Buick is going all-electric, and to anticipate what that future could look like, the division of General Motors introduced a stylish concept car that borrows a name from the past.
The Buick Wildcat EV Concept stands in stark contrast to the automaker’s current lineup of hard-looking SUVs. It’s a luxury coupe, the kind of car Buick used to be known for. The low-mounted trapezoidal grille and 18-inch turbine wheels give the concept a slightly retro feel without drowning it in nostalgia. The concept also bears the updated Buick logo, the first logo change since 1990.
Inside, multiple touch screens cover the dashboard. Buick said the Wildcat EV also uses artificial intelligence to learn driver preferences, biometrics for safety, and even has a Zen mode that combines aromatherapy, massage and soothing lighting.
Buick first used the Wildcat name on a concept car in 1954, during the heyday of GM design. The Wildcat became one of Buick’s mid-level models during the 1960s and was also used in a couple of subsequent concept cars. Unlike some of those earlier Wildcats, the Wildcat EV will not go into production. But Buick plans to use some of its design elements in future electric vehicles.
The automaker confirmed Wednesday that it will make its entire lineup electric by the end of the decade. The first Buick EV production model for North America will debut in 2024. These future Buick electric vehicles will use another name from the automaker’s past: Electra. That name first appeared for the 1959 model year and lasted until 1990. This time, it will be what Buick calls a “series name” that identifies models with an electric powertrain.
More details about the Buick Electra EVs will be revealed closer to 2024, but we do know that Buick will use the same set of Ultium components as other GM brands. GM has said the Ultium name will encompass battery packs ranging from 50 kilowatt-hours to 200 kWh, with a maximum range of 400 miles and zero to 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds. But it’s not clear where Buick models will fit on that spectrum.
GM has previously said it aims to eliminate tailpipes from its passenger cars by 2035, and has already introduced Ultium-based electric vehicles for its other brands. The GMC Hummer EV recently started production, the Cadillac Lyriq will follow later this year, and the Chevrolet Silverado EV is scheduled to arrive in 2024. So it’s about time Buick joined the EV party.