General Motors is hoping to re-up the Electra name for Buick as per a December filing with the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO). While many of you will recall the model as another ho-hum sedan from the 1990s with the potential to be graced with a 3800 motor, the car actually dates back to a time where tailfins were all the rage and there was no such thing as too much chrome.
Though it’s unlikely that the name would be affixed to anything burning gasoline in the modern context. Buick has already shown an all-electric concept wearing the Electra name at the 2020 Beijing auto show and it would be the mother of all twists to snub it.
With this part of the year representing the absolute slowest period for automotive news, everyone starts trawling the USTPO for content, and Car and Driver struck pay dirt here. It surmised that the prospective Electra would use GM’s Ultium platform (a given) and may even be rejiggered version of the upcoming Cadillac Lyriq:
As such, we wager Buick will christen its upcoming EV the Electra. Like the Electra concept, expect the production Buick Electra to use GM’s latest electric vehicle hardware, which goes by the name Ultium. In other words, the new Electra could share its battery pack options, electric motors, and basic platform with other GM EVs, such as the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq.
That said, we doubt GM plans to simply swap the Lyriq’s Cadillac crest for Buick’s tri-shield badge. If the Electra concept from Shanghai is anything to go by, then the potential production Electra ought to wear distinct, brand-specific sheet metal. While we suspect the concept’s scissor-hinged doors will fail to find their way to the production vehicle, it is possible the saleable Electra EV trades the traditional two-box body style typical of most SUVs for the concept’s coupe-like shape.
It’s also possible that the name could be used to bring one of the Velite models sold by Buick in China to our market. There are a couple of good candidates — especially the long-range version of the Velite 6 or Velite 7. But there’s nothing forcing the corporate hand other than a corporation’s natural desire to save money on development. This could end up a stretched and rebadged Chevy Bolt, redone Caddy Lyriq, or something totally novel.
Meanwhile, we’ve learned that the Electra concept that’s already been shown off in China is supposed to use the latest and greatest Ultium has to offer. SAIC-GM said the powertrain consists of two Ultium drive motors that deliver a combined output of 583 horsepower (allegedly capable of zero-to-60 in just 4.3 seconds) and a battery that’s fat enough to sustain the crossover at least 412 miles on a single charge. That sounds pretty good, especially for the U.S. market’s notoriously vast driving distances. But we’re talking about a foreign concept vehicle that’s not been built and doesn’t even technically have the rights to use its own name in our market yet, so it may be wise to tamp down expectations.
That said, the Buick Electra concept was designed by a team from both China and the United States with the goal of using the car to inform future EVs for all markets. Were we talking about any brand, this could have been attributed to SAIC-GM shoveling coal for the hype train. But Buick is crazy important to GM’s Chinese interests and we’re inclined to believe that their desire to craft a global-market EV using the concept as its starting point is totally valid. A revised version of the concept is supposed to result in a global-market Buick midsize crossover by 2024 — though that wouldn’t preclude a rebadged clone of the Cadillac Lyric either.
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