Does Buick’s first Ultium-based EV revealed in China deliver the electrification the brand needs in the US?
Photos and details have emerged from Buick’s first electric vehicle based on GM’s Ultium platform, the Electra E5, which was leaked in China. Can we expect to see Buick’s EV in the booming US EV market?
Although there has been little information thus far on Buick’s electric vehicles, we are finally gaining some insights into what to expect from the automaker’s electric lineup.
In June 2022, Buick announced it would be going all-electric by 2030, unveiling a new logo to represent the brand’s transition into the future. The automaker didn’t give too many details but mentioned the EV lineup will use the “Electra” name.
Being under General Motors, we can only expect Buick’s EV to sit atop GM’s Ultium electric vehicle architecture which the automaker is already using for Chevy, GMC, and Cadillac electric models.
Buick offered a preview of its Wildcat, 2+2 EV concept, showcasing what the company can do in the electric era. However, since then, the automaker has been relatively quiet about what we can expect with plans to begin production in 2024.
That was until official documents out of China reveal Buick’s electric vehicle, the Electra E5, and what we can expect from the upcoming Buick EV lineup.
Buicks first Ultium electric vehicle emerges
According to documents released by the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Buick Electra E5 EV dimensions are:
- 193 inches long
- 75 inches wide
- 66 inches tall
As far as size, the dimensions are similar to that of the highly-anticipated 2024 Chevy Equinox, another EV that will sit on GM’s Ultium platform.
The Electra E5 features slim LED front lights, a “closed style” front grille, and a shark nose shape.
Even though there’s little information on the EV’s powertrain, the documents show the Buick E5 (base model) will be equipped with an electric powertrain capable of 180 kW or 241 HP.
Buick has already filed for trademarks for Electra models 1 through 9 in the US, so we will most likely see some version of the Electra E5 in the US. The E5 sits in the middle of the lineup, indicating a midsize crossover, one of the most in demand and growing auto segments.
California-based startup unveils 58 MPH electric jet ski on hydrofoils
It’s an exciting time for personal watercraft enthusiasts that want to swap a roaring engine for the instantaneous (and silent) power of electric motors. The latest electric jet ski making a splash is the Valo Hyperfoil.
Technically speaking, it’s not actually a jet ski, nor is it making that much of a splash. “Jet Ski” is a brand name owned by Kawasaki, and the Valo Hyperfoil isn’t really making a splash because it’s actually flying above the waves on hydrofoils.
But whatever you call it and whichever hydro-based pun you shoehorn into an electric watercraft article, the Valo Hyperfoil is certainly an impressive machine.
Unveiled today by California-based startup Boundary Layer Technologies, the Valo Hyperfoil is one of the most advanced personal electric watercraft we’ve ever seen.
Not only is it quite powerful, packing in a 108 hp (80 kW) motor, but it can reach a maximum speed of 50 knots (58 mph or 93 km/h).
And it will do so while flying a full 2 feet (60 cm) above the surface of the water.
As founder and CEO of Boundary Layer Technologies Ed Kearny explained in a statement provided to Electrek:
“Valo will be a complete revolution to personal watercraft. The first Jetski was on the market 50 years ago this year, and it’s time for a major upgrade. Valo will be fast, agile, and tremendously exhilarating, all while being near silent and leaving zero wake. It will be like flying a stunt plane but on water. We see this a completely new form of water based mobility”
The secret to the flying nature of the Valo is its hydrofoils, which function like a set of airplane wings under water.
They lift the watercraft out of the dense water, helping it to save energy by flying through the air. That makes the ride smoother, faster and more efficient. It also means that the Valo can get by with fewer of those heavy and expensive batteries.
The company has spent the last four years developing hydrofoil technology for commercial purposes, such as passenger ferries and container ships. Now the company is hoping to apply that technology to the recreational market with a personal electric watercraft.
As Kearny continued:
“We are passionate about bringing foiling technology and its huge benefits to ships big and small. We simply shifted from ‘big first’, to ‘fast first’. What we love about Valo is how fast we can get to market. We are bringing all the technology we were developing for massive container ships and ferries and using it to deliver one hell of a recreational product.”
Hydrofoiling boats have been made famous by the Swedish company Candela, who is already building and delivering electric speedboats with impressive hydrofoiling performance. The company is also working on passenger ferries and water taxis for commercial use, but hasn’t shown off a personal electric watercraft like the Valo.
Other companies like Taiga have leveraged their electric snowmobile technology to demonstrate personal electric watercraft. But their planing hulls will have a hard time matching the efficiency of hydrofoils like those displayed on the Valo.
Boundary Layer Technologies expects to have a small number of limited edition Founders Edition Valos by the summer of 2023 Full production vehicles aren’t expected to hit the water before 2024. The anticipated price for the production vehicles is $59,000, though we don’t yet know what price tag those first run Founders Edition vehicles will carry.
Until then, we can at least look at these pretty renders.
Quick Charge Podcast: November 30, 2022
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Hitachi Energy debuts wireless grid tech that prevents wildfires
Hitachi Energy just launched wireless Spark Prevention Unit indicators that help prevent wildfires by enabling remote monitoring.
According to the US Department of Energy, approximately 10% of wildfire ignitions are sparked by faults on electrical infrastructure or electric equipment failure. Hitachi Energy’s new Wireless SPU Indicators allow utilities to monitor the grid remotely, in real time, with automated visual inspection rounds.
The SPU monitors the current and thermal load of surge arresters – which protect equipment from surges in the power system – installed in wildfire risk areas.
If there’s a thermal overload in the grid, the SPU interrupts the current flow and disconnects the surge arrester, thus preventing any arcing – which is when a circuit becomes overloaded and overheats – sparking, or ejection of hot particles that could potentially start a wildfire.
A visual indicator on the SPU lets the utility field crew know that it needs to be replaced. Hundreds of thousands of SPUs installed in some of the world’s most wildfire-prone areas, such as in the United States and Australia, have had a real impact in preventing wildfires. Being able to monitor them remotely is only going to improve wildfire prevention.
Photo: Pok Rie on Pexels.com
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