Buick Electra reborn as all-new electric crossover

General Motors has revived an old nameplate for its second new-generation electric vehicle: Electra.

Following just weeks after the unveiling of the Cadillac Lyriq, the Buick Electra crossover concept is similarly based on GM’s Ultium battery technology and dedicated BEV3 modular architecture.

The Buick was unveiled in China, which reflects the popularity of the luxury brand in the world’s biggest auto market and the huge push towards electrified vehicles going on there.

But rather than pulling the covers off at the Beijing motor show that’s happening at the moment, GM digitally revealed the Electra in Shanghai, which is home to the US car-maker’s Chinese headquarters and the technical centre where the concept was developed.

While the Lyriq is expected to launch in full production form from late 2022 and GM has promised to release 20 EVs by 2023, the production version of the reborn Electra is not expected before 2024.

It is one of two electric crossovers planned for the brand by 2025.

The original Electra, by the way, was a full-size Yankee land yacht sold through six generations between 1959 and 1990.

“The advanced Ultium battery unlocks the exciting new possibilities for what future EVs will look like,” said SAIC-GM executive director of Buick, Molly Peck.

“The Electra fully leverages state-of-the-art technology to set a new standard for future EV design and personal mobility.”

Buick claims the Electra has a 660km-plus driving range on a single charge, but doesn’t get into battery specifics.

With an Ultium e-motor mounted on each axle, combined output is 435kW and the claimed 0-100km/h time is 4.3 seconds.

The Electra reveals a new design language for Buick EVs called ‘potential energy’. GM peppers its press material with adjectives like “clean”, “bold” and “minimalist”, and says the concept’s shape combines a crossover and GT in one.

Swish touches include the butterfly doors that support fascial recognition, massive 23-inch wheels, LED matrix headlights with “parametrical mathematic lighting strings” and an illuminated grille.

‘Easter eggs’ include a skateboard integrated into the stoplight under the rear bumper that can be hauled out to get you the final mile when gridlock strikes.

Inside the four-seater it looks like rear headroom has been sacrificed for the roof’s curve, which is a pillar-less glass canopy. There are no traditional instruments; instead, a floating curved screen dominates the dashboard.

There’s also a retractable steering column and the seats are suspended via an armature to make them look like they are floating.

The Electra employs Buick’s next-gen connectivity system that supports over-the-air updates and provides on-demand driving information.

A new AI (artificial intelligence) voice assistant is also incorporated into the tech package.

Related: BEIJING MOTOR SHOW – The best and the rest

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