Exclusive Report: Next GM EV To Be Bolt-Based Buick Crossover

JUL 28 2017 BY JAY COLE 194

Report: Buick set to get all-electric crossover (akin to Encore design) based on Chevrolet Bolt EV platform!

Earlier this year, GM CEO Mary Barra said the new Chevrolet Bolt EV was not to be a standalone offering, “…the Bolt is our platform that we’re going to continue on and have a huge range of vehicles.”

Apparently, that first new Bolt-based EV will be a Buick crossover.


Chevrolet Bolt EV to underpin new Buick crossover

The information comes to us via a very trusted/known source who recently attended a focus group in California (which we might add was where the first foretelling of the Bolt EV took shape in August of 2014, and the production details on the 1st gen Chevy Volt was made known).

Thankfully, the source is a very knowledgeable person when it comes to electric vehicles, and the Bolt EV itself…and took lots of notes!

The reported future Buick EV Crossover is essentially an badge-engineering product at its heart (with some exterior modifications to give it a unique look), a first for GM inside the US market with a plug-in offering, but the Buick EV has a twist – it has all the features you wanted in the Bolt EV, but couldn’t get.

Like new seating, complete with power controls!

Update (photo below): A random slide in a November GM presentation revealed a unknown all-electric offering (which was subsequently removed).  We ask our source about this offering, and he confirmed that it was the exact same offering that he saw in person.

An InsideEVs source anonymous) was at a focus group this Summer, and confidently states THIS is GM’s next all-electric vehicle – a compact utility offering under the Buick badge

Of note: The Bolt EV is also known as the Opel Ampera-E in Europe, while the original Chevrolet Volt was badged as the Opel (Europe)/Vauxhall (UK)/Holden (Australia) Ampera, the new 2nd generation Volt is also sold in China – as the Buick Velite 5.

Report: The new Buick to be more than just a light re-badging experiment, and will feature its own distinctive look (Buick Velite 5 AKA Chevy Volt shown above)

The focus group was asked to rate the new Buick EV crossover in relation to other current plug-in offerings (which had their OEM badges removed, to eliminate brand bias we assume), such as the Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Niro PHEV, a photoshopped next-gen LEAF, the Tesla Model 3, BMW i3…and of course the Chevrolet Bolt EV itself.

Our source says his first impression of the Buick EV was that it looked “next generation Buick Encore-like”, and featured the same fundamental specs as the Bolt EV, such as the 60 kWh battery, but its appearance was considerably different.

“They asked questions like: “Does this look like an SUV to you?” and “Does this change your opinion of Buick?” Most people thought Bolt EV and the Buick were different vehicle types, some completely trashed Bolt EV and loved the Buick, so I guess the designers did a good job. The proportions on the Buick look very similar to an Encore or Trax.”

New Buick said to have the same ~238 mile range as the Bolt EV, but a little less giddy-up

Here are some additional details on the Buick EV crossover from the focus group discussion:

  • same 60 kWh battery and motor (FWD only)
  • roughly the same overall vehicle dimensions as Bolt EV, but 3″ more rear legroom
  • slightly slower acceleration: 0.4 more seconds to 60 mph
  • approximately $3,000 more than Bolt EV
  • premium and striking appearance: floating roof, aggressive LED lights
  • larger center touch screen – integrated tablet appearance, like Mercedes E-Class
  • dashboard stitching
  • dashboard flows into a tall center console, unlike Bolt EV’s minivan-like console
  • Honda/Acura-style PRNDL buttons instead of gear lever

Also of interest, the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s Orion, Michigan plant (which is currently adjusting production levels of the underachieving Chevrolet Sonic, and apparently increasing Bolt EV production), recently had produced the Buick Verano – essentially a optioned-out Chevy Cruze, but GM discontinued the car for 2018.

It would now seem that GM’s plan all along was to replace that Buick petrol car production for one with a plug.  Given the US focus group, and Buick’s presence in China, we assume North America and China to be logical places for the EV to ultimately be offered.

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194 Comments on "Exclusive Report: Next GM EV To Be Bolt-Based Buick Crossover"

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We all knew it, China is a bigger market and loves Buick…

An announcement on the day of the Model 3 final reveal. They couldn’t do otherwise!

It’s so obvious, it’s ridiculous. Also do a Volt drivetrain one too.

My other suggestion has been resurrect Saturn. Clean dealer slate and all.

Well then thanks China. A practical hatchback like the Bolt but adding the power seats and hopefully the dynamics cruise, both missing from the Bolt.

The FWD (vs. easy to achieve AWD) is a bit disappointing but FWD is snow worthy with good snow tires. You’d think they’d use the bigger frame for a 75 kWh battery pushing 300 mile range AND AWD considering Tesla’s experience that AWD is what customers want.

Good wintertires are more important than AWD !

Starting at $41,000. Getting closer GM. As much as I’d like a full BEV fleet. I think the wife won’t handle pure BEV. Now if you would make the equinox phev, I’d be first in line.

Equinox PHEV makes sense, that is why GM won’t do one.

Yes, we have been waiting for a Voltec Equinox since 2012.

I’ve been waiting for one since they announced the PHEV Saturn Vue at the same time as the Volt!

LOL nailed it. And I said this as a current (but reluctant) Equinox owner!

Yep, that could be a great car. I still think all the automakers are refusing to do it though since it cuts into their juicy thick profits for ICE SUVs.

Saturn VUE PHEV should have been launched but at this point, it is probably quite obsolete. Not enough battery.

Plus Saturn has been dead for quite some time! lol

Still sounds small from this article. How ’bout something a little bigger?

Agreed, if it’s just a re-skin of the Bolt to make it look more SUV-ish, there’s no point. We need a real mid-size SUV!

The Bolt has a 102″ wheelbase and is 164″ long. The Encore has a 100″ wheelbase and is 170″ long. If the new /CUV/BEV has at least a 102″ wheelbase and is at least 170″ long, it will be large enough/spacious enough for a lot more people than is the case for either the Volt or the Bolt.
This would be a big deal for GM. Much bigger than the Bolt ever will be. Probably bigger than the Volt as well.


Disagree about Bolt’s legacy though: first of all, this SUV and all other “relatives” will be part of the Bolt legacy.

Second, the Bolt can sell in heaps in Europe and Japan/Korea.

I hope GM starts sending Bolts overseas soon. Seems like you would want to send them where the demand is high. But this is GM we are talking about…

I agree. Especially, because GM chose to create an entirely new EV platform when they designed the Bolt. By doing the work up front, it’ll be simple for them to create different vehicles.

The real question, will it be built in the US or just imported from China?

Korea should eat the Bolt up. Whole place isn’t 200 miles across as pointed out in another thread. And it qualifies for the ‘home team’ discounts being the drivetrain is made there.

Fastest growing segment is compact Crossovers. Makes sense to make an EV Compact crossover. The Chevy Trax and Buick Encore are selling well.

My only comment is…. this isn’t a compact.

The Equinox at 183″ of length is compact. A Bolt at 164″ is a subcompact.

It’s too small. STRETCH the Buick as much as the platform allows, guys! Need more rear seat room AND more cargo space. You can’t hardly put one large suitcase standing up inside the Bolt behind the rear seats.

At least split the difference between the Bolt and Equinox in size. Trax/Encore is subcompact still.

Nobody needs SUV. Farmers maybe…

Odds of it receiving optional:
AWD/”homelink”/sunroof/power seats/non-pinching seats/supercruise?

I want 300 miles of range + AWD (like Ford’s 2020 EV SUV).

But improving the Bolt’s styling and badging it a Buick is a good first step.

Exciting news.

238 miles is not enough for me without SC. We take a 620 mile trip each way, interstate, twice a year. The Bolt would need two and probably three recharges along the way. Too much for a one day trip. A Tesla could do it easily with two 30 minute boosts. A bunch of SC along either of our two preferred routes. Hoping the Model 3 has enough ooomph to pull a pop up camper (1500 lbs).

A Tesla model S only adds (at best) 169 miles in a 30 minute charge. That’s if you aren’t sharing power and your pack is completely empty. Source: Tesla’s website.

I think you’ll find that to make that trip you end up charging more than 60 minutes. Probably a lot more. And that’s with a Model S 100D. A Model 3 could be more efficient, helping out, but it depends on the charge rate curve and initial range to know how long it would take.

Still, in a Bolt you’d be hard pressed (basically impossible) to get below 2 hours charging.

If you’re planning on pulling a camper count on charging a lot more.

Camper would be for short (10 – 50 mile) trips to the lake.

A Model S 100D can go 640 miles on 60 minutes of Supercharging. 300 miles on the first leg then two 30 minute, 170 mile fast charges.

Few people drive more than 600 miles in a day. I’m the exception to the rule.

Owning an SUV and all the extra cost etc for 2 trips a year is pretty dumb. Just rent a vehicle for those trips.

Exactly, people need to seriously consider renting. It really is quite affordable, especially if you rent from a non-airport location (the difference in cost can be 50%).


Call Enterprise they will pick you up.

For the cost of your battery upgrade you could just rent a car for those 6 weeks.

I guess there’s no chance they’ll add a towing option, but that would complete the deal for me. They couldn’t take my money fast enough.

Sadly the Trax and Encore are not rated for towing either in the US. Doubtful this Buick BEV will be.

The Cadillac XT4 PHEV probably will be, but expect it to be way more expensive than this!

I have a great idea for a name: Buick Electra. Have you heard that model name? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it and I thought it was good.

(Extra points to whoever gets the reference for the last three sentences).

Probably best for Buick not to revive the Elektra name. My recollections of the Elektra are that it was a huge land yacht favored by people in my grandfather’s generation.

I think that the Electra name has been out of use long enough that most people wouldn’t necessarily make the association. Years ago when gm knew that the Volt wasn’t going to hit the under $30,000 msrp, I had been saying that it should have been turned into a Buick. And it would have been awesome after bankruptcy if GM had moved to make Buick and electrified brand, then as the technology was perfected move it to cheaper Chevy models.

My thoughts exactly on all accounts. Been writing the same thing on Internet forums for years.

I don’t get the reference, but I’m old enough to remember the Buick Electra. Especially the classic Electra 225 convertible…..

Interesting that they had the focus group compare it only to other EVs. It shows GM still thinks of EVs as a separate segment, made up of “EV people”. That segment does exist, but it’s tiny. To get high volumes one must compete directly against gascars. But that means highlighting gascar downsides, which is counter-productive.

Making a cute ute version of the Bolt won’t help, because cute utes aren’t $40k.

European ones are. Buick isn’t Audi…but Audi only offers only a 14-mile PHEV, so …

Makes total sense. And bet this thing will be sold in China eventually.

Even though it is badge engineering, this Buick will probably offer options quite a few Bolt owners have been clamoring for (power seats, moon roof, etc). Albeit with a slight range hit.

I wouldn’t be too worried about a major range hit.

Despite a 238 mile EPA range, I start every day with 270 miles estimated. (310 max) Not incredibly slow speeds either. Between 40 and 60 mph the whole way.

Do not care about sunroof or power seats personally, but would love supercruise on my Bolt. I’m glad I leased, because I may end up buying a lightly used buick version instead at lease end!

Wade, sounds like you’re enjoying your Bolt. Good deal?
What’s your take on the seat issue? There’s a chorus ofcomplaints.
I’m not that small of a guy and haven’t been in one yet.

There isn’t as much of a chorus as it sounds like! But certainly some people do not like the seats. I find them perfectly fine. Better than my Spark EV seats were. The seats are not quite as comfy as our Volt, but the Bolt overall is more comfortable than the Volt.

Opinions do not seem to just come down to the size of the individual. I saw a photo posted on a forum where they compared the leather seats to the cloth ones at a dealer… from the photo, the leather appeard to have inadequate padding. So I examined my own leather seats, and mine looked closer to the cloth photo. Plenty of cushion. I wonder if there might have been quality issues with some of the early seats?

In any case, I would suggest trying it out for yourself without any expectations going in. Just be sure to drive it how you currently drive – for instance I always remove keys, wallet and phone before driving. You’ll know pretty quick if you find it comfortable or not.

I’ve found the EPA range for EVs can be conservative if you drive efficiently. I made a 85 mile round trip in my e-Golf with 15 miles left, when I should have not even made it back according to the EPA. Of course in other situations (harsh northern winters) you may only get half the EPA range.

I do too! I am an Uber driver and if the infrastructure is good, the Bolt is a perfect Uber vehicle. My charge of 270 miles goes for almost a ten hour day! I do a lot of freeway driving too! With L mode you can pick a hole accelerate into it and back off, and push the Cruise set button. If too close push the set button to reduce one mile per hour each push and if not fast enough, push the top button to increase one mile per hour.

That’s NOT what badge engineering is.

Cmon bro, you know better.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see the final product. I was just reusing the term in the article.

What is true “badge engineering? The Equinox/Terrain? Or Trax/Encore or Traverse/Enclave?

True badge engineering is what Chevy did with the City Express van. It took the Nissan NV van, slapped a Chevy badge on it, offered it for sale.

The only thing shared is the platform. The Bolt and the Encore aren’t even in the same class of vehicle. How is it badge engineering???

The Tesla S and X share a platform. Are they badge engineered too???

It’s obvious they will call it Buick “WOLT”

Saturn Cult? Pontiac Dolt? Hummer Jolt? Oldsmobile Molt?

I keed! I keed!

Big L ? L .

But it’s the Buick Jolt. There will be a Jolt Cola edition.

I know we’re doing a play on the Xolt theme, but moving beyond that, I think the Buick Surge has a good ring to it.

It’s like GM is “priming the pump” for EVs.

Bingo, Spider Dan!

My thinking of ‘Electra’ reminded me of when our President claimed that he created the term ‘priming the pump’. I’m sure I’m not the first one to think that Buick Electra would be a great resurrection of that nameplate. Ideally based on the LaCrosse platform-sized vehicle, IMHO, to compete with the Model S.

It’s honestly pretty ridiculous that Trump even in his little mind could somehow convince himself that he came up with the term “priming the pump”. I doubt the man has ever primed a pump in his entire life, so how could the term possibly occur to him?

Maybe “Buick Prime Electra” would be better. Prime, now that is a new word for a car. Buick Electra Pump is an option too.

Prime is already in use: the Prius Prime… but it wouldn’t be the first time an adjective in in a car was shared between different manufacturers. GM should go for it.

The Buick Gore, maybe? for those environmentalists out there. Brought to you by the company that originally named the EV-1 the Chevy Impact. ☺

Buick Patriot Prime Electra Pump Coal Country USA should be its official name –

I had a 1964 Buick Electra 225. A great automobile!

Same body size and wheelbase.

Seems like the Trax, and Encore do ok at their size. The Bolt already has a longer wheelbase than those. It has a longer wheelbase than the Honda HR-V and a fraction of an inch shorter than the Toyota C-HR.

Honestly the biggest criticisms of the Bolt have been front seats and plasticity interior. Sounds like both are fixed in the Buick. It also sounds like they are pretty far along with development. So it will probably be a late 2018 release. The big question is will AWD be an option?

Trax/Encore are 4″ longer and 2″ higher. The Bolt platform could support that, though range would suffer a little.

Trax/Encore MSRP are $21,000/22,900. That’s the real issue. You can’t charge almost twice as much for less functionality.

Agreed. I call it “Volt Syndrome”. If GM introduced Volt in 2011 as a $35,000 Buick with a $7500 tax credit, sales would have been brisk. It also would’ve helped a whole lot if they’d skipped the corny TV ads and just compared it to Prius. Now they’ll enter the market with a $48,000 Buick Bolt! I can see some success in China but nix in N. America, especially if it’s truly “badge engineered”. Possibly either the focus group leaker or the author doesn’t fully understand the term. Badge engineering refers to a process where a new grille and rear cap are slapped onto an existing model along with some new bits and labels inside. Then they attach a new name onto the model and market it as some new exciting car for another one of their brands. Perfect examples are the Ampera-e and Buick Velite. Apparently, GM was testing public opinion on how that would be received in the American market. If the new Buick does appear in the market with a new, longer body with as many changes as were described, it is a new model and not badge engineered. Verano was borderline badge engineered as it had… Read more »

I’ll add that GM bean counters probably sign off on the new steel body stamping which adds creases or “scuplturing” to the sides if they think they can sell a lot of these in China. Buicks sell nicely over there and I assumed this is why the Verano got the green light as well.

Verano tanked. You’d think that would weigh heavily on this decision.

Add that to the consumer reaction described in this focus group and my guess would be no lipstick on a Bolt for you!*

Pressure applied by Model 3 success could turn the tide, though. With that looming future of Model Y on the horizon… This Buick Bolt with a new body could appear just before the Y hits the scene.

Still, it’s GM small thinking vs. Tesla big market intention all the way. At some point, GM will just have to bite the bullet and MASS PRODUCE electric cars.

*N.American consumer

The Encore is an all new model so I doesn’t surprise me that they found a way to add more legroom however even if was the same model they could simply move the seats back 2″ and gain that extra 2″… You can check out the 2018 Regal and TourX as they’re all new models to get a pretty good idea of the design language but the big question will the hood/front end keep the same extreme rake? If so it’ll hinder sales due to having the geek/weird stigma attached to it…Look at the Enclave, it looks at least “good” and normal…But it does scare me that they were asked “does it look like a SUV?” which leads me to believe GM isn’t confident enough that it does…I don’t think if they had a focus group for the Enclave they asked participants if it looked like a SUV… I’d love to say that GM is learning that they made just about every wrong decision when selecting a limited featured vehicle to put their awesome EV drivetrain into, but I don’t think that…I think GM is doing this mainly for China and the United States second…We read right here within the… Read more »

Setting aside the fact that the Gen1 Volt was already the best-selling EV in the U.S. for most of its life, if $35K is the magic price point then why haven’t Gen2 Volts been flying off the shelf since release?

“Mass production” is not some sort of magic wand that allows you to instantly cut $10k off the cost of new technology.

They do ok only because they are the lowest priced crossover. Literally no other reason.

Take that away and they’d have ZERO sales.

ZERO sales you say?! Oh no! Somebody warn Buick before it is too late!!!

Something tells me the quiet, smooth ride and better performance will be a good upsell. 🙂 Especially after tax credits.

Another plug-in offering from a manufactuer is a fail? Interesting take.

Hey bro. I’m a fan of gm ENGINEERS. Gm mamagement NOT. Gm could have had a success on their hands if they put this power train in a more desirable body. Now all they have done is re badge it and charge more money for it. Its already too expensive. I guess management never learns. This is what they did with ELR. Maybe it will sell in china

Don’t you think we should at least wait to see what it looks like, and how many it seats, before pronouncing it a failure?

I’d rather hope for the best here. Perhaps GM will finally make a compelling PEV (Plug-in EV) with wide appeal. And ditching the Chevy badge might well help sales! Putting a Chevy badge on a MSRP $39,995 car is crazy.

I agree with George, because if you read my posts above – either of those moves would be destined to fail because of MSRP.

It’s scale and only scale that can produce good margins for an electric car. Without good margins. GM is playing games not entering a marketplace to do serious business.This Turkey Buick could end up with a near or over $50,000 pricetag depending on how extensive the redesign. Banking on China success didn’t pan out for Verano.

This is why George brings up ELR – a total “what the hell were they thinking?!” move by GM.

Notice the predictable GM pattern. This Buick shows up 9 months to 1 year before Tesla’s Model Y crossover. GM gets their, “we did it first!” press PR and they move on,producing high margin trucks…”NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS, MOVE ALONG!”.

Tesla needs to break the logjam. GM will be forced to build affordable EVs in non boutique numbers.

Encore is bigger than the Bolt. Far roomier inside.

But it drives like a Buick. Basically made for people who are afraid of driving.

The specs say differently. The Bolt wins in almost all categories except rear headroom.

Not clear how a more expensive Bolt is going to compete with a model 3. GM needs to be reducing the cost to remain competitive. You would think they would learn from the ELR fiasco. There isn’t going to be much interest in a more expensive but less functional car that only looks cooler.

Let’s be honest if the Bolt would have looked like the prototype more, the Encore or the Trax the Model 3 would struggle. And personally I still don’t see the model 3 selling more than 100k. Nobody is in a hurry to buy a sedan right now.

Wow, if you really think this you may be a bit out of touch with the market for a technologically advanced car that supports a well designed charging network!

“…if the Bolt would have looked like the prototype more, the… Model 3 would struggle.”

You are claiming the Model 3, with a production target of 400,000 per year, with wildly enthusiastic coverage from the media, would “struggle” against a car which is being made by an auto maker who doesn’t advertising it, most of whose dealers don’t want to sell it, doesn’t have control of its own battery supply, and is targeting only ~30,000 units of production per year?

Ummmm… No. Just no.

The Bolt looks very much like the concept version of the Bolt.

There’s only 3 differences:

Smile grille instead of open mouth
Black hatch treatment.
No floating C pillar.

These amount to almost nothing. I can’t see why one would think this styling change amounts to much of a difference in Bolt sales.

The Bolt concept also had a glass roof, which looked fantastic. But I’m actually glad they did not do, Although I wish they’d have added a moon roof.

The concept was blocky, with a butch stance, fat chunky wheels and wide rocker panels, pug nose, wraparound rear glass and glass roof. It was masculine yet cute, futuristic yet slightly retro. Fantastic. The production vehicle is generic Euro/Asian tall hatchback, rounded and spindly, with the extreme upward rake of a second generation Dodge Neon and a couple of chrome spears thrown in. The dimensions and number of doors may be the same, but the styling of the two could not be more different.

When I told people I was thinking of getting a Bolt, they’d Google it and see an image of the show car. “Oh!” they’d exclaim, pleasantly surprised. Then I’d help them find an image of the production car. “Oh,” they’d say, disappointed.

I know they probably added the rounded edges, bulbed-out beltline etc. for good aerodynamics, but I’d trade 15 miles of range for the show-car styling.

“Not clear how a more expensive Bolt is going to compete with a model 3.”

Perhaps it’s not at all intended to compete directly. After all, GM’s response to the news that Tesla was going to put the Roadster into production was to put the original Volt into production. Not a lot of cross-shopping there!

Selling a ton of Buick EV’s in China with the same battery pack and powertrain will sure as heck reduce costs.

Definitely potential here to increase volumes on the Bolt’s power train.

It’s not really clear yet whether the Model 3 is actually going to be cheaper. That being said, I suspect a price cut is in the near future for the Bolt, to at least $35K MSRP. And I agree that GM needs to try to reduce the price if they want more sales (it’s possible right now they don’t).

To clarify, we don’t know yet whether the $35K model will be widely available, or how soon it will be available, and also whether the base model is so stripped down that the defacto cost is more like $40K.

Wow, totally in line with my op-ed yesterday… I hope this is right and that they are quick to market with it

Then the Bolt can be predominantly for export.

There is no charging infrastructure in most of America, they need to Examine the BMW i3 REX too.

There is tons of charging in America. What is lacking is infrastructure between cities.

And even that is likely to change by time this is likely to reach the market.

There’s no need to examine the i3 REx when it is inferior to GM’s existing Voltec in nearly every way: less powerful, less efficient, more expensive.

Your op-ed light a fire underneath GM. Good reading, thanks!


Congratulations, Assaf! Well done.

When I said that nobody had a working crystal ball… perhaps I was wrong. 😉

I keep telling people that the Bolt is a Trax/Encore without AWD and a shorter front end. 😛 Looks like theyre giving this Buick traditional SUV/Crossover styling so people get the message that it has crossover utility in a compact body.

I just wrote a reply to Pushmi regarding the XT4 plug-in hybrid and how GM is proud of and better positioned to build EVs than most traditional automakers. Where was this article then! lol

If it is truly similar to the Buick Encore they will have a hit on their hands if it has 200+ miles of AER, and I can’t see how it would have much less than 220.

At mid to high $40,000s up to over $50,000 with no AWD and near subcompact size? I doubt it.

It still is all about MSRP. Buick branding or not.

Volt would sell near Prius levels if it cost in the $20,000s.

Price matters. Look at the sales numbers. Now that used Volt’s are in the market for $13,000 – $20,000 I’m seeing gen 1s all over.

Remember,that tax credit will be history by the time e-Encore arrives.


Love the design.

The picture at the beginning of this article is a gas powered Buick Encore.

I know.

What else does the article indicate?

Makes sense. The Bolt is clearly already derived from the Encore/Trax anyway. It shouldn’t take much to re-encorify it a bit.

As to “features I want but I can’t get on the Bolt”. I think that list would start with adaptive cruise. LED lighting comes up soon after. I’m sure a lot of people would like memory seats too, but it isn’t an issue for me.

Shifter buttons is the way to go. I don’t know why GM still has a lever on the console. Get me that center console space back. Either shifter buttons or a column shifter.

I basically agree with everything except LED lights, while a nice to have, people are saying “I’d totally would have bought a GM EV/PHEV if it only had LED lights”…

Remember the “standard” margin on higher trims and optional features is 50% which and sometimes the optionless base can be a “loss leader”…Give the thing supercruise even if it’s a $12K option…

I’m not saying I would have bought it if it had LED lights. I already bought it.

But there’s no reason not to have LED head and taillights. LEDs are much cheaper than HIDs. And they should be cheaper than projector incandescents (but I’m not sure). The only reason to still have HIDs is because makers of HIDs have their equipment better amortized already. They can cut their margins easier.

With the “real shifter” GM said they wanted a “regular car you can drive”; don’t worry, sales show GM usually make the worst possibly decisions…

Well, at least it is only $3,000 more than a Bolt EV. Hopefully they won’t be making the same pricing mistake as they did with the Cadillac ELR.

GM has never failed to disappoint us on every EV/PHEV offering…

The only way they can get it right is to offer a 2WD “ECO” version without power seats, etc to satisfy the green crowd then on the AWD Premier offer every imaginable GM option including cooled seats and supercruise…

Two of the most awarded cars in GM’s history “never fail to disappoint.”

Perhaps your expectations are unreasonable.

My expectations are simply, I’d want to pull up to a valet stand and have them smile at me…

Interesting; this prompted me to look it up — out of three similarly-sized badge-engineered Gamma II cars (Sonic, Trax, Encore) the Encore sells the best and sales are rising (where as sales are falling for the Sonic and appear level for the Trax).

This looks like a good badge-engineering move for the BoltEV platform.

Some of you don’t understand the term, “badge engineered”. See my posts above. Just because vehicles are built upon the same platform, they are not badge engineered – even if they share the same drivetrain. Trax, Sonic and Encore all have different bodies. This is much more than a badge.

Where you are correct is if GM ultimately decides to sell Bolt in China as a Buick – An Ampera-e with a Buick badge, essentially.This could be what they eventually decide to do. Focus groups are obviousy no guaranty of what direction a company will take.

I’m thinking the success of Model 3 (or the opposite) will largely dictate what the General does with this e-Encore concept. Naturally, if the M3 succeeds the Model Y crossover is not far behind.

Well I’m not sure what badge engineering is exactly but if you use the same drivetrain and put a prettier skin around it and sell it for more money then you did it right. Chevy just doesn’t have as nice of a look as Buick for nearly everything and Buick is considered more upscale even if that isn’t factually true (or is) so they can demand the premium. China and Buick seem to be wedded.

A rebadged Bolt EV headed to the China market. The US needs a REAL BEV SUV.

If it was only headed to China they wouldn’t be doing focus groups in California.

I agree on the need for a proper SUV, because I live on a hobby farm and actually need to tow and deal with a real winter… but the funny thing about American consumers is they seem to want “SUV” shape but without SUV capability. It’s ridiculous really, driving around oversized tank cars that steer wide and tip easier, but can’t tow, have s**** clearance, and waste gas.

It’s hard to buy anything in a small SUV/SUV form factor that actually has utility. Equinox isn’t rated for towing until you go up to their biggest engine.

Only Mazda CX-5 does the deed (rated for 2000lbs) from my search so far.

I want a BEV or PHEV vehicle in this class.. but really would prefer if it can tow and has decent clearance. Something like a Subaru outback with a battery.

Have you seen the new Buick TourX? Reminds me of the Subaru Outback. I would love to see a Voltec Buick TourX with 40 EV miles and 40 mpg.


I just looked, seems like a station wagon to me. But, I’m an old guy, so take that into consideration.

Hadn’t heard of it, and here’s why: “2018 Buick Regal TourX Will Not Be Available In Canada”


Focus groups are far cheaper than initiating an entirely new vehicle program. L 🙂 L.

Consumer data acquisition only indicates that a company is considering several options.

If it were China only that would make very little sense to do an american focus group. But I guarantee they will sell this in china as well.

Headed to? More likely it will be built over there and exported to the US since demand for Buicks in Chi-na far exceeds demand in the US.

In 2015, 80% of global Buick sales were in China.

“Rebadged”? You don’t know the meaning of what you wrote.

“Also of interest, the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s Orion, Michigan plant (which is currently adjusting production levels of the underachieving Chevrolet Sonic, and apparently increasing Bolt EV production), recently had produced the Buick Verano – essentially a optioned-out Chevy Cruze, but GM discontinued the car for 2018.”

Despite cries of the Bolt EV being a failure, the Bolt is currently outselling 2-1 or 3-1 the Buick Cascada, Regal and Verano. Numbers for the Bolt will be very similar to the Buick LaCrosse next month I think. (in the 2000 -2500 range) And I believe the Bolt msrp is more expensive than all of their entry level models.

If they can get this Buick out in the US by next spring… in time for the limitless tax rebate period as Chevy hits 200k plug-ins… 😀

Plus the incredible success of the Encore for Buick… this could be a very successful addition to GMs lineup!

Let’s try selling them in all 50 states and all Canadian provinces for starters…

At that, your numbers are more of a statement that those Buick models have tanked rather than Bolt EV being a zuccess.

The legroom is already fine on the Bolt EV, this Buick should just be about 2-3″ wider.

More crucially, a foot longer at the back.

Then it becomes a direct competitor to the most successful vehicle class in the current US market: “compact SUVs”.

Assaf, I agree. Give us 10 inches longer in the back for our sporting stuff.

Overall, this new ev sounds like great news.

M3 - Reserved Niro -TBD

Absolutely. Trunk space for suburban stuff is needed — give enough to pile in a standard cooler (= 2 suitcases) and basic beach/camp gear for four for a day

Develop a plug to access the 60kwH battery for entertainment –stereo, fan, lights

This will KILL the market.

Sounds like an EV version of my Ford C-Max Hybrid, which is an AWESOME car camping vehicle. Yes: it’s crazy for GM to have a high voltage battery but no 120 volt outlet to blow up that air bed, recharge those devices, etc., and to have a big rear hatch but not much length behind it (although the depth of the Bolt’s cargo area is great: YouTube user newscoulumb’s got a video where he unloads his fully packed C-Max into his new Bolt and everything fits just fine).

Lest we make the mistake thaf any ICEmaker really wants to sell EVs that directly compete with their gas models.

A fun study is to watch how adroitly every legacy carmaker performs the task of positioning electrified product as to not overlap it’s high margin gas products. They don’t want you to compare apple’s to apples.

The Encore is Buicks biggest selling product.

Followed by the envision, enclave and lacrosse.

What margins are higher? Not sure. But by next year, margins may actually be higher on a BEV encore than a gas one.

I’d say a BEV Encore-sized crossover is a head to head apples to apples comparison.

It will cost 10,000 more than a similarly optioned gas Encore. But if they can get it out next year… with tax rebates and better performance than the standard encore… I can see it being a hit for Buick.

Jean-François Morissette

Any hint at when this could be available? Late 2018? Or sooner?

I bet it is unveiled at the 2018 NAIAS. Assuming that’s the case, expect it sometime late 2018/early 2019.

News flash- the Buick name is HUGE in China. EV sales are REQUIRED in China (like California and the 9 other CARB-ZEV states).

Guess where this will be primarily sold?


I don’t really get the Buick craze in China. How did it become such a desired brand?

Buick used to be a respected name in the US too. It was mid-range but considered closer to a Cadillac than a Chevy. Apparently GM managed to keep the brand relevant in China.

My big question always was – where did Oldsmobile fall into GM’s lineup? Halfway between Buick and Cadillac?!!! 🙂

Naturally, that’s why Olds is now history.

Hopefully, this new Buick EV is a new model, not badge engineered. American companies have now sworn off ever falling back into their old 1980s ways. Back then, a Chevy Citation looked just like a Caddy Cimarron with Buick and Pontiac versions tossed in as insult to the American auto buyer. That was the era of American badge engineering, which is ironic because marketing guys and beancounters cannot really engineer anything!!!

Gee, I wonder why it failed and GM, Ford and Chrysler nearly died?!

Badge engineering does work well overseas. Folks on other continents could care less if their car is sold as a Chevrolet somewhere far away.

Don’t forget Pontiac!

GM had some brand diarrhea for awhile. They could still get rid of one more. Drop Chevy trucks and just do GMC…what??? That’s what Dodge did. Parsed out all their trucks into rebadging them as RAM. When there used to be GMC/Buick dealers and those were different than Chevy/Pontiac dealers maybe but the financial crisis caused a great deal of badge consolidation on the same dealer lots. They could just make all the Chevy dealers that still exist without being GMC (if such a thing exists anymore) a GMC franchise.

IIRC the ladder was supposed to go Chevy, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Cadillac. You started out life with a blessedly affordable Chevy. You became a bit of a hotshot yuppie and got a faster, flashier Pontiac. You got married and had responsibilities and got a plusher, more adult Oldsmobile. You got promoted to regional manager and got a Buick: the Cadillac for the working rich, and understated old money. You wanted to show off, you got a Cadillac, the glitzy standard of the world. Obviously that all fell apart starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The first years of wage stagnation combined with brand loyalty meant brand meaning was diluted (quick, we need a Buick version of the Nova!). The popularity of Japanese cars and demand for quality at all price points decimated GM’s low end (quick, let’s rebadge Isuzus and Toyotas as Geos while we try to make our own equivalent as Saturn!) while yuppies’ move toward European cars on one hand decimated GM’s high end (quick, let’s buy Saab!), and their embrace of the SUV craze on the other saved GM’s bacon (quick, let’s reposition GMC from fleet-order Chevy pickups to a premium SUV brand!). Sounds crazy, but… Read more »

“The last emperor of China, Pu Yi, owned at least one Buick in the 1920s.”

It was one of the few “luxury” brands of cars in China in the late 20’s and 30’s. It was a symbol of wealth there and it kept that reputation right up til today. And if you see the cars that Buick builds in China, you would kind of understand why. The paint jobs that Buicks get is pretty amazing, for instance. You walk by a parking lot of VW’s, Chery’s, Dongfengs and Nissans and they all look ok, then you see this Buick and it is just gleeming like a gem alongside gravel.
Odd fact, back in the 1930’s, the Royal Family of the UK actually owned a couple Buicks.

For one thing, the Chinese apparently love big flashy grilles. Prominent grilles are perhaps the most obvious mark of a Buick. Also, the Chinese love foreign car brands because, frankly, the build quality and quality control on their domestic brands suck. I understand BYD has recently improved on the latter a lot, but likely other Chinese brands have not, and it takes awhile for any brand to shed a bad image once acquired.

That’s why they had US focus groups.

GM filed to trademark the “Buick Electra” name back in 2012. According to some quick Google research, a trademark application, once granted, is good for 10 years. I wonder what this Buick-Bolt variant will be called. 🙂


The Buick Electra was in production from the 60s till the 90s, so I’m not sure how GM didn’t own the trademark long before then.

Hey, I wrote that piece! ?

It does dovetail quite nicely with their SUV nomenclature, doesn’t it?





Or will they want another E+n name?





The Buick Endo might be a faux pas like when they named Bolt/Volt/Bolt or the original name for tbe EV-1, the Chevrolet Impact!!! ? True story!

Will it have 150kW DC fast charging or not?
Any car offering without it will be as dead in sales as the Bolt is already.

“Will it have 150kW DC fast charging or not?
Any car offering without it will be as dead in sales as the Bolt is already.”

No it will probably not have 150 kW DC fast charging.

And also, no it will not fail.

And neither has the Bolt.

This car does not threaten Tesla. It doesn’t need to.

But it is a positive result of Tesla’s goal to expand EV availability across the entire industry.

People should be proud of the contribution and influence Tesla has had. And also able to recognize the contributions of others. 🙂

No, it probably won’t. It’s only a 60kWh pack. That would be a very fast charge rate compared to the pack size (which is how you properly measure it).

Tesla’s 60kWh packs never charged much more quickly than the (rumored) max charge rate of the Bolt pack, around 60kW.

These higher charge rates will be more employed to allow cars with bigger packs to be charged in a reasonable time then to charge smaller packs (like existing packs) in 15 minutes.

Remember, people want EV SUVs. And SUVs are less efficient so will need larger packs. We’re going to see bigger and bigger packs for a while. In order to keep “fast” charge rates from shooting out to 2 hours we need faster chargers. And that’s what these 150kW and up chargers will be fore.

As long as they don’t try gouging people an extra $750 for the DCFC option (whatever it is), it will be a success.

Charging speed, while important won’t have a huge effect on sales…Very few households do not have routine access to an ICE vehicle…Most single people who go on road trips beyond the range wouldn’t bother with an EV and if they do, it’s a Tesla…

Where do people come up with this stuff?

If it were offered today. This is what I would get to replace my eGolf. I’ve never been a GM fan and definitely not Buick, but it would be a compelling offering compared to everything out there right now.

Make it 2×80 kW motors with a tow hook and they have a winner.

GM already has 105kW SparkEV motor and 150kW Bolt motor, why introduce yet another motor at 80kW? Better is 105kW SparkEV motor in front for efficiency, and 150kW Bolt motor in rear for power. Even 2 X 105kW SparkEV motor would be great for lower cost option.

As former Spark EV owner, an AWD traction (dual motor would be a bit overkill) is what I wish the most (with longer EV range) when you have so much instant torque available, instead of being limited by a FWD + traction control.

“Torque without adequate traction is meaningless” or something like that 🙂

Because the battery doesn’t like high discharge rates. 2×80 is more than plenty already.

Agree but also not enough has been said about the advances in electric motor packaging and efficiencies along with inverter changes. This seems to be changing as fast as battery tech. Any new SUV probably needs fresh designs on the electrical stuff.

If you’re worried about battery wear, why even 2X80 kW? 2X40 kW or even 2X25 KW would be enough to get on the highway. Maybe Leaf people like it, but GM already has far more powerful motors, no need to create weaker ones, and then have to keep inventory, etc.

2X80 is only 10kW more than what Bolt makes already. Considering SparkEV has 5.7C discharge rate, 250 kW using 60 kWh battery is only 4.2C, low end of most EV like i3 and Tesla. Quite simply, having to create another weaker motor makes no sense when the current systems far outperform 4.2C.

This is a natural evolution of the Bolt as they will eventually have to continue to build more and more EV/PHEV options.

It all goes back to the reality that there will need to be as many different sizes and shapes of EV’s/PHEV’s as there are ICE cars. People will demand the same wide variety of choices that currently support literally thousands of different models and trims of cars from car makers around the world.

I’m sure this won’t be everybody’s choice, the same as not everybody would choose to buy an F-150 (despite it being the best selling vehicle in the US). It will take a number of years before there is the amount of selection for EV’s and PHEV’s that there are for ICE vehicles currently.

I’m still a fan of Bob Lutz

Conversions are dead at this point. If they actually start selling, the OEMs will release their own version & undercut them.

Oh…and Lutz is a putz. Man-made climate denier that lead GM into bankruptcy.

Loyalty is a fine quality. 🙂

But even the tiny niche market for EV conversion vehicles is disappearing, as more and more EV cars and commercial vehicles are put into production.

Bob needs to find a new gig.


Please Please Please in “roughly the same overall vehicle dimensions as Bolt EV, but 3″ more rear legroom” include about 50% more storage space behind the 2nd row. One can hope.


Hopefully they recognize this obvious need, and it was just left out of the participant’s notes

Hay Elekrta is what we named our model X. Quote we have heard several times: “That’s not a Buick”

Hey, I guess someone at GM read all our comments suggesting that the Volt should have been a Buick! 😛

But seriously, if this is the PHEV crossover they were talking about making when the Volt 2.0 is retired, which won’t be for five years… Well, it’s kinda hard for me to feel much excitement about a car that isn’t going to appear for five years. And in five years, it likely won’t have much impact on the EV revolution. In five years, it will be just another “me too” EV.

Buick BEV absolutely needs to include Level 3 fast charging capability . . no new US market BEV should require the owner to camp out at a slow Level 2 charger for 3-4 hours.

Level 3 charger capability should be standard in all EVs, and particularly in a Buick badged EV.

Except in China I don’t see any reason making the Bolt a Buick would make a big difference. Calling it a crossover might. Of course Chevy already does that. We just ignore them when they do.

Some of the other changes have merit but like other changes that increase price I can’t see why they would increase sales. Increased price usually means less sales. Of course having a higher and lower and model (a Chevy and Buick) can easily increase total sales.

Maybe GM wants to sell EVs to the old geezer demographic that likes Buicks?

Let’s see them come out with an Impala with the Bolt EV drivetrain.
That would be a 300 mile range car.
Boot the DC charge limit to 80kW, sell at same price as the Bolt EV.
And watch as EV’s take over the new car market.

It wouldn’t though, first sedans are falling out of favor including ICE Impala sales and both the Malibu and Cruze outsell it by a lot, some months over ten times as much…

The Equinox is the Chevy vehicle that would do, by far, the best…However it needs to offer AWD, allow for some towing and be priced right…They don’t need to use expensive aluminum nor create a whole new EV specific interior, just find a way to put the Bolt EV powertrain into the existing ICE Equinox…

It is interesting that this news “leaked” on the day of the Model 3 reveal.

Coincidence? 😉

Very suspicious.

Does anyone care about Buick?? I’m not too sure I’ve ever seen one, and my idea of a Buick is basically even worse than that of any other pre-existing Tesla American car, which is to say a cheap but inferior, inefficient, dangerous heap of junk.

“my idea of a Buick is basically even worse than that of any other pre-existing Tesla American car, which is to say a cheap but inferior, inefficient, dangerous heap of junk.”

BOY you sure have strong opinions about the car brand considering you have never seen one. 😉


3rd most reliable car brand behind Lexus and Toyota. Nice cars. Kinda boring. The only one I have driven recently was the lacross eassist hybrid when we were shopping around before buying a Volt. Was a pleasant drive with a nice interior. Gas mileage and performance were good but not great.


Cutting down Buick will not make the POS you drive any better.

Most Buicks are either redbadged high-trim Opel models from Europe, or plush restyles of large North America-only GM vehicles.

Exactly like how most Acuras are either rebadged high-trim Euro-model Hondas, or plush restyles of North America-only Hondas.

Buick and Acura compete for a vanishingly thin entry-luxury slice of the market. Generally Acura’s the sportier one, Buick’s the plusher one.

Buicks are nice: extremely quiet and smooth, handsomely styled, and they routinely tie with Lexus for the best initial quality of any North American car.

Also I wonder why the delay for a AWD/Dual Motor? Perhaps GM already knew years ago that you can gain range with two motors and if they didn’t, they certainly did on the Tesla reveal…They should have immediately put tremendous efforts into making dual motor a reality…It’s inevitable GM will offer a dual motor EV, the Bolt EV was fast tracked but it’s now being built…GM needs to fast track dual motor as doing so would allow for some Bolt EV variants to help boost sales…That would be an AWD SS, lowered with a firmer suspension and a more “rugged” AWD raised Z71 variant…Creating either variant requires very little effort compared to creating an all new model…

Wow! Not even a day since I said the Bolt Lt would be the last sensible EV sold in the US. Power seats. How did we live without them? 🙂

Model Y contender or pretender?

Good news. Now Buick will also start selling Bolt like vehicle in China. Hope GM will soon ship Bolt to Korea since 1/2 the parts for Bolt comes from there.

Just 1 more thing, Bolt sales expands to all states in August, so lets wait until then.
I am hoping that Bolt sales will cross 2,000 mark.

Slower than a Bolt? Model Y will crush it.

I’m getting sick of GM’s half-assed EV attempts. Stop making very, very good cars and start making great cars!

Does the world really car about GM’s EV’s? Tesla now has over 500k reservations on their model 3. They have to find a way to produce them quickly. GM can barely sell the Bolt.

If this gives you better seats, a nicer dash, and a slightly bigger and more SUV-looking body and stance, that’s excellent, as it addresses common objections to the Bolt, and not incidentally beats the Tesla Model Y to market. Merge the pretty but miserable-driving Encore my wife likes, with the dorky but great-driving Bolt EV that I like, size it up and butch it up just a bit, and you will have a hit in my household and many others. But as essentially the luxury version of the Bolt, the Buick CANNOT be a little slower and have a little less range than the Bolt. Completely unacceptable. The upgraded version of the Tesla Model 3 has almost 100 miles more range and almost 1 second faster 0-60 acceleration than the base model. Granted, that upgrade is a *lot* pricier than the $3000 premium over the Bolt they’re talking about here. Fine, charge however much more you need to in order to squeeze another row or two of battery pouches in there so it can go faster and further than the Bolt, even if only by a nose, because nothing is more annoying — and evocative of customer-contemptuous “old GM” —… Read more »

How did you get into the focus group?
I’ve always wanted to get into one of these EV Focus groups.

I know this post will probably get buried but is Buick considered a separate manufacturer from Chevrolet? Will Buick EV’s be eligible for the $7500 federal tax credit after Chevrolet has already reached its 200,000 unit mark? Or will Buick EV’s and Chevrolet EV’s be added together under GM to reach 200,000?