When spy photos of what appeared to be Chevrolet Bolt EV with some minor front- and rear-end updates circulated last week, Autoblog surmised that GM was working on some sort of Bolt-based vehicle — potentially a crossover — to be sold in China as a Buick.
We may just have corroboration for that theory. On Thursday, Motor1.com spotted a story published earlier this week on the Chinese site Auto Home which claims that GM has applied to sell an all-electric SUV under the Velite 7 nameplate in China.
There's little differentiating the Velite 7's exterior from the Bolt EV's, apart from bumpers, badges, and a little extra ground clearance. Up front, the bowtie is replaced by a round Buick badge, and the bumper picks up an almost Prius-like appearance thanks to contrasting vertical elements and a thin grille bleeding into the head lights to give it a full-width appearance.
If the Chinese report is accurate, there is one significant difference under the skin. Per the application, the Buick crossover variant is to be powered by a 174-horsepower electric powertrain. That's down 26 horsepower from the Bolt EV's powertrain, and we can't help but think that a lifted Buick variant might just need every pony it can get.
The needs of the Chinese market are unique, and we're certain GM knows what it's doing if these figures are accurate. We have no reason to believe Buick plans to sell the Velite 7 EV here in the States, though we expect an updated Chevy Bolt eventually, and we wouldn't be surprised if Buick brings something along shortly to fill the void left by the departure of the Regal sedan and its variants.
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