General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt Re-Badged As Buick Velite 5 For Chinese Market; Next Up Is Chevrolet Bolt EV?

Apr 21, 2017 07:00 AM EDT | Andrew Davis


General Motors strapped a Buick badge onto a Chevrolet Volt to market the extended-range electric vehicle in China. Dubbed, Buick Velite 5, this EV was introduced during the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show.

Since Buick is already a hot brand in China, compared with GM's other brands, it is no surprise that the automaker decides to rebadge one of its best-selling EVs in the Chinese market. But this is part of the "Buick Blue" initiative, wherein Buick will introduce a number of hybrids, EVs, and plug-in to the Chinese market.

In the powertrain department, the Buick Velite 5 is still identical to that of the current Chevrolet Volt. Powering the EV is a pair of 1.5-liter inline-4, serving as a range extender, and 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery mounted low mated to an electronically variable automatic transmission.

Buick claims that this EV can go up to 72 miles using the vehicle's electric mode only, while it can achieve 477 miles on a full charge and a full tank of gas, although it is still unclear as to which is the basis for the automaker's range estimates.

Inside, the interior looks nicer compared with the current Volt. But peel off the layers, it's still the same Chevy. It comes with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay. The OnStar 4G LTE is being offered. Plus, multiple driving assistance systems such as automatic parking assist and adaptive cruise control and Bose premium sound system are also available.

Buick Velite 5 is the first ever electric vehicle market under the "Buick Blue" initiative in China. But others are set to follow in the next couple of years, and these could include a plug-in hybrid.

Although if you consider the hybrid-electric version of the LaCrosse that was introduced in China, then the Buick Velite 5 is the second vehicle to arrive in mainland under the "Buick Blue" initiative. Regardless, what is clear is that it is still unknown whether the LaCross hybrid will make its way to US soil.

Buick Velite 5 is pretty efficient based on the claimed numbers from its automaker. And since GM is using the Buick badge for China, the Chevrolet Bolt EV could be the next EV under the Buick badge.

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