When Chevrolet first announced the Equinox EV in January of 2022, it said the battery-electric version of its popular midsize SUV would start at around $30,000 and have a range of up to 300 miles. That was pretty exciting news for those seeking an electric SUV at that time. Bear in mind that the Inflation Reduction Act had not been signed into law by President Biden at that time and the Tesla Model Y was priced at $66,000.
In an early press release, GM CEO Mary Barra said “We are at a turning point where EVs will be the mainstream choice for the next generation of customers and Equinox EV will lead this charge for us. With the flexibility of GM’s Ultium Platform, we are bringing to market vehicles at nearly every price point and for every purpose.”
With a starting price of around $30,000 for the 1LT, the Equinox EV plugs Chevrolet into the critical compact SUV segment and is expected to be the most affordable EV in its class, Chevrolet said. The estimated range for the entry level front-wheel drive Equinox EV LT1 was listed as 250 miles. With the optional battery pack, the estimated range increased to 300 miles.
“Chevrolet is now positioned to offer a wide array of EVs,” said Scott Bell, vice president of Chevrolet. “We know truck and SUV customers better than anyone and we’ve channeled that insight and experience into our new EVs.” With the Equinox EV, designers and engineers focused on the style, space, safety, and value attributes that made the gas-powered Equinox second to only the Silverado in Chevy sales.
Over the past 15 months, Chevrolet hasn’t had much to say about the Equinox EV, but people got rattled in August when its big brother, the Blazer EV, suddenly went from a starting price of around $45,000 up to $56,715. The 1LT trim level was dropped and the 2LT took its place as the least expensive Blazer EV. Granted, the 2LT comes with a lot of nice-to-have features that were not included in the 1LT package, but still, $12,000 is a pretty hefty increase for those who wanted a Blazer EV but only had enough money in their budget for the $45,000 version. Would Chevrolet pull the same trick with the Equinox?
Now we know, and the answer is, yes, the base price has gone up from $30,000 to $34,995. But before you start sending Mary Barra a nastygram, consider this. The new price includes the transportation and delivery charge. What’s more, the entry level 1LT Equinox will have an EPA estimated range of 319 miles — 70 more than originally expected.
There are also some important upgrades included that will help take away the sting of the higher price. They include 21-inch wheels, a 17.7-inch diagonal color touchscreen, an advanced driver assistance system that includes Super Cruise — GM’s self-driving technology that permits hands-free driving on some roads.
Oh, there’s one more thing, The Equinox EV 1LT comes with wireless charging capability built in. It also has Google capability, which gives users access to a suite of Google apps directly from the infotainment system. All in all, that $5,000 price hike seems almost reasonable.
Chevy Equinox EV Vs Tesla Model Y
For years, Elon Musk has been challenging other manufacturers to build compelling electric cars. Does the Equinox EV fit that description? It certainly does if price is the primary consideration. The Chevrolet starts at $34,995 including destination. It has a single front-mounted motor and 319 miles of range. The Tesla starts at $43,990, not including a destination fee of $1,390. It has a single rear-mounted motor and 260 miles of range.
Both cars are eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit (which becomes a rebate on January 1, 2024), which makes their net price after incentives $27,995 and $37,880, respectively. For almost $10,000 less, Equinox owners get 70 miles more range, wireless charging, and Google functionality. Is that compelling? Many may think so.
Scott Bell certain is one who feels that way. “We were also anticipating that it was going to be about 250 miles (range). I think that we’re pretty proud of where the price landed and we also expect that it’ll be the most affordable EV with 300 plus miles of range.”
The ILt Is Coming, But Not Yet
GM will begin Equinox EV production with two higher priced trims — a front-wheel drive RS model that starts at $48,995 and an all-wheel drive variant at $52,395, According to TechCrunch, Chevy executives wouldn’t share the exact date for those first Equinox EVs, only stating it will be sometime in early 2024. Compare those prices to the Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD at 48,990 and the Model Y Performance at $52,490. Be sure to add the Tesla $1,390 destination charge to the Teslas when making comparisons.
TechCrunch suggests timing will be an important consideration. Chevrolet will probably want to introduce the Equinox EV just as the last Chevy Bolts and Bolt EUVs are sold, which is expected to happen in the spring. GM said it will end production of those cars at the end of the year and will introduce a next generation version in 2025.
During the most recent GM earnings call, Mary Barra had this to say about the Bolt twins. “Another key launch for us is the next-generation Chevrolet Bolt EV. I know there has been some speculation in the market as to why we are developing a new Bolt EV. Our strategy is to build on the tremendous equity we have in the brand and to do it as efficiently as possible.”
Some will say there is no comparison between a Chevrolet and a Tesla, and they have some good points in their favor. But I own both a Model Y and a Bolt. For a difference of nearly $10,000, a car that has the same features and quality as the Bolt would suit me just fine, and I suspect I am not alone in that regard. Barring any unforeseen supply issues or price hikes, the Equinox EV may be one of the most important electric cars in America.
Now if only Chevy can get them into production and into the hands of dealers who understand how to sell electric cars, Chevy could have a major hit on its hands with the Equinox EV.
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