Chevrolet has some good news this week for electric car customers. Later this year, people will be able to buy the 1LT base model of the Equinox EV at a starting price of $34,995 plus a destination fee of $1395. That’s about $5000 more than what Chevrolet first said the price of the Equinox EV would be, but that price bump is more than offset by news that the Equinox EV will be eligible for the full $7500 federal tax credit/rebate. That will make the net cost $31,090 — well below the average new car cost in the US today of around $48,000. So much for the “EVs cost so much more than regular cars” complaint heard so often from electric car detractors.
In all, there will be five trim levels of the Equinox EV:
- 1LT FWD starting at $34,995
- 2LT FWD starting at $43,295
- 2RS FWD starting at $44,795
- 3LT FWD starting at $45,295
- 3RS FWD starting at $46,795
All front-wheel drive versions will have a single electric motor rated at 213 hp (159 kW) and an EPA range of 319 miles (513 km). Actual range may be less if the customer chooses larger wheels and tires from the option list. There will be dual motor versions coming in due course. Those cars will have a combined 288 hp (215 kW) and a range of 285 miles. Chevrolet has offered no pricing details for AWD versions of the Equinox EV.
According to Inside EVs, the FWD cars will accelerate to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds while the AWD cars will do the same sprint in 5.9 seconds. Neither number is all that impressive in the world of electric cars today.
Adapting The Equinox EV To Market Conditions
The Equinox EV has been delayed by several months. GM CEO Mary Barra said in her Q3 2023 earnings letter to shareholders that the company needed to “moderate the acceleration of EV production in North America to protect our pricing, adjust to slower near-term growth in demand, and implement engineering efficiency and other improvements that will make our vehicles less expensive to produce, and more profitable.”
That $8,300 jump from the base 1LT to the 2LT trim brings some convenience items like heated and power adjustable front seats, heated side mirrors, and a powered rear liftgate, as well as some styling tweaks. Adaptive cruise control and Super Cruise are also available, but only as extra cost options. More than eight grand more seems like a pretty hefty thump in the wallet for not a lot more features.
Early customers won’t actually be able to buy either car because Chevrolet is starting with the 2RS when the car goes on sale later this year. The 2RS is a slightly sportier take on the Equinox than the 2LT, albeit with much the same standard features and options. The 3RS does include 19.2 kW AC charging for those who have the right plug in their garage to handle that much current. Production of the Equinox EV is underway at GM’s Ramos Arizpe assembly plant in Mexico and deliveries are expected to begin by the middle of this year.
The question now is, will the Equinox EV be a compelling electric car? It has appealing styling and a low enough price, at least for the front-wheel drive versions. Its performance specs, however, are less than exciting. On the other hand, it is an SUV, which is what people seem to want today.
Has Chevrolet got its sums right with this car and solved the multitude of teething problems that afflicted the earliest examples of the Blazer EV? We won’t know the answers to those questions until people start driving them and providing feedback on their driving experience. The motoring press is comparing the car to the single motor RWD Tesla Model Y, which costs about $5000 more that the base 1LT Equinox EV, but the 1LT is not really equivalent to the Tesla.
The real question is whether this new EV from Chevrolet is enough to allay customer fears about range anxiety and charging times. Also will Chevrolet dealers make an effort to sell them or leave them out back by the dumpster with batteries that are only slightly charged so customers can’t drive them?
GM has found a reason to kill every electric car it has ever made. Is the company serious about joining the EV revolution or still just sleepwalking its way into the future? We are about to find out.
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