General Motors of China has rolled out its Buick Velite Concept plug-in hybrid with flowing lines, and technology potentially borrowed from the Chevy Volt.
Revealed at the 2016 Guangzhou auto show on Friday, and positioned for now as a design sketch on what to expect in future Buicks, in September Chinese media snapped photos of a rebadged Chevy Volt, conjecturing it was the Velite.
What was revealed today is not the same vehicle outwardly, and the automaker has not specified powertrain details, but has let on it is an advanced plug-in hybrid.
“The Velite Concept is characterized by its high-performance plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) powertrain with GM’s new-generation modular intelligent electric drive system at its core. It incorporates a high-performance modular lithium-ion battery pack,” said the automaker. “An enhanced electric drive unit and intelligent controls help maximize performance and fuel savings under different driving conditions. The sophisticated technology will be applied in Buick’s upcoming PHEV model.”
Other details include several options for connectivity, including networks that are cloud-based, a low-speed 360-degree intelligent traffic induction system, and other future tech driving aids.
Whether GM of China will also release a rebadged Volt, or Chevy Volt in China – potentially manufactured in China – has not been announced, but remains a possibility in the largest plug-in market, and GM’s largest market.
As for the Velite Concept, its design is inspired by flowing water, with organic curves and shapes led off by Buick’s waterfall grille and LED headlights.
Reminiscent of a hatchback, Buick is using the marketing term of choice – crossover – to describe the type of vehicle the Velite represents.
The design, says Buick, has “an innovative crossover body that combines a sporty design with practical space.”
The car’s development was led by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), GM’s engineering and design joint venture with SAIC, “leveraging GM’s global resources.”
No photos of its interior or under hood have been released. What it means for GM’s further forays into China is unclear, but that market is heating up, and GM may bring the first Buick plug-in there, before Americans see one in their home market.