Chevrolet reveals its new electric SUV in performance SS guise with 404kw and 879Nm of torque.
General Motors has revealed the new Chevrolet Blazer EV, which will act as the firm’s crucial rival to the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Like its Blue Oval competitor, the strikingly styled electric crossover will be sold alongside a mechanically unrelated ICE car and share with it a name that has been used by the firm for several decades.
The EV sits lower than the ICE car and has a bigger gap between the axles, its sides are more heavily sculpted and it has a distinctive wrap-around light bar and illuminated badge at the front.
Available with four specification levels, the Blazer EV is offered with between 398km and 515km of range, putting it ahead of the 482km offered by the 4.1-tonne Hummer EV.
All cars are available with a 17.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, have an on-board charging rate of 11.5kW and can charge at speeds of up to 190kW.
Entry-level 1LT models are front-wheel drive only and four-wheel drive is an option on 2LT and RS models.
Range-topping, performance-oriented SS cars are equipped with four-wheel drive as standard and have more aggressive-looking bodywork, including a two-tone colour scheme, a black roof, bespoke front grille and 22-inch wheels.
The SS variant also packs a hefty performance boost to rival that of the Tesla Model Y, courtesy of a dual-motor set-up with 404kW and 8789Nm of torque. SS models also benefit from a ‘Wow’ (wide-open Watts) mode, which thrusts the EV from 0-100km/h in less than 4.0sec.
“The Blazer EV SS has the soul of a true sports car,” said Scott Bell, Chevrolet vice president. “And while it represents the pinnacle of performance for Chevy’s EV line-up, all models offer stirring capabilities that will surprise and delight true performance devotees.”
The Blazer was first introduced in 1969 as a blocky, capable, two-door SUV to rival the Ford Bronco. It was sold in three generations until 1995, when it was replaced by the Tahoe, but the name returned in 2019 for a conventionally fuelled crossover with much less of a utilitarian billing.
The new electric Blazer – described by GM president Mark Reuss as “an affordable, high-volume entry” to the EV market – is completely unrelated to its petrol-fuelled namesake.
Unlike the ICE Blazer, the EV version will use the company’s revolutionary new third-generation EV platform and will be equipped with the same Ultium battery technology as the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq.
While the Blazer is likely to be a big hit in the US and Canada when it launches next summer, GM has no full-scale operation in place in Europe, five years on from selling the Opel and Vauxhall sibling brands to the PSA Group.
The Chevrolet Corvette supercar is the only model from the company to be produced from the factory in right-hand drive and sold in Australia, while the Silverado ute is converted locally.
However, Barra recently told American outlet CNBC that GM could return to Europe as “an all-EV player” and even went so far as to say she was “looking forward to that”, suggesting the Blazer could come to Europe – where it would shake up the highly competitive and fast-expanding EV crossover segment – after all.
The company is already firming up its European operations, appointing Mahmoud Samara as the dedicated president and managing director of GM Europe.
The company told Automotive News Europe: “His mission is to transform our current operations into a non-traditional mobility start-up in the region. We will make very deliberate decisions about where and how we compete in Europe.
“Together with his team at our headquarters in Zürich, he is preparing this launch, leveraging the new initiatives and technologies that GM is providing for global growth opportunities.”