Buick is rehashing the name of an older concept to preview the brand's eco-friendly agenda.
The year was 2004 when Buick introduced the Velite, a roadster concept built by Bertone and named after an elite class of soldiers in Napoleon’s army. Buick is recycling the moniker for an entirely different concept taking the shape of a sleek five-door hatchback, although it’s officially being described as having the body of a crossover. Many people though the Velite in concept guise would be nothing more than a rebadged second-generation Chevy Volt, but as you can see, that’s not the case. However, the namesake production car will be just that, a Volt with a Buick badge for China.
Getting back to the concept at hand, it made its debut today in China at the 2016 Guangzhou Motor Show to preview electrified models that will be sold under the company’s Buick Blue strategy. General Motors and SAIC through their Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) engineering and design joint venture developed the model with an unspecified plug-in hybrid “high-performance” powertrain. The vehicle takes advantage of GM’s latest developments in electric drive systems and uses a modular lithium-ion battery pack, also characterized as being a high-performance unit.
Images of the interior cabin are not available at the moment of writing, but Buick says its second take on a Velite concept comes with an elegant cabin featuring an eco-friendly construction by making use of recycled materials. It has also received induction ambient lighting and a panoramic sunroof, while on the safety side there’s a 360-degree intelligent traffic induction system working together with a plethora of body-mounted sensors. It enables the implementation of various functions like high-speed adaptive cruise control, lane and safety distance keep assist, hazard warning, as well as night vision and even low-speed autonomous driving.
Buick says the powertrain it has installed inside the 2016 Velite concept will make the transition to a production model with a plug-in hybrid setup. Meanwhile, the concept is sharing the spotlight in Guangzhou with the GL8 luxury minivan also showcased in the range-topping Avenir guise, the name Buick will be using from now on for its fully-loaded models.