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Buick Velite 6 Model’s China Release Foreshadows GM’s EV Strategy for the U.S.

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As we reported earlier this month, GM is set to release two versions of the Velite 6 in China: a plug-in hybrid and an electric vehicle. If you think the Velite 6 looks strikingly similar to GM’s Volt plug-in hybrid, you’d be right; it’s simply the model name that the brand is using to introduce a Volt-inspired Buick onto the EV scene in China.

Unlike the Volt, the Buick Velite 6 boasts a slightly longer body with a bit more cargo space and back seat volume. When GM releases the plug-in hybrid version of the Velite 6, it will have the capacity of reaching 435 miles thanks to its combination of plug-in battery and 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

GM is also testing out enhanced user connectivity options on the Velite 6. For starters, Chinese drivers will be able to use their smartphones to unlock and lock the vehicle. They’ll also be able to establish online profiles to adjust vehicle functions and infotainment system features like navigation, OnStar, and internet connectivity. The Velite 6 will also be compatible with China’s WeChat social networking platform.


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Photo: © General Motors

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Although we have some preliminary details on the plug-in version of the Velite 6, GM has yet to release more information about the all-electric version. However, we do know that the automaker will release the EV on the market about one year after it releases the plug-in.

What’s innovative about the Velite 6, compared to its predecessor, the Velite 5, is that it’s predicted to have a revamped battery layout. Whereas the Velite 5 model’s battery pack is T-shaped and takes up some of the vehicle’s rear seat and cargo space, the Velite 6 battery will fit compactly underneath the cargo area floor. This will free up more space for features like a larger battery or incorporating gas range extenders into the design—which means, more potential powertrain options for consumers.

GM’s strategy in China likely predicts its strategy in the U.S. of offering more personalized powertrain choices and advanced technology functions on EV and plug-in hybrid models. We await more details about this model’s Chinese debut, as the model debuts at the imminent Beijing Auto Show.

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News Source: Green Car Reports