In June this year, Buick unveiled a sleek-looking electric crossover concept in China called the Electra-X.
Today, our spies caught the first shots of what looks like a production version of the Electra-X Concept in the form of a fully camouflaged prototype that was undergoing testing in Milford, Michigan.
As the photos show, the prototype has compact dimensions and is covered by a significant amount of heavy vinyl camo, which makes it difficult to see the design details of the Buick electric crossover. However, judging by the proportions and the shape of the placeholder headlights and taillights, as well as the pop-out door handles, the production model appears heavily inspired by the concept.
Likely called the Electra E4—it looks smaller than the 192.6 in (4,892 mm) long Electra E5 recently uncovered in China—the electric Buick crossover will use General Motors’ Ultium EV architecture featuring lithium-ion batteries developed in partnership with LG Chem and latest-generation electric motors.
Speaking of motors, the standard model is likely to offer a single motor on the rear axle for a rear-wheel-drive setup, while a dual motor all-wheel-drive powertrain should be optional.
The big question is whether the Electra E4 will be sold exclusively in China or will find its way to North America as well. Just because this prototype was spotted in Michigan doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be sold in the US; after all, we’ve seen many GM prototypes being tested stateside before without ever making it to the domestic market.
Earlier this year, Buick confirmed that its first EV in the US will be an Ultium platform-based electric SUV arriving in 2024. It also said the EV would be sized similarly to the Cadillac Lyriq, which is a midsize vehicle, and would be heavily inspired by the Wildcat Concept coupe from a styling standpoint.
Since the Electra E4 appears to be a compact crossover, this could either mean it will not be available in the US or it will arrive later than 2024. Another thing possibly hurting the Electra E4’s chances to become available stateside is the fact Buick said the Electra-X Concept previews a vehicle for the Chinese market.
Still, it would be a missed opportunity not to offer the Electra E4 in the United States as the Buick brand desperately needs EVs in its North American lineup. After all, the automaker filed nine new trademark applications with the USPTO for the Electra E1 through E9 names recently, which suggests the Electra E4 is a clear candidate for its US lineup.