Update – ‘Release Date’ section updated.
The Buick Electra electric SUV-coupe concept that debuted at Auto Shanghai 2020 could be evolving into a production model.
In November 2020, GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra announced that the company will offer 30 EV models across brands globally by 2025. It could be that GM is seriously considering producing the Buick Electra as part of the expanded EV line-up. The company has filed a trademark application at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and also the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). The company has filed the trademark under the “Motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles” category at both the IP offices.
Companies file trademark applications to secure a name, but in this case it could be more than just the normal routine for IP protection, as we explain later in the story.
Design & Features
The Buick Electra is a sleek and fluidic SUV-coupe featuring a space capsule-inspired minimalist styling. Its sculptural surfaces give it quite an athletic character. The concept doesn’t feature traditional A/B pillars, and it flaunts butterfly wing doors. Matrix LED front and rear lights, full LED illuminated grille and rear screen nameplate, and facial recognition are some of the main exterior features.
The show car has a futuristic, spaceship-inspired four-seat interior with a large curved display, a retractable steering wheel, suspended seats, concealed AC system, and more. An all-new light-weighted armature structure supports the suspended seats (and the retractable steering wheel, too), delivering a floating or zero-gravity aesthetic. eConnect infotainment system with OTA updates, large augmented reality- head-up display with advanced live-view navigation, and next-gen AI Voice Assistant are also among the interior highlights.
The production Buick Electra will likely have a more realistic interior, but the exterior could be closer to the concept. It may come with Buick eCruise Pro, the brand’s proprietary intelligent driver-assist system. 5 millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, 4 360-degree cameras, and the Mobileye EyeQ4 chip come together to enable Buick eCruise Pro. This system provides more than 20 intelligent driving and active safety features, including Lane Centering Control with Instructed Lane Changing, steering wheel hands-off detection (HOD), and Traffic Jam Assistance. It supports OTA updates, which makes it possible to add new functions and improve existing ones conveniently anytime during the vehicle’s life.
Like all new-age EVs from GM, the Buick Electra concept is an Ultium-powered model. With Ultium technology, the wires within the battery are 90% lower. Two Ultium motors powering the front and rear wheels generate 435 kW of combined power, providing enough grunt to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.3 seconds. The concept version can travel up to 660 km or 410 miles on a full charge, but that figure is probably as per the Chinese test method, which is more lenient than the procedure of EPA or WLTP.
Buick B223 & Buick B233
A Chinese government document that was made public on local auto news portals in December reveals that EVs codenamed Buick B223 and Buick B233 are in the pipeline. The B223 could be an SUV, and the B233 its coupe cousin, the production version of the Buick Electra concept. The B223 measures 4,819 mm in length, 1,911 mm in width, and 1,568 mm in height. The B233 is 4,900 mm long, 1,903 mm wide, and 1,653 mm tall.
The B223 and B233 would come in a 180 kW FWD variant and a 255 kW AWD variant. The B223 would use a 68.7 kWh battery pack, while the B233 would have a larger, 80 kWh battery pack, reports d1ev.com. Both models would consume 13-14 kWh/100 km (62 miles).
SAIC-GM will make Buick B223 and Buick B233 in Wuhan, China, and launch them in the country in the first half of 2023. We are yet to know with absolute certainty if either is the production Electra. A global launch is obvious, but GM hasn’t confirmed such a plan yet.
China is Buick’s biggest market around the world, where electric SUVs are a hot commodity. Bringing close to a million units in sales (885,000 in 2020), China has the power to shape the brand’s global product line-up, and the Electra could be an integral piece of its future.
As per the press release from GM on January 4, 2022, Buick sold a total of 179,799 vehicles in the United States in 2021 compared to 162,741 units in 2020 marking a 10.5% growth. The Encore GX small SUV contributed to the overall sales most significantly with 71,247 units in 2021 in comparison to 44,841 units in 2020. This was followed by Envision compact SUV with 46,450 units sold in 2021, whereas 34,942 units were sold in 2020.
Featured Image Source: GM