If ever there was a brand name from the past that cried out to be part of the electric car future, it is the Buick Electra. Beginning in 1959, the Electra name replace the Super in the Buick lineup, while the Roadmaster became the Electra 225. Now Buick says it will sell only electric cars from 2030 onward and they will all carry the Electra badge.
The first Electra EV is scheduled to appear in 2024 and will be based on the GM Ultium platform — as will all electric vehicles from General Motors from the upcoming Chevy Equinox to the Hummer except the Chevy Bolt/EUV twins. No further technical details about the new Electra cars have been disclosed at this point.
“The Buick brand is committed to an all-electric future by the end of this decade,” said Duncan Aldred, global vice president, Buick and GMC. “Buick’s new logo, use of the Electra naming series and a new design look for our future products will transform the brand.”
The fact that the company is focused so intently on a change to its logo is troubling. While every other car maker is crowing about kWhs, OTA updates, range, charging speed, and digital driver assistance packages, Buick is waxing eloquent about how its new logo honors the ancestral heraldry of founder David Dunbar Buick.
While we’re at it, let’s clear up another mystery. The name Electra was first chosen back in 1959 not to as a reference to the Greek goddess who was the daughter of Agamemnon but to honor Texas socialite and sculptor Electra Waggoner Biggs, the sister-in-law of GM president Harlow H. Curtice. She also gave her name to the Lockheed L-188 Electra airliner.
Buick Wildcat Concept
While Buick hasn’t shared any details about what the new Electra branded electric cars might look like, it did unveil its Wildcat Concept this week.”The Wildcat EV concept represents the real design future for the brand,” said Global Buick and GMC Design Executive Director Sharon Gauci. “Buick has always been forward-looking and this expression is a glimpse of where we’re going, and the optimism we have for the limitless possibilities of an electric future.”
The company says it has no plans to build the new Wildcat — in fact, the concept has no running gear at all — but suggests many of its design elements will find their way into future Buick models. One feature that stands out is the roof sections that flip up slightly to increase headroom while entering or exiting the car — an homage both to gullwing doors and to the iconic T-tops that were such a part of GM history in the past.
One interesting feature incorporated into the Wildcat concept is a sensor that monitors the driver’s heart rate. If it detects the onset of incipient road rage, it will tell the car to change the ambient lighting to more restful colors, activate the seat massager, and spritz a dollop of calming aromas into the passenger compartment to soothe those jangled nerves.
If you are hoping for a swoopy electric sports coupe from Buick, forget it. SUVs and more SUVs are on the agenda as Americans continue to demand less expensive vehicles while also insisting they be large enough to transport an entire soccer team plus a Golden Retriever or two.
If you get all jiggly inside by the thought of that stylish new logo, the new electric cars from Buick should be just what the doctor ordered for those who want to drive an electric car from The General but find the offerings from Cadillac too splashy and those from Chevrolet too plebeian.
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