Buick has teased a new SUV to be launched in China later this year. To be revealed in Shanghai on April 17, the new crossover could be based on the Chevrolet Bolt.
While at this stage, the electric-only SUV is a concept, it’s being called the Buick Enspire and will be first displayed at the Buick Brand Night in Wuzhen, Zhejiang, before going on public display at Auto Expo China 2018, otherwise known as the Beijing motor show.
In mid-November last year, GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, used the Barclays Global Automotive Conference in New York to state that there were plans to build a couple of crossovers, which would share “basic components” with the Chevy Bolt.
What those components were hasn’t been revealed yet, but this is what leads us to believe the Buick Enspire could be one of those. It’s possible, of course, that the Bolt will only share drivetrain components, meaning the electric motors and battery pack will be used in the new Buick EV crossover.
Buick says that the Enspire “is the brand’s latest example of innovation and application of future electric smart mobility.”
And there, folks, is the clue – innovation. We’ve all seen electric vehicles before, and we’ve all seen EV crossovers, too. So what will make this one so innovative?
We’re betting on a fast charge system, one that will keep up with the forthcoming Audi e-tron and the new Mercedes-Benz EQC. We’d also hope for some decent range. Perhaps something that can charge to 90 percent full and still offer between 300-400 miles.
Maybe we’re dreaming, but if you want innovation in the electric vehicle space, that’s what’s needed.
Clearly, Buick wants to sell more SUVs into China, which is why the concept is being launched there.
It’s also why the car is coated in an eye-catching red colour, like many Chinese concept cars. But being an electric vehicle also keeps Chinese regulators happy, cutting down on emissions and ensuring GM can take advantage of the generous incentives offered to EVs.
But with over 80 per cent of Buick’s vehicles being sold there, this isn’t such a surprise. Around nine million Buicks have been sold in China – thanks to a tie-up between SAIC and General Motors – since 1998. Buick is the most popular American brand in China – the Enspire definitely makes sense.
At Barclay’s conference, Barra said that GM plans to launch 20 new electric vehicles by 2023, with some of them to be SUVs or crossovers. Which means there’s plenty more EV news to come.