Following an unfortunate leak that caused it to make its debut earlier than planned. Buick China has formally taken the veil of secrecy off of the all-new Velite 7, which is a cousin to the Chevrolet Bolt EV that we get here in the United States.
The Velite moniker is the name given to the EV models that it sells in China, and is derived from a concept car that made its debut over several years ago. When you look at the design of the Buick Velite 7, its resemblance to the Bolt might be hard to spot at first glance. Unlike the futuristic Chevy, the Buick adopts a more traditional CUV profile, with an aggressive front grille and a larger front bumper which works quite well with the slick taillights. The side profile is taller and more boxier than the Bolt, but we suspect that is partially because of the Buick’s nose design. We also like the way the roof has a partial floating design which further enhances the styling profile further. Buick did not release any further images (preferring to wait until the model makes its official debut) but look for the rear end to also adopt a more aggressive tone to help it stand out better in night time driving.
Photos of the interior were also not released, but look for the cabin to be a step up over the Bolt in terms of materials, with higher quality leather, plastics, and other goodies to help it better play the role of being a premium EV vehicle especially in the minds of influential Chinese customers that are looking for copious amounts of comfort to balance out its efficiency minded goals.
Buick also declined to share performance information, but the brand did reveal that the Velite 7 is estimated to achieve 500 kilometers on the NEDC cycle, which translates to 311 miles of range. This is lower than the Bolt’s NEDC figure, but it’s important to remember that NEDC figures tend to be much higher than traditional EPA estimates which have the current generation Bolt registering at 258 miles of range. As a result, the Buick Velite 7 could really be capable of achieving between 210 and 220 miles of driving range. It’s unknown what caused the Buick to register lower figures, but it could be caused either by the extra weight created by its luxury add-ons, or slightly worse aerodynamics. Either way, we expect the Velite 7 to have the same powertrain setup as the Bolt, with a single electric motor producing 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. A single speed transmission would send power to the front wheels.
While the Buick Velite 7 is currently a Chinese exclusive offering for the moment, it is a model that U.S. buyers should keep an eye on. EV offerings are gradually becoming more important in the long term strategies of many premium automakers, and Buick is no exception. The brand is in the middle of a rapid shift in its product lineup, and the addition of the Velite 7 could help Buick fill a niche in the EV utility market. The bulk of this will depend on whether demand is strong enough for such a model.