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Buick throws its hat in the plug-in ring with the sleek Velite concept

Buick has introduced a futuristic concept car named the Velite. The annual Los Angeles Auto Show kicked off just a few days ago, but the brand decided to present its newest design study during the Guangzhou Auto Show that’s currently taking place in China.

The Velite was developed by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center, a joint-venture operated by Buick parent company General Motors and China-based industrial partner SAIC. The design allegedly draws inspiration from water and Chinese culture, and it falls in line with Buick’s new design language by adopting styling cues such as a wing-shaped front grille and headlights with boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights. The blue accents will characterize every electrified member of the Buick lineup in the coming years.

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Buick promises the Velite’s cabin is elegant, well-lit, and built using recycled materials. We’ll have to take the company’s word for it because photos of what the concept looks like inside haven’t been published yet. Fully connected, the Velite offers cloud-based connection and storage as well as a long list of electronic driving aids that includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and fully automated driving at low speeds.

Technical details are vague at best. Buick simply states the Velite is powered by a high-performance plug-in hybrid drivetrain built around GM’s modular electric drive system and a lithium-ion battery pack.

Buick Velite

The Velite signals the beginning of a green car offensive that will largely be aimed at the Chinese market, according to Buick. And while it’s billed as merely a concept, industry rumors indicate it will spawn a production model that will share its platform and most major mechanical components with the second generation of the Chevrolet Volt. The electrified hatchback could make its debut during next year’s edition of the Shanghai Auto Show.