Ultium-based Buick Electra Debuts as Concept in China

Christian Wardlaw | Oct 02, 2020

Buick is preparing a couple of electric vehicles (EVs) that will use the new General Motors platform and Ultium battery packs that form the basis for the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer. Since China is the largest market for the brand, Buick introduced one of them in concept form in Shanghai, and it uses a legendary nameplate: Electra.

Buick Electra Concept

Is there a more perfect name than Buick Electra for a new EV from the brand? There is not. So, it’s a good bet Buick won’t limit the name’s use to this concept vehicle.

According to Buick, the Electra is a gran turismo crossover vehicle with seating for four people. It wears a new design language called Potential Energy, and while it appears to maintain a tenuous connection to current Buick styling themes, it also looks much like a modern Mazda.

Buick characterizes the Electra as clean yet bold, pure yet sculptural, and minimalist yet dynamic. Highlights include illumination for the grille, Buick emblem, and Electra lettering on the lower portion of the bumper. Front and rear Matrix LED lighting provides a unique 3-D effect. The concept sits on aero-design 23-inch wheels that look positively huge.

One reason the wheels appear to be dramatically oversized is the compact glass canopy over the interior. Butterfly-wing doors that respond to facial-recognition technology rise to grant access to the cabin, which accommodates four people on suspended seating.

Likening the Electra to a space capsule, Buick says the car’s color palette “replicates the atmosphere of outer space.” The driver faces a large curved instrumentation display that appears to float, and the spacious interior features ambient lighting and a hidden climate system. A retractable steering wheel suggests potential Level 4 autonomous driving capability.

Buick says the Electra has intelligent driving technology, as well as vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication capabilities. Equipped with eConnect complete with over-the-air update capability, drivers can use both a smart AI Voice Assistant to control the Electra’s features or an augmented reality head-up display with live-view navigation to find a destination.

Equipped with front and rear electric motors, the Buick Electra makes 583 horsepower (435 kW) and can accelerate to 60 mph in about 4.2 seconds. The Ultium battery pack provides an estimated 410 miles of driving range.

While the Buick Electra concept vehicle is quite the fantasy, it almost certainly points to a new reality. It shouldn’t be long before we get a chance to see a Buick EV that looks much closer to production. Hopefully, it will wear the Electra name.

The information in this article is from SAIC-GM. It was accurate on October 1, 2020, but it may have changed since that date.

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