It’s been a big day for Buick’s design teams. In addition to revealing the Wildcat EV concept, which previews the brand’s design future in North America, it also revealed the Electra-X, which looks ahead at what Chinese customers can expect.
Developed by GM’s PATAC engineering and design team in Shanghai, it shares some details in common with the Wildcat EV concept as interpreted in a closer-to-production style. Indeed, Buick says this show car previews its new generation of EVs for the market that will be based on GM’s versatile Ultium platform.
The Electra-X sports Buick’s new tri-shield badge, which sits on a newly designed front end. The automaker describes it as a “shark-nose” that leans forward and integrates a new trapezoidal grille.
The forward section is completed by high-mounted check-mark-style headlights, which are complemented by aviation-inspired lamps at the edges of the grille. These will be a signature of Buick designs going forward. The lights also ‘dance and twinkle’ when you approach the vehicle in a greeting animation. Finally, the vehicle can project information at the side and rear for added pedestrian protection.
Although Buick calls the Electra-X an SUV, it features coupe-like proportions and a low-profile silhouette to highlight the EV’s athletic character. Further enhancing that appeal are the 21-inch wheels that, in addition to looking good, are aerodynamically optimized.
Inside, the EV gets four seats set up for maximum comfort, while a wraparound glass and a panoramic sunroof make it feel even more spacious. The above-mentioned seats are also upholstered in a 3D knit fabric made from recycled plastic bottles to make them greener.
The slim air vents are integrated into the instrument panel and the concept features what Buick calls a Virtual Cockpit System. Making use of QUALCOMM’s flagship Snapdragon chips, it has a 30-inch Freeform display that produces images with 6K resolution. Able to reflect a billion colors, it has a pixel density that approaches the limit of the human eye.
It also has 5G connectivity for fast response and streaming video transmission and it can be updated over the air. If you don’t want to get fingerprints on your screen and spoil its remarkable resolution, the vehicle also supports voice commands to control things like the A/C, the seats, and the lighting.
Further enhanced with Super Cruise driver assistance technology and a iKey technology that allows owners to use their phones as a key, the Electra-X is as much a tech showcase as it is a design showcase.
“Buick is well known across China for its beautiful styling,” said Matt Noone, executive director of SAIC-GM PATAC Design. “The Electra-X will be a significant game-changer for Buick in offering products that are not only electric but also sporty and attractive to younger customers. Many of the design elements from the concept will be applied on future production models.”