Buick Voltec To Launch In China This Year

6 months ago by Eric Loveday 33

Buick Velite EREV Concept

Buick has confirmed what we reported several months back.

The automaker will launch a Voltec-power car in China later this year.

Buick Blue Strategy In China

It’s likely that the car in question will be called the Buick Velite, though the automaker is unwilling to divulge this information right now.

We’ve seen the Velite in concept form and perhaps have even caught it on the road in a more production-ready look, but until Buick confirms Velite as the the Voltec car to launch later this year, we can’t be certain if Velite is the upcoming Voltec Buick.

What we do know for sure is that Buick’s upcoming EREV will prioritize electric range. Buick is saying electric range will exceed 100 km (62 miles), but that’s certainly an optimistic figure based on China’s testing methodology. Total range is pegged at 700 km or 435 miles.

In addition to the EREV, Buick says that both a PHEV and BEV will launch in China within the next two years.

Press blast below:

Buick Lists Its New Propulsion Technologies Coming to China

Extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) technology
All-new 1.0T/1.3T Ecotec engines
First nine-speed transmission

SHANGHAI – Buick announced today that GM’s proven extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) technology, a new-generation of 1.0T/1.3T Ecotec engines and a nine-speed transmission will all be adopted in new or refreshed models launched in China this year.

In the coming two years, Buick will also introduce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in China – the brand’s largest market.

EREV Technology

EREV combines GM’s patented EVT electronic controlled intelligent variable transmission, double high-performance, permanent-magnet electric motors drive unit, a hybrid-exclusive direct injection engine, as well as an industry-leading liquid-cooled and high-performance ternary lithium battery pack.

The pure electric driving mode is prioritized to meet daily user demand for zero emissions and fuel consumption, with the electric driving range surpassing an estimated 100 km. In EREV mode, which leverages an on-board engine, the range increases to an estimated 700 km. This eliminates so-called “range anxiety” and opens a new chapter for inner-city mobility.

All-New Small Engines

GM’s all-new small-displacement Ecotec engines were developed based on an all-new architecture. They have a compact design, low fuel consumption and high performance, along with reduced noise and vibration.

The 1.0T and 1.3T engines that Buick will adopt in China integrate a host of advanced technologies, seven of which are being applied for the first time by GM. They include an innovative system that combines a turbocharger with twin injectors, an optimized single-cylinder architecture design and transfer balance technology. The boosted torque response increases driving pleasure.

Intelligent Transmission

GM has leveraged its global resources to create an all-new intelligent nine-speed transmission that was developed and validated globally, including on Chinese roads.

The compact, efficient transmission features a wider gear ratio range that extends to 7.6:1. Its first gear ratio is up to 4.69, enabling easy acceleration from a standstill, while the top gear ratio is as low as 0.62, achieving optimum highway cruising with a low engine RPM.

This design not only optimizes vehicle acceleration and fuel economy, but also reduces engine noise while cruising. The result is a smooth, refined gear-shifting experience at different speeds.

More Efficient Propulsion

From 2014 to 2016, the average fuel consumption of new Buick vehicles sold in China decreased by 20 percent. Last year, Buick launched the all-new LaCrosse Hybrid and hosted the world premiere of the Velite Concept, which serves as a template for future new energy vehicles under the brand’s Buick Blue strategy in China.

This year, Start/Stop intelligent engine technology will become standard equipment for the Buick lineup. By 2018, more than 80 percent of Buick engines will adopt turbocharging technology in China.

Buick is an international brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors and thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning models in North America and China. Buick has sold over 8 million vehicles in China since its introduction by SAIC-GM in 1998. More information on the Buick brand in China can be found at Buick Media Online.

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33 responses to "Buick Voltec To Launch In China This Year"

  1. mdstj says:

    they could sell a million in the US. WHY IS GM not willing to make smart decisions for the US market???

    1. ItsNotAboutMoney says:

      No they couldn’t. It’s still FWD and it’d still be priced like a Volt.

      And we’ll see whether it’s actually an EREV or whether it has the same heating limitation as the Volt.

      1. Taser54 says:

        My Volt has no heating limitation

        1. DJ says:

          Ya, what??

          This is just the gussied up Volt right??

          1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

            He may have modified his Volt to avoid ERDTT.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I haven’t seen any info whatsoever about any “heating limitation” with the Volt. Are you, perhaps, getting it mixed up with the Leaf, which does indeed have a problem with excess heat affecting the battery pack?

      3. philip d says:

        Heating limitation?

      4. Larry says:

        I am unaware of any exceptional heating limitation of the Volt – just reduced EV range, like all EV’s. Unlike other EV’s, you can set the ICE on “hold” and get all the heat you need – very helpful on really cold days. (So I’m not a purist – too bad.)

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          While I don’t agree with the post, I think he is referring to the engine coming on to help heat the cabin below 15F (when set to Very Cold or Deferred).

          This is not a limitation of GMs EREV technology, but rather a poor software choice by the programmers. Many people successfully bypass this limitation by modifying the resistor that detects the outdoor temperature, to fool it into thinking it is warmer outside.

          This sensors is separate from all the battery temperature sensors and hence not a risk to the battery to modify.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            What you’re calling a “poor choice” is a practical decision made by GM’s engineers: choosing to warm up the battery pack as quickly as possible by using heat from the ICEngine.

            Anyone who has experienced the loss of range from a BEV left outside overnight when it’s bitterly cold (and not on the charger) would be unlikely to call this a “poor choice” by the engineers. It’s also a very good choice with respect to regenerative braking. When the battery pack is very cold, it can’t accept much power from regen. So using the ICEngine to warm up the battery pack quickly helps it get more energy from regen, faster.

            Switching on the Volt’s ICEngine when the car is very cold, until the battery pack warms up, conserves as much as possible of the energy stored in the battery pack. Personally I’d call that part of GM’s superior PHEV engineering, and a job well done.

            If y’all want to denigrate that because you have a philosophical or ethical objection to burning even a small bit of gasoline, in favor of wasting a significant percentage of the energy stored in the battery pack, thereby shortening the Volt’s EV range, then of course you’re entitled to your opinion. But to call this a “poor choice” is at best nothing more than an opinion, and IMHO a rather questionable one.

        2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

          I refer to it as a limitation only in the sense of a useful definition of EREV. The engine on my Volt runs on some 1 mile trips. On those trips it’s not acting as a range extender, it’s running to overcome a heating limitation.

    2. alohart says:

      Because it’s too difficult and expensive to design fuel efficient cars that Americans would buy (that’s what GM is telling the E.P.A., anyway). But it’s apparently not too difficult or expensive to do so in China.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        ^^ this. Thank you!

      2. ClarksonCote says:

        I think you’re mixing up GM with Ford. Ford has, by far, been the most vocal against stricter emissions, with the CEO warning of a million lost jobs and the like.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Ford has nothing like Voltec. It was GM which created the brilliantly designed and superbly manufactured Voltec 1.0 powertrain, but then refused to put it into any of the various types of cars or light trucks which are best-sellers in the U.S. market.

    3. Bacardi says:

      As the article states, high odds it’s the Velite which is essentially a Volt with a different front and rear facsia…Now with it offer more options/features and/or will anything else be different? Too early to tell…100km with their testing cycle is the Volts current range…Might be interesting to see if they add the 1.0t/1.3t to it vs the NA 1.5 on the Volt…I can’t see the abandoning the 1.5 yet if the turbo engines can get the MPG of the Volt/Veilte to 50MPG that could be a huge boost and chips away the Toyotas MPG advantage…

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        If it was exactly like the Volt but with a more spacious rear seat, that alone would quite likely be enough to capture a larger market than the Volt has.

        Altho Voltec is a brilliant triumph of engineering, GM is very obviously limiting the vehicles it puts Voltec into; limits that to cars which won’t sell well, at least in the American market. Why would they do that? To justify to CARB and the EPA (before it was neutered by a Trumpster) the legacy gasmobile maker’s claims that “there isn’t a market” for EVs.

        It certainly looks like hypocrisy for GM to engineer more appealing cars for the Chinese! But admittedly this is a subject on which I’m biased, being an EV advocate. I’d be interested in reading any fact-based opposing opinions.

      2. Leeper says:

        Fuel efficiency gains with a turbo is offset with added running and maintenance costs. You have to run premium and oil changes require full synthetic. You also get hit with added weight of the engine due to all the extra piping and heavy duty internals to handl the extra pressures.

        1. Bacardi says:

          Honda’s 1.5Ts run on 87 octane and uses conventional oil…

          Generally automakers aren’t slapping on turbos to existing engines, they downsizing which lightens the load…I’m not saying a turbo is a guaranteed way to get the Volt/Velite to 50mpg…

  2. Leeper says:

    Nice start, how about an equinox phev?

    1. Bacardi says:

      Next will probably be the Sonic sedan followed by the Hybrid Malibu gaining a plug…Lastly the $100K+ E-Ray Vette…

    2. jm says:

      Or a GMC Sierra 1500 PHEV?

  3. Michael Will says:

    Safety costs money. What they sell in china would not get approved here.

  4. Ambulator says:

    From what I know of the Volt a more accurate name would be the Veheavy. It’s a nice car, I hope it sells well in China.

  5. georgeS says:

    There’s no reason for a sedan that size to have a gas engine. A larger SUV yes, this sedan no.

    1. Brian says:

      There is a simple and obvious reason: not enough public chargers.

      Not all places have taken steps to correct that or will for years to come.

  6. Dave86 says:

    It’s great that Buick has done so well in China. It’s smart for the brand’s image to put GM’s EV & PHEV technology into it’s vehicles, to help position Buick as a cutting edge technology brand.

    But why on earth did GM badge the Bolt & Volt as Chevys and not Buicks? In the USA Buick does not compete with BMW,Audi, Lexas, & Acura. I see Buick as a retirement persons brand. GM needs to repair Buick’s brand image in the USA so it can compete with likes of BMW & all, and badging the Volt & Bolt as Buicks would have been a good first step.

    1. Bacardi says:

      100% agree, the Volt was always an “exclusive” vehicle, a Buick is more exclusive than Chevy…

  7. bjrosen says:

    If it’s a Voltec drivertrain why is there a tranmission? The Volt has a clutch but no transmission, that one of the best features of the car.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      The transmission announcement seems separate from the EREV announcement, I don’t think they’re necessarily both in the same car.

    2. Ambulator says:

      The Volt has a transmission. In some modes it is a novel electrically continuously variable transmission.

  8. HVACman says:

    I’m curious if GM will ramp-up the Gen 2 Voltec power output or otherwise tweak the drive train, similar to what they did with the Gen 1 Voltec drive train for the ELR. They might also add the ELR’s Bose noise-cancelling technology to make for a quieter ride when in CS mode.

  9. Kdawg says:

    Where are they going to build this? Same place at the CT6 PHEV?