The Buick Electra E5 launches in China next week but Buick's first EV for America won't come until 2024.
After teasing the interior last month and showing off the entire design last year, it looks like Buick is finally ready to "fully" reveal its long-awaited electric vehicle... in China. The 2024 Buick Electra E5 will debut for the Chinese market on April 13, just one week away as of this writing. Unlike Chinese market Velite models, the Electra E5 is the first Buick to use the General Motors Ultium platform. Buick has already trademarked a slew of Electra names in the US, hinting that this could become an EV sub-brand, but this particular model is only confirmed for the Chinese market.
"While China is planning to launch the Electra E5 (in China only) next week, we are not showing or revealing any Buick EVs in the US any time soon," Buick spokesperson Stefan Cross told CarBuzz. "Our first North American-based EV will be revealed and launched next year (2024)." Looks like Americans have to wait for an electric Buick.
Though GM is an American company, the E5 will be built in China by the joint-venture SAIC-GM Wuhan Ultium plant. Building an EV in China would make it ineligible for the federal tax credit, meaning Buick would need to produce the car locally in North America to qualify for the $7,500 incentive. Given the likely similarities between the Electra E5 and its Ultium siblings, the Chevrolet Equinox EV and Blazer EV, it seems possible that Buick could build it (or something like it) in North America for local consumption.
To be honest though, we think Buick needs something a little hotter to spark more serious interest locally in the brand. China is a very different story, as the Buick brand thrives in that market.
Aside from the stunning Wildcat, which is only a concept, Buick's lineup doesn't have any exciting new products to get buyers into the showrooms. It's no wonder the brand's US sales fell by 42.43% in 2022. The Electra E5 looks like a premium product that might get people talking about Buick again. In China, it will arrive in standard, long-range, and Avenir trim levels, with the latter using an 80-kilowatt-hour battery pack. A smaller 68.4 kWh pack will also be available.
Inside, the E5 debuts an EYEMAX 30-inch freeform OLED display, which is similar to the one in the Cadillac Lyriq. When Buick does finally reveal its US EV next year, we hope it has a similar interior.
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