Electric Buick Wildcat is the First Step in Company's EV Plans

Buick showed that it won't be left behind in the electric vehicle (EV) market on Monday, premiering the electric Wildcat concept, drawing the name from a decades-old concept-turned-production vehicle. Like the original, the new Wildcat is a big two-door coupe. Unlike the old version, this one doesn't have a gas-guzzling V8.

"The Wildcat EV concept represents the real design future for the brand," said Sharon Gauci, executive director, global Buick-GMC design in a press release. "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 Wildcat's face features a forward-leaning front end with a lower grille that would look at home on an internal combustion vehicle. The bars are sealed over, less air is needed because no engine cooling is required, and are flanked by two checkmark-shaped headlights. The concept-style turbine wheels measure 18 inches and in back blade-shaped LED taillights join the fronts in a welcome sequence, like the new BMW 7 Series, when the driver walks up.

Buick noted that the low and wide concept was a way to show off its future designs. These cues look better on coupes and sedans.

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"It's definitely a way to make it a dramatic expression that people will remember and understand," Therese Pinazzo, Buick exterior and interior design manager told Newsweek.

The Wildcat was one of the few times that the entire design team agreed on a sketch almost immediately.

"There are moments in time when a team really rallies around a sketch. When it went up everyone gravitated towards it and everyone was behind what was represented," Gauci told Newsweek. "Beyond the design team, it started to influence some leadership decisions and we decided we need to turn this into a concept vehicle."

Getting inside the Wildcat takes a button press that both opens the door automatically and opens the roof a few inches. That allows the back passengers access as easy as the front passengers.

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In the cabin, the Wildcat features light-colored leather with Legato Green on the carpets and dash. The center console floats from the front seats to the back. It features lots of metal accents, some chrome and some brushed with a flat finish.

Buick says the concept "is built to be a platform for futuristic features such as artificial intelligence, biometrics and aromatherapy". It can detect heart rate and adjust vehicle settings for relaxation. In "Zen Mode" the cabin lights dim, aromatherapy scents are released and the massaging seats are activated.

Despite the effort that went into this concept, when Buick fields a production entry into the EV landscape, it will be a compact crossover using another throwback name: Electra, followed by an alphanumeric.

Buick's first North American EV will land in 2024 using the name and new badge, which hasn't been updated since 1990. The three-color tri-shield logo is illuminated on the Wildcat concept on the nose, tail and steering wheel. It's a bold look, though not surprising as many brands are updating their look. Nor is the illumination surprising, as many luxury automakers also offer this bit of jewelry.

The new Electra range will be complete by the end of this decade, according to Buick, but there will be a time when both gas-powered and electric vehicles will be on sale. The company also says its new cars will come with three years of OnStar and will offer a Connected Services Premium Plan for Wi-Fi.