Following the snazzy Buick Enspire electric SUV concept, Buick also revealed two production cars bound for China. The Buick Velite 6 made its debut today in plug-in hybrid and battery-electric variants.
Buick said in the announcement that the two electrified cars are part of the brand’s growing “Buick Blue” new-energy vehicle strategy in China. Both models take design inspiration from the Velite concept car, which debuted in November of 2016.
The Velite 6 plug-in hybrid appears to share the Chevrolet Volt’s powertrain. Providing power are two AC permanent-magnet synchronous motors with a lithium-ion battery paired with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Comparing the Velite 6’s total range (gasoline engine and battery power), the car will travel 435 miles. That’s 15 miles more than the Volt’s 420-mile total range.
Perhaps the extra battery juice comes from what Buick calls a “next-generation” high-performance ternary lithium-ion battery pack. GM-SAIC will build the battery at its new Power Battery Development Center in Shanghai.
We reached out to Buick for comment on the potential relationship and an official spokesperson told GM Authority, “Neither the platform nor the propulsion system is shared with any products on sale in the U.S.”
The Velite 6 EV’s
powertrain propulsion method is shrouded in more mystery. Buick did not detail the car’s running gear but said the EV “will adopt a new-generation pure electric drive system to offer customers a smooth, quiet and natural driving experience.”
Stylistically, both cars look nearly identical. In the lead photo above, the Velite 6 plug-in resides on the left, while the EV sits on the right. We can see just a slightly slimmer grille for the battery-electric variant. We’re also having a difficult time pegging the vehicle’s overall size, though it looks like a slightly extended C-segment vehicle with plenty of cargo space at the rear.
They’re not the prettiest looking Buicks, though they do follow the Velite concept’s design ethos with a streamlined shape and wide stance. We almost see some 2018 Regal TourX in the cars’ side profile as well, but with more creases and sharp lines exaggerating the overall shape.
One neat trick the Velite 6 will have up its sleeve: a driver’s smartphone will serve as a virtual key to unlock and start the car. Buick plans to continuously add new features and functions alongside the phone-as-key technology, too.
The Velite 6 PHEV and EV will make their way to the 2018 Beijing Auto Show next week. The plug-in will launch in China later this year, while the Velite 6 EV’s launch is to be determined.