Speculation

Is the Buick Velite 7 the Chevrolet Bolt EUV that GM keeps talking about?

The Buick Velite 7 hints at what Americans can expect from the Bolt EV.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Thursday, the Buck Velite 7 debuted. The what? Don't worry about remembering its name. It's not coming to America - at least with that moniker.

It's not uncommon for automakers to have vehicles that are region-specific. Some cater to the exact needs of an industry or lifestyle, or take into account safety regulations (or lack thereof). The Velite 7 has been developed specifically for the Chinese market, which represents 80 percent of the Buick brand's sales.

2020 Chevrolet Bolt For 2020, the Chevrolet Bolt received a 21-mile range increase. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

GM has announced that the model will offer an electric range of up to 500 kilometers under New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) conditions on a full charge.

Underpinning the Velite 7 is the same architecture as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which is sold in the U.S. - the BEV2 platform. General Motors has alluded to the fact that the platform will be used to expand models in the U.S. in the near term before giving way to the company's new BEV3 design.

The BEV3 platform features the Ultium battery technology GM recently debuted. The new Ultium batteries feature large-format, pouch-style cells that can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. This arrangement option allows engineers to stack the cells in a way that makes sense for the vehicle and customer, on a global scale.

The energy options for the batteries range from 50 to 200 kWh, which can result in a GM-estimated range of up to 400 miles on a full charge. The 2020 Chevrolet Bolt, the automaker's only electric vehicle currently sold in the U.S., has a 259-mile all-electric range.

General Motors EV battery General Motors and Honda have agreed to jointly develop Honda EVs using GM's new Ultium battery tech. Photo courtesy of General Motors

Electric vehicles that are propelled by the batteries are designed for Level 2 and DC fast charging. The batteries in the truck platform will consist of 800-volt battery packs and 350 kWh fast-charging capability.

Buick uses the Velite sub-brand to designate its electric vehicle line. GM sells the Chevrolet Volt, which has been discontinued in the U.S. as the Buick Velite 5.

Is the Buick Velite 7 the Chevrolet Bolt EUV (electric utility vehicle) that GM keeps talking about? Yes and no. It's likely that with a few design tweaks, this is basically the Bolt EUV that will make its way to the U.S. The Bolt EUV is due to debut in mid-2021 (possibly at next year's North American International Auto Show) as a 2022 model.

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Toyota's ready to make a big announcement.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation2

Auto Shanghai has another surprise in store. Toyota will debut an electrified vehicle next week and ahead of that moment, the company has leaked teaser photos and video featuring the model on its social media channels.

One of the posts, available on Twitter and Instagram, showcases the vehicle and a series of conceptual, perhaps inspirational, related items. A light shines as a reflection in an eye. A design on paper leads to a math equation. A laser, perhaps a plasma cutter, is focused on an object. Watch the see the rest.


It passes by quickly, but in there is the shape of a crossover. We've captured the moment in a still photo below so you can take a longer look. From the body design quickly shown here, the SUV is shaped more like the Toyota Venza than the Toyota RAV4. The key here is the rear side window, which is more triangular, like the Venza, than the squared-off RAV4''s.

202 The shape of the vehicle is similar to the Toyota Venza.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

2022 Toyota Venza EV

The face of the vehicle, shown in another social media post (this time on Instagram) and at the top of this article, shows a pared back vehicle face. The height of the vehicle confirms that it's in fact a crossover body style.

We do know that Subaru and Toyota have been working on an electric SUV for a while. While Subaru is likely calling the vehicle "Evoltis" there's some indication that Toyota may be reviving the "Celica" name for the EV. Batteries, after all, are made up of cells.

As of right now, we have to take the wait-and-see approach. One thing's for sure. We'll know more next week.

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The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

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