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Buick Reportedly to Lead the Charge Toward GM’s Electric Future

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With 22 electric vehicles slated to debut by 2023, General Motors might look to the Buick brand to lead its electrification efforts

Buick Velite 5 exterior

Vehicles like the Velite5 could be making their way to American audiences soon

Last month, General Motors announced its intention to roll out 22 new electric vehicles by the end of 2023. Given that the Chevrolet Bolt is GM’s most popular EV right now, you might expect Chevrolet to lead the electric-powered charge.

However, reports from high-ranking GM executives indicate that Buick will likely take center stage during the automaker’s electric revolution.

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Duncan Aldred, vice present of sales and marketing for Buick and GMC, recently stated that “Buick will play a huge part” in the rollout of these 22 new electric models. In fact, Buick has already undergone and electric transformation of sorts in China.

Chinese government regulations have recently required automakers to derive 10% of their sales come from vehicles likened to zero-emission or low-emission production by 2019. That number rises to 12% by 2020.

In order to keep up with these demands, Buick has already introduced several electric and hybrid vehicles to the Chinese market. Models like the Buick Velite5 EV and Buick LaCrosse hybrid, not yet available in American markets, can currently be found in China.

Buick LaCrosse Hybrid Electric Vehicle on sale in China

China already has a hybrid version of the LaCrosse sedan

While electrification may not be catching on as quickly in the U.S. as it is in China, Buick might be the perfect brand to introduce such a concept to GM’s general audience. Buick recently added the eAssist propulsion system to its LaCrosse lineup, and the quiet nature of electric models would certainly match the quiet and serene interior advertised by Buick. Furthermore, Buick vehicles often place an emphasis on power, and electric powertrains and motors give vehicles an added boost.

However, one aspect that Buick places special emphasis on that wouldn’t blend as well with EVs is an abundance of premium features. The more premium features a vehicle has, the more room it needs and the more weight is added to it. EVs are far more accustomed to no-frills interiors, so as to maximize their range.

Buick Velite 5 interior

Interiors don’t get much quieter than those belonging to electric models

Still, Aldred offered assurances that GM is hard at work developing a battery that would provide great range and power without sacrificing some of Buick’s more opulent amenities.

“The battery technology we are developing now, as well as the next generation, is impressive to the point where there won’t be any sacrifices,” he elaborates.

In fact, the first of these future Buick EVs might enter the market by 2019. Many analysts estimate that a CUV based on the Chevrolet Bolt’s platform could be added to the Buick lineup by that time.

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For right now, Buick’s electrification efforts are primarily relegated to its new largest market: China. Nevertheless, the development of such vehicles for Buick’s Chinese market will likely create an easy in for Buick when and if it comes time to bring a fleet of EVs stateside.

“Because we are so successful in China, it gives scale and leverage in North America,” Aldred explains. “We will have multiple (electrified) entries in China over the next few years. When, and if, the market develops here we will be in good shape.”

News Source: Ward’s Auto