General Motors revealed a new electric SUV Thursday that the automaker expects will be the cheapest compact electric SUV on the market when it goes into production in about a year. The Chevrolet Equinox EV will have a starting price around $30,000 which, at any rate, will make it among the cheapest electric vehicles of any sort.
The average electric vehicle available today has a base sticker price of about $47,500, according to Edmunds.com. The $30,000 price for the Equinox EV would be, of course, for the simplest version with no optional features. That price does not include tax credits but GM is not currently eligible for any electric vehicle tax credits, anyway, and it’s uncertain if any GM vehicles will be eligible under new rules, either.
Among 2022 model year mass-market EVs, only the Nissan Leaf, with its base price of $28,500, costs less and it also currently qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit. There are a few other models in the low- to mid-$30,000 price range, too. Among them are Chevrolet’s own Bolt EV and the SUV-ish Bolt EUV.
Despite having the same name, the Equinox EV shares very little with the gasoline-powered small SUV that is Chevrolet’s second-best-selling model after the Silverado pickup. GM took the same approach with the Chevrolet Silverado EV pickup and the Chevrolet Blazer EV SUV, both of which were unveiled earlier this year. They share only their names and their basic size and form with gas models. All three, along with GM’s GMC Hummer EV truck and Cadillac’s Lyriq SUV are designed around the same electric vehicle battery pack design and structure.
The Equinox EV is almost three inches wider than the gas model and slightly shorter, as measured from the roof to the ground. Unlike some electric vehicles, it has no front trunk. Instead the area under the hood holds electronics equipment and the front electric motor. GM
(GM) designers and engineers decided to save the cost and complexity of trying to create a space under the hood and spend vehicle development time and money, instead, on creating a better experience inside the cabin, said Scott Bell, GM
(GM)‘s vice president for Chevrolet.
The Equinox EV will be available with two-tone paint jobs, something that’s been an industry trend for several years. Customers getting the sportier-looking RT models will be able to get a black roof with a differently colored body while those getting the standard LT models will be able to choose a contrasting white roof.
The cheapest version will be the so-called Blazer 1LT with a single 210 horsepower engine powering only the front wheels. It will have total driving range on a full charge of about 250 miles. Equinox EV 1LT SUVs will also be available with more driving range — up to 300 miles — and with all-wheel-drive and a driving range up to an estimated 280 miles, but those versions will, presumably, cost more. All-wheel-drive versions will be able to get as much as 290 horsepower from two electric motors.
Better-equipped versions, the 2LT and sportier-looking RS, will have either the 300-mile range or all-wheel-drive with up to 280 miles of range. Unlike the more expensive Blazer EV, the Equinox EV will be available only with all- or front-wheel-drive. There will not be a rear-wheel-drive option.