In case you don’t already know, Buick is big in China, and has been for a while now. There are several models available over there that we don’t get here in Canada and in the United States, such as the compact Excelle and Verano, the GL8 minivan and even the VELITE 5, an extended-range EV that’s a cousin of the Chevrolet Volt.
At the Auto China 2018 show in Beijing, the brand launched the VELITE 6, an all-new model that will go on sale in China later this year as a plug-in hybrid, followed by a full electric variant.
Inspired by the Buick VELITE Concept shown in November 2016, the VELITE 6 PHEV is equipped with 1.5-litre gasoline engine, two electric motors, a lithium-ion battery pack and an electronically controlled variable automatic transmission. The company claims a combined fuel economy average of 1.4 L/100 km and a total driving range of 700 kilometres.
The VELITE 6 PHEV will offer various driving modes, including a hybrid mode that uses all energy sources, an EV mode and a hold mode that activates only the gas engine. The vehicle’s battery will be built in the SAIC-GM Power Battery Development Center in Shanghai. No information has been announced yet regarding the fully electric powertrain, but Buick obviously promises a “smooth, quiet and natural driving experience.”
The car’s infotainment system will include cloud-based connectivity, with over-the-air updates and real-time vehicle status. The VELITE 6 can be unlocked and started using a smartphone, and drivers can personalise their OnStar, navigation and Internet settings.
The Buick VELITE 6 will join the VELITE 5 as well as the LaCrosse hybrid as part of the company’s Buick Blue new energy vehicle strategy.
For the time being, there are no plans to introduce the Buick VELITE 6 plug-in hybrid or EV on the North-American market.