Spooked by Tesla, luxury automakers like Audi, Porsche, and Jaguar are scrambling to launch electric cars. But could Buick be the next to join this trend? At the 2018 Beijing Auto Show, the General Motors brand with a reputation for conservatism will unveil an all-electric SUV concept with a claimed 370 miles of range.
The Buick Enspire concept certainly looks like a Tesla fighter, although there is no indication of whether it will enter production. Buick claims the Enspire’s electric powertrain produces 410 kilowatts (549 horsepower), propelling the SUV from 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. The battery pack can be recharged to 80 percent capacity in 40 minutes using a DC fast-charging system, according to Buick. The Enspire can also charge wirelessly.
The Enspire sports more aggressive styling than current Buick production models, including a low roofline mimicking “SUV coupes” like the upcoming Audi e-tron Quattro and Jaguar I-Pace. That low roof provides a sleeker look at the price of interior space. Electric cars don’t need grilles, but Buick designers added a big one here nonetheless, highlighted by blue trim. At least people will see it coming.
On the inside, the Enspire is trimmed in wood and microfiber suede, with a prominent OLED display screen and what Buick calls “an intelligent augmented reality technology-based head-up display system.” The concept car also features 5G connectivity.
It’s not surprising that Buick chose a Chinese auto show to unveil the Enspire. The brand is much more popular in China than the United States, and the Chinese government is aggressively pushing for more electric cars through a combination of incentives and new regulations. It’s unclear if the Enspire will go into production, or whether it will be sold in the U.S. if it does.
Buick parent General Motors does plan to launch more electric cars over the next few years. GM will roll out no less than 20 new all-electric models by 2023, with the first two set to appear sometime within the next year or so. Those first two models will be based on “learnings” from the Chevrolet Bolt EV, GM CEO Mary Barra has said, but it’s possible that one of the later models could take the form of a Buick SUV.
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