Velite by Buick gets a second chance at life with a brand new electric concept vehicle
- The Velite was designed by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center
- The joint-venture is commanded by Buick parent organization General Motors and China-based industrial partner SAIC.
The Buick Velite two door convertible made its first appearance a little over twelve years ago. If memory serves me it was the 2004 New York auto show. That concept never went anywhere, but now the multinational company has taken the wraps off another show car bearing the name Velite. Unveiled at the Guangzhou auto show in China, the latest Buick Velite is a four-door crossover. The new concept calls a theme for future alternative-energy automobiles it plans to produce.
Although the Velite’s name may ring a bell for those with a strong remembrance of Buick show cars, the styling is definitely 2016. It’s more of an instantly familiar collection of design cues from today’s crossover SUVs. At the front is a consolidated version of Buick’s traditional waterfall-like fascia. Beyond the winged grille – which is obviously spreading throughout the Buick lineup – there isn’t a single flat detail to the Velite Concept’s bodysides. To some degree it resembles recent concepts from Infiniti. The final bit of styling enhancements are deep recesses just before the back wheels. This is a look that shares of few similarities with BMW’s i-Series cars.
Buick assures the Velite’s cabin is elegant, well-lit, and built using recycled materials. We’ll have to take their word for it because pictures of what the concept looks like within haven’t been published. Fully connected, the Velite provides cloud-based connection and storage as well as a long array of electronic driving aids. Some of which includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and fully automated driving at low speeds.
Regarding the Velite’s powertrain, Buick isn’t offering much. They tell us the Velite is powered by a high-performance plug-in hybrid drivetrain. It’s built around GM’s modular electric drive system and a lithium-ion battery pack. Could it be a variant of the Chevy Volt? Perhaps. Or maybe its a different system completely.
The Velite signals the beginning of a green car initiative that’ll largely be aimed at the Chinese market place, according to Buick. With both China and the United States displaying an insatiable hunger for crossovers – the Velite could potentially be a big hit. And while it’s touted simply as a concept, industry rumors indicate it’ll bring forth a production model. If it does come to fruition, it’ll share its underpinnings and most primary mechanical components with the second generation Chevrolet Volt. Keep your eyes opened for the electrified hatchback to make its first appearance during next year’s Shanghai Auto Show.
All that being said, it’s kind of strange how Buick wouldn’t use the Electra name/brand for it’s electric vehicle. Perhaps Velite sounds more luxurious. After all, Buick is an entry-level luxury automobile company. But that name – Electra – it would just make so much sense.
General Motors filed for a trademark for the name Electra on June 5, 2012. The word mark is for goods and services, including “Motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles, sport utility vehicles, trucks, vans, engines therefor and structural parts thereof” and reveals an existing and initial filing status of 1B. GM used the Electra brand on a variety of full-size premium Buick cars between 1959 and 1990; the name was then replaced by Park Avenue.