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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2022 Audi Q5 Sportback has debuted but Americans will have to wait around six months to get one.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The Audi Q5 Sportback takes the traditional dimensions of the Audi Q5 and shaves some off the back of the roof to creating a more sloping design. The result is a model that fits right into Audi's lineup.

At the front of the new all-wheel drive model is an octagonal Singleframe grille that is flanked by large air inlets. The car's headlights feature daytime running lights with the buyer's choice of LED or matrix-design LED technology. At the rear are taillights that feature OLED lighting technology split into three ties of six segments each.

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Like the roof, the car's windows taper as the design of the vehicle flows backward. Its rear bumper appears to be high-mounted.

Base Audi Q5 Sportback models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a 12-volt mild-hybrid system to to deliver 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can upgrade to the 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

The SQ5 will come standard with adaptive dampers and has an available air suspension and dynamic steering capability.

Each model has Audi's new MIB 3 infotainment system, which can be optioned to include a 12.3-inch digital display in front of the driver as well as virtual cockpit and head-up display technologies. At the center of the dashboard is a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen with navigation. The system allows for multiple user profiles.

The Audi phone box and a Bang and Olufsen sound system with 3D sound are available.

Inside the cabin, the car has a rear bench seat the can be shifted laterally as well as forward and aft. The seat also reclines.

Each Q5 Sportback comes with a standard hands-free power tailgate.

Buyers can option their model to include numerous driver assist systems including adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, standard Audi Side Assist and Audi Pre Sense Rear, lane departure warning, and Parking System Plus.

The 2020 Audi Q5 starts at $43,000. Expect the Sportback model to be slightly pricier when it arrives in the U.S. in the first half of 2021. It will be assembled at the San José Chiapa plant in Mexico.

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Jeep is extending its customer care program for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

This model year, Jeep celebrates 80 years in the business. The brand was born in 1941 and to celebrate to anniversary, the company is expanding its Jeep Wave Customer Care program adding value to each model purchase. The additional level of service only applies to 2021 model year vehicles.

"After nearly 80 years, the Jeep brand remains true to the original SUV by continuing to deliver legendary 4x4 capability that has enabled countless adventures and open-air freedom," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. "As we celebrate our 80th anniversary, we're pleased to provide our customers with 80th Anniversary models that offer a unique appearance, great value and loads of safety and technology features.

2020 Grand Wagoneer Concept - Details The new Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept showcased the future of the brand, in the shape of a luxury-level three-row SUV. Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

"As a tribute to our unique, enthusiastic and growing customer base, we are expanding our Jeep Wave customer care program across the entire Jeep vehicle lineup," Morrison added. "We are pleased to reward our loyal customers with Jeep Wave premium service that offers peace of mind and no-charge maintenance for three years."

The program now includes three years of maintenance at Jeep dealerships, including oil changes and tire rotations, 24/7 support via phone or online chat, trip interruption and first-day rental coverage, and VIP access to select Jeep events.

The 2021 Jeep lineup includes the Renegade, Compass, Cherokee, Wrangler, and Grand Cherokee SUVs as well as the Gladiator truck. The company recently unveiled the Grand Wagoneer concept, a luxe take on a future luxury-level three-row SUV that will compete directly with the Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade.

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