 kWh x $250/kWh (pack price, not the $145/kWh cell price often quoted about LG) = $15,000 worth of battery pack. There’s a reason the first 6 to 12 months of Model 3 production are models that will sell for over $50K.

    • August 13, 2017 at 10:09 am

      @Ed,
      We appreciate you comments, but I think you may be arguing against yourself a bit. You decry automakers for not addressing larger models with EVs (I presume you count the Tesla Model S & X as the exceptions), then go on to talk about the same automakers losing money on the EV models they’re producing. As I’m sure you know. larger batteries mean more cost and that’s what keeps the larger Tesla’s out of the “affordable” space. Until we get a true breakthrough on batteries (keep your eye on Toyota’s solid state batteries), it’s going to be a real challenge. Love to continue this dialogue. –ed.

Let us know what you think.