Last GM Brand Pledges All-Electric Future
Buick has become the last of GM’s four brands has finally laid out some of its electrification plans, showing off a concept car, a new logo and pledging to be all-electric by the end of the decade.
Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC all have electric products on sale or soon to be in Cadillac’s case. GM is betting heavily on the market turning to EVs as it fields a variety of products ranging from the Chevrolet Bolt to the Cadillac Lyriq to the GMC Hummer EV. Buick’s electric line, which will have its first product in 2024, will use a historic but fitting name from the brand—Electra.
The Buick Wildcat EV concept (using another historic brand name) showcases the design language that will be used in the Electra line. The fastback 2+2 coupe bucks the industry trend toward sport utility vehicles. The Buick brand has evolved in recent years has become all crossovers, lacking any sedans in its lineup since 2020.
Prominent front and rear on the Wildcat is the new tri-shield logo, the first updating of the Buick logo in 22 years. It will be found on production models starting next year.
The four-passenger Wildcat itself is not intended for production, according to a Buick spokesperson, but its aggressive design is supposed to signal the design direction of the brand. The first Wildcat model appeared almost 70 years ago, but it didn’t have the wild features of this version. Many of the concept car’s traits are not expected to make it to production, such as the “semi-swing doors” that provide easier entry and exit, but make the Tesla Model X’s problematic gull-wing doors look simple. No details on the powertrain or chassis were given.
Inside the Wildcat
Given Buick’s strong sales in China and that country’s aggressive move to electric vehicles, it’s not surprising that some of the interior features appear to reflect elements more attuned to what might be expected in a Chinese showroom. For some reason there is a massive interior console that runs the length of interior, a legacy design element usually eliminated in EVs since there is typically no need for a front-to-rear driveline since electric motors are typically placed on each axle (or in the hub) to deliver power more efficiently.
The interior also features graphic and color contrasts to create a perception of visually floating elements. Legato Green (color) is found throughout the cabin, accented by brushed or polished aluminum. Orange elements, such as the seat belts, provide a contrast to the green. Cockpit-style seats add a retro-future feel to the cabin.
A sweeping touchscreen provides access to the car’s technology, which includes integration with future artificial intelligence, biometrics and aromatherapy. The vehicle is programmed to detect an elevation in the driver’s heart rate and automatically adjust vehicle settings to calm things down. When the car’s Zen Mode is evoked, it will dim the cabin lights, disperse calming aromatherapy scents and activate massaging seats.
Coming—But Not Too Soon
Buick, which has been selling electrified models like the plug-in hybrid Velite in China for several years, won’t get its first EV in the U.S. until 2024, but a spokesperson said no new internal combustion engine vehicles would be introduced after that point. The spokesperson did not hint what configuration the first model would be. That model will be the first wave of a transformation that will turn Buick into an all-electric brand by 2030. That would align it with the timeline of Cadillac’s EV transformation, but ahead of GM’s overall pledge to sell only full electric models by 2035.
The new Buick logo—the first revision since 1990—will arrive ahead of the first Electra on non-electric vehicles. When the EVs arrive, like most GM electrics, they will be built on the Ultium battery platform that underpins the Lyriq, Hummer and upcoming Silverado, Equinox and Blazer. It looks like the electric Buicks will be the foundation for the rebirth of the near-luxury brand in its 121st year.
Story by Michael Coates; photos by Buick.
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