Buick has introduced a new variant of its best-selling electric vehicle in China, the Velite 6 compact wagon, giving it a new powertrain, a simplified range structure, and lower pricing.
While the current PHEV and BEV variants of the Velite 6 remain available, the new one gets a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack with a capacity of 50.3 kilowatt-hours, which enables a range of up to 267 miles (430 kilometers) on China's CLTC test cycle.
The new battery powers an front-mounted electric motor that delivers 174 horsepower (130 kilowatts) and 195 pound-feet (265 Newton-meters) of torque. There are no further details about the motor or other drive components.
The new Buick Velite 6 starts at $15,500 (112,800 yuan), which makes it really good value for a vehicle that measures 184 inches (4,673 millimeters) in length and offers a roomy five-passenger cabin and 16.1 cubic feet of trunk capacity. There's also a more expensive variant that starts at $15,900 (115,800 yuan) and adds a glass sunroof and backup camera.
New LFP battery aside, the low prices are also made possible by a simplified range structure. For example, the Velite 6 is only available in three body colors – silver, blue, and white – to simplify production.
In addition, the interior carries over almost unchanged from the existing Velite 6 Plus EV, featuring a 10-inch digital cockpit and a 10-inch central touchscreen incorporating Buick's eConnect technology. The Velite 6 also features a nano-level anti-PM2.5 filter element and automatic air conditioning.
Whereas US customers are still waiting for Buick's first EV, the GM brand offers no fewer than four battery-electric models in China: the Velite 6, the Velite 7 (essentially a rebadged Chevrolet Bolt EUV), the Electra E4, and the Electra E5. The Electra-badged models utilize GM's Ultium architecture.
The Buick Velite 6 remains the brand's best-selling EV in China, with the current model racking up 16,705 sales in the first seven months of 2023 – 61 percent of all Buick EVs sold. The Velite 6 competes with segment leader BYD Qin Plus EV, which posted over 66,000 sales in the same period, according to CarNewsChina.