BUICK velite

 

After the discontinuation of the full-electric GM EV1, of which about 1,100 were built from 1996 till 1999, the next GM car that was powered by an electric motor, was the underestimated Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle (E-REV), fitted with an electric generator powered by a conventional gasoline engine (range extender), that itself as well can contribute to the propulsion of the car, though the engine is routing its power through the motor/generator, meaning that the 150 hp electric power remains the total system power.

Built in the United States, the car was exported to Canada, Europe (mainly as Opel/Vauxhall Ampera, and voted the 2012 Car of the Year), Australia/New Zealand (Holden Volt) and China.  The “Voltec” powertrain (both electric motors and 1398cc Opel Family 0 range-extending engine) of the first generation Volt/Ampera was built in Mexico.

An E-REV is a vehicle that functions as full-performance battery electric vehicle when energy is available from an onboard battery and having an auxiliary energy supply (the internal combustion engine as ‘range extender’) that is only engaged when the battery energy is not available.  Neither full acceleration nor full speed initially will start the engine, contrary to a hybrid vehicle.  So, this is a narrower definition than a PHEV (plug in hybrid electric vehicle) which is a hybrid vehicle with the ability to store and use off-board electrical energy in the battery.

A less favorable governmental business grant by 2014 in the Netherlands, then by far its major market in Europe, minimizing sales of both Ampera and Volt, probably made GM decide to not build second generation Amperas.  In 2014 the best sold Amperas were Vauxhalls for the United Kingdom.  Holdens for Australia and New Zealand were not continued either.  Chevrolet Volt sales in China were marginal as imported cars were exempted from ‘new energy’ subsidies, prompting GM to build the second generation model there as a Buick.  Other markets that would receive the second generation Chevrolet Volt were Mexico and South Korea.

The all-new second generation Chevrolet Volt arrived in October 2015 and had a sleeker and more wedge-shaped design on a one cm longer wheelbase, with an "occasional" 5th passenger seat, while the rear leg room increased with 1.5 cm.  The extender was now the all alloy 1490cc SGE direct injection engine, built in the United States.

Buick Velite 5  China: April 2017 - 2018

Velite’ is the singular of ‘Velites’, which are Roman infantrymen.  The first Buick Velite was a roadster concept car designed by Buick and built by Bertone. It was first presented to the public at the January 2004 New York International Auto Show.  The second Velite was a PATAC-designed concept sports wagon unveiled at the November 2016 Guangzhou Auto Show, though without a B-pillar, resembling the production Velite 6.

The Velite 5 is a rebadged second generation Chevrolet Volt.  It owes its number to its vehicle price class, but after its early deletion, its successor was to be called Velite 6.  It was the first of an entire range that will include several ‘New Energy’ vehicles.  In China, these cars were called Weilan, meaning light blue.  The Velite 5, of which 4,327 were made, was the second model to wear the Buick Blue badge, joining the LaCrosse hybrid, sold from September 2016.  Velite 5 production stopped in June 2018, with the delayed hybrid Velite 6 originally to be launched in September 2018.  It was priced RMB 265,800 vs RMB 498,000 for the previous imported Volt.

While the majority of the Volts in the United States were first generation models with the Opel 1398cc Family 0 engine, in Canada the second generation sold three times better than the earlier models.  It is reported, that dealers in the US actually tried to persuade prospective Volt buyers to switch to a regular vehicle, as Volts were much more complicated to explain.  The Volt saw its recharging time almost halved from 4.5 to 2.3 hours in mid-2018 for the Premier model, though there came no DC fast charging option.  Over 150,000 Volts were sold in the US, vs 20,000 in Canada, and 1,750 in Europe, vs 10,000 Amperas. 

Volt production stopped in February 2019.  Giving up its sedans, GM saw the 10 cm taller and 40 cm shorter all-electric Bolt as its successor, though in 2017 and 2018 Volt sales were hardly lower than those for the Bolt, and in Canada even 50% higher through 2019.

platform:

Delta II

Chevrolet Volt

10-15

15-19

Opel

Opel/SAIC

1st

2nd

gen.

Family 0

SGE

D1JCI

D2JCI

range

range

rear suspension:

compound crank, coils

1715

1607

kg

extender

extender

wheelbase (cm):

268.5

269.4

4 cyl.

4 cyl.

length (cm):

449.8

458.2

DOHC

DOHC

width (cm):

178.8

180.9

cc:

1398

1490

height (cm):

143.9

143.2

injection

dir. inj.

USA/CDN

10-19

10-15

15-19

drive motor

kW

111

111

hp

150

150

range extender

ICE

kW

63

75

hp

84

101

EPA

electric drive range

km

56-61

85

Europe

12-15

Opel/Vauxhall Ampera

D1JOI

12-15

Australia

12-15

Holden Volt

drive motor

kW

111

hp

150

range extender

ICE

kW

63

hp

86

NEDC

electric drive range

km

83

China

17-19

Buick Velite 5

D2JBI

1610

kg

11-15

17-19

drive motor

kW

111

110

wheelbase (cm):

269.4

hp

150

150

length (cm):

457.9

ICE

kW

63

73

width (cm):

181.1

hp

86

99

height (cm):

149.4

NEDC

electric drive range

km

116

ICE: internal combustion engine

 

Buick Velite 6  China: April 2019

As in America the higher and shorter Bolt was the successor to the Volt, the Chinese created the Velite 6, riding on an all-new electric-car platform, with an Excelle-derived dual link rear suspension.  It is called a MAV (multi activity vehicle), resembling a wagon.  In April 2018, the hybrid variant was presented to be displayed at the Beijing Auto Show.  There was a delay in its marketing as the locally sourced A123 systems batteries (also used in the Chevrolet Spark EV) had failed internal performance and safety tests, and instead a ternary lithium battery pack produced by SAIC was used.  A ternary battery is using nickel, cobalt and manganese as positive electrode materials and can store more energy with a smaller size than an LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery.

Velite 6 all-electric

After a first batch of 5000 shared customized vehicles left the factory in late 2018, the all-electric model was marketed from April 2019, with a 85 kW motor and a 300 km drive range, while in October that year, the Velite 6 Plus became available, with a 30% more powerful 110 kW motor, and a drive range of 410 km.  The battery pack is under the floor of the car.  The Velite 6 is built on a new platform that GM designed together with SAIC.  The time needed for 32A AC slow charging is 6 hours for the 85 kW model, and 8 hours for the Plus version, while DCFC fast charging (0-80%) takes 40 minutes.  The motor is built by Huayu, a subsidiary of SAIC Motor, and the 85 kW variant is the same as in the Roewe Ei5 (March 2018), which model has a drive range of 420 km, as its battery capacity of 52.5 kWh is similar to that in the Velite 6 Plus (vs 35 kWh for the regular Velite 6).  The acceleration from 0-100 km/h for the Velite 6 is 10 seconds, and 9 seconds for the Velite 6 Plus.  Some 3,300 Velite 6 were sold in 2019.

Velite 6 PHEV

In July 2020, the hybrid model was launched, with the proven SGM 1485cc engine (introduced in the August 2011 Baojun 630) as range extender, and without the closed blue grille of the all-electric model.  Originally, it was to be launched in September 2018.  Like the Volt/Velite 5, the Velite 6 PHEV (actually an extended range electric vehicle) has three different driving modes: the hybrid-driven mode of the motor and the engine, the single-driven mode of the motor, and the single-driven mode of the engine.  It has a drive range of 780 km and combined fuel consumption of 1.4 liters/100 km.  The battery pack fits entirely under the floor of the trunk, resulting in a 2 cm height reduction compared with the all-electric variant.  In the Velite 5/Volt there was a "T"-shaped battery pack with a central tunnel, constraining rear seat and cargo space.  The battery capacity is 9.5 kWh, vs 18 kWh in the Velite 5.  The combined fuel consumption of the Velite 5 was 0.9 liters/100 km.

platform:

SGM/SAIC el.

Buick Velite 6

19-

20-

SAIC

SGM

electric

PHEV

electric

range

rear suspension:

dual transverse links, coils

1540-1675

1580

kg

Huayu

extender

wheelbase (cm):

266.0

266.0

4 cyl.

length (cm):

465.0

464.8

DOHC

width (cm):

181.7

181.7

1485

cc:

height (cm):

151.0

149.1

inject.

China

19-

19-

20-

drive motor

kW

85-110

49+82

hp

116-150

67+111

internal combustion engine

kW

72

hp

98

NEDC electric drive range

km

301-410

60

l/100 km

1.4/4.9

 

Buick Velite 7  China: July 2020

This will be a 2020 Chinese version of the all-electric Bolt EUV, an extended Bolt EV with its own body design.  It is 10 cm longer than the Bolt EV, and the wheelbase is 2675 mm vs 2600 mm for the Bolt EV.  The South Korean drive motor from LG has a power of 130 kW (177 PS), and the top speed is 145 km/h.  The Bolt EUV is expected to be launched in 2021, sharing the 200 hp motor of the Bolt EV.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV with American sales from 2017, lives up to its name by providing lightning-quick acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 7 seconds, not a nut.  It was developed in South Korea, but prototyping and development work has been done in the United States, where it was built.  A rebadged European variant was sold as the Opel Ampera-e in mainland Europe from April 2017, until the arrival of the PSA-based Corsa-e in 2019/2020.  Right-hand-drive markets are not served, nor was China.

In 2018, 4 out of every 6 Bolts were sold in the United States, 1 out of every 6 in South Korea (where it was designed, and where the motor and batteries came from), and the remaining equally divided between Canada and Europe (‘Opel Ampera-e’), with the biggest part in Norway and the Netherlands.  By late 2018, the Bolt became also available in the Middle East, and in 2019 in Brazil.  In South Korean hangul, a phonetic writing, Bolt and Volt, are equally written and spoken, with the EV suffix discerning the Bolt.  The last Ampera-e models were sold in Europe by early 2020.  In the future, Opel only wants to focus on the electric models developed under the PSA flag.

platform:

BEV II

Chevrolet Bolt EV

16-

20-

LG

LG

rear suspension:

compound crank, coils

EV

Velite 7

EV

Velite 7

1616

1660

kg

all-

all-

wheelbase (cm):

260.0

267.5

electric

electric

length (cm):

416.5

426.4

width (cm):

176.5

176.7

height (cm):

161.0

161.6

Bolt EUV

USA

16-

16-

21-

drive motor

kW

149

149

hp

200

200

EPA

electric drive range

km

383

19-

417

Europe

17-19

Opel Ampera-e

17-19

drive motor

kW

150

hp

204

NEDC

electric drive range

km

520

China

20-

Buick Velite 7

20-

drive motor

kW

130

hp

177

NEDC

electric drive range

km

500

 

Output data are approximate.

                                                        

                                                         with thanks to wikipedia, greencarreports.com, carsalesbase.com and www.goodcarbadcar.net

 

For recent specifications on Buick cars built in China, see:
On a Global Mission: The Automobiles of General Motors International                                                         

GM Electric Vehicles

 

Far East Auto Literature

28 September, 2020