Buick has announced it will introduce its first Ultium-based electric vehicle, a five-seat SUV, in China later this year.
Customer deliveries of the battery-powered model will start in the first half of 2023, with a second Ultium-powered electric vehicle to follow later in the year. This means Buick will have two Ultium-based EVs on sale in China many months before the brand's first EV in the US—also an SUV built on the Ultium platform—debuts in 2024.
"With the highly flexible Ultium platform at their core, the new models will play a strategic role for Buick in China's highly competitive EV market. They will start a new chapter in the brand's accelerated transformation toward electrification and intelligent mobility, reinforcing our commitment to bringing in the latest technologies to meet our customers' evolving needs."
Cesar Toledo, general director of Buick Sales and Marketing at SAIC-GM
Buick says the all-new electric SUV will be equipped with an advanced battery cell tailored for China and "apply GM's nearly wireless battery management system, supporting optimal performance." No other details were offered, but the automaker said it will release additional information about the new EV before the end of 2022.
Buick Electra E5
Now, the Buick electric SUV's design has already been disclosed by China's Ministry of Industry And Information Technology as part of the certification process for the local market. That's also how we learned the model's name is Buick Electra E5 and it is powered by a single-motor powertrain with a 241 horsepower—likely the entry-level trim.
Prototypes looking similar to the Buick Electra E5 have been spotted in Michigan in recent months, which may indicate that a US version is also in the works.
Buick's Ultium-based EVs offered in China—a total of five models through 2025—will feature enhanced Super Cruise driver assist technology as well as the new-generation Virtual Cockpit System jointly developed by GM and PATAC, GM's automotive engineering and design joint venture in Shanghai.
The new electric vehicles from Buick will be accompanied by the introduction of innovative sales and marketing services, the automaker says. By the end of 2023, up to 58 Buick EV City Showrooms will open across China and more than 600 Buick NEV Zones will open across the brand's local dealership network.
The automaker is also establishing dedicated Buick charging facilities and partnering with mainstream third-party charging operators to make available over 400,000 charging poles across the country by the end of 2023.
Buick already sells electric vehicles in China under the Velite nameplate, which currently includes the Velite 6 compact wagon and Velite 7 subcompact crossover.
Buick Electra E5