China-market Buick Electra E5 meets the world

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We now know the Buick Envista crossover is on the way to the U.S. market after its recent debut in China. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has previewed another Buick crossover that will eventually get here, the release spotted by Car News China. The battery-electric Electra E5 was outed as part of the ministry process of opening up a public comment for new market entries. This is the Buick-branded Ultium-based EV that inaugurates a new electric era for GM brands over there, the E5 landing in the middle of the consecutive E1 to E9 trademarks Buick reserved a few years ago. The five-seat crossover's dimensions have been given as 192.6 inches long, 75 inches wide, and 66.2 inches tall, on a wheelbase 116.3 inches long. That size puts it on the same wheelbase as the coming 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV, with a length about two inches longer. The base wheels measure 18 inches, the options list offers 20-inch units.

The battery pack is sourced from a joint venture between CATL and SAIC, the latter being GM's joint venture partner in China. The automaker said it's "tailored for China" but we don't know what that means, nor do we know the capacity. Thanks to the MIIT information, we do know the E5 weighs 5,666 pounds and in this initial form will be powered by one 241-horsepower motor that can achieve a top speed to 112 miles per hour.

Spy photographers caught an Electra SUV clad in camo doing the rounds in Michigan earlier this month with all the same design cues seen on the Chinese model — narrow headlights and taillights, three-piece high brake light on the hatch spoiler, and the same wheels. Although we could be wrong, we'd bet a fair bit of money our Electra will come with more than 241 horsepower, though. Even our compact Buick Envision gets 228 hp, and it weighs almost 2,000 pounds less than the China-market Electra E5.

The same over there as here, the E5 represents Buick's first proper move toward the all-electric lineup scheduled to be completed by 2030. In China, it will mean the sunset of current EV offerings like the Buick Velite 6 MAV wagon-like vehicle, and the Chevy-Bolt-based Velite 7. Car News China said neither sell well, calling the Velite 6 "a bit of an oddball," and the 7 a little small for the Chinese market. Younger, tech-happy buyers will be lured with the first strokes of SAIC's Smart Cockpit and GM's Super Cruise. Deliveries should commence at the beginning of next year in China, the E5's arrival in the U.S. expected to be in time for the 2024 model year. The smaller, Ultium-based Buick Electra E4 is expected to debut in China next year.

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