The future of Buick is an electric one — not particularly surprising news given global goals and mandates for a zero-emissions auto industry.
What’s significant, however, is when — and how — the brand plans to do it, with its first electric vehicle (EV) in North America slated to arrive in 2024 before the entire lineup follows suit by the end of the decade. In a nod to its past, Buick confirmed all its EV models will incorporate the Electra name. The name was previously used as a model designation by Buick from the late 1950s until about 1990.
As part of what Sharon Gauci, Buick-GMC’s executive design director, described as “a stunning new chapter” in the brand’s history, the new Wildcat EV concept provides a glimpse at the design direction of the forthcoming EV models. While the irony wasn’t lost on the assembled executives and designers for the webcast reveal that the Wildcat concept is a coupe while Buick builds nothing but SUVs these days for the North American market, the brand’s head designer said the bodystyle matters less than where Buick is headed from a styling perspective.
According to Bob Boniface, “the face, the proportions, the category” — it was all fair game as the team envisioned a new look and feel for Buick. And while it’s unlikely that the exaggerated proportions of the Wildcat EV will ever make it to production, elements like the forward-leaning fascia or the turbine-style wheels are sure to be part of the brand’s future.
During the presentation, Buick-GMC global vice-president Duncan Aldred confirmed the obvious: that the brand’s forthcoming EVs will be built on the so-called Ultium platform developed by General Motors (GM) that’s already being used by the behemoth GMC Hummer EV Pickup.
“What we love about it for Buick is it fits the pillars of the brand,” Aldred said of the Ultium platform. The scalable battery-based architecture provides a simplified foundation on which to build the kind of open, airy, and luxurious-feeling vehicles Buick strives for, he said.
Buick also confirmed recent rumours that it plans to restyle its logo, with the current staggered shields within a circular emblem being separated and aligned in a row. The new look will debut next year on gas-powered models, with new model designation font to follow.