2023 Chevrolet-Equinox EV 3LT; (photo/Chevrolet)

The ‘Affordable’ Electric SUV Has Arrived: 2023 Chevy Equinox EV

The 2023 Equinox EV gives us familiar Chevrolet SUV looks in an all-new all-electric vehicle. It’s also the first truly mass-market battery-electric SUV, with pricing starting at around $30,000 — before tax incentives.

At an average of $65,000, today’s typical battery-electric vehicle (BEV) is well out of reach of the typical American car buyer. But while GM is rolling out an assortment of high-line EVs, including the $300,000-plus Cadillac Celestiq, it’s also targeting entry buyers with products like the new Chevrolet Equinox EV, which will come in at “around $30,000” when it reaches showrooms next year.

While it was late to the long-range EV market, General Motors is in a race to catch up with industry leader Tesla, as well as key competitors like Ford, Hyundai, and Volkswagen. It’s planning to roll out at least 30 BEVs by mid-decade. And they’ll cover a broad range of brands and product segments, from ultra-exotics like the Cadillac Celestiq to full-size pickups such as the GMC Hummer EV and Chevrolet Silverado EV.

But the bowtie brand isn’t forgetting about folks on a budget who’ve traditionally made up a major share of its customer base. It recently dropped the price of its first long-range model, the Bolt EV, to a starting price of $25,600. And coming by autumn 2023, it will introduce another “affordable” option — an all-electric version of its popular Equinox SUV.

2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV - 1LT rear 3-4
2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV 1LT; (photo/Chevrolet)

Equinox EV: $30,000 ‘Ballpark’ Price

When GM’s largest brand first began teasing the 2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV last year, it said the cost would be “around $30,000.” “And we’re still in that ballpark,” Scott Bell, VP of Global Chevrolet, confirmed during a media background briefing late last month.

As with the conventionally powered Chevrolet Equinox, the EV model will be entering what Bell expects to become “not only the largest but maybe the most competitive” segment in an EV market that is expected to grow rapidly over the coming decade.

Where BEVs accounted for barely 1% of U.S. new vehicle sales in 2019, that’s now running at about 6%. And, according to analysts like John Murphy of Bank of America Research, it could hit 20% by 2025.

So, Chevy knows it will take not only an affordable price but also a lot of features to win buyers over, especially those considering an electric vehicle for the first time.

All-New Vehicle, Familiar Styling

2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV - 3RS front 3-4
2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV 3RS; (photo/Chevrolet)

A quick glance at the Equinox should strike a familiar chord. There’s a lot of similarity between the design of the current gas-powered model and the new one running on lithium-ion batteries. They boast a close silhouette, with coke-bottle sculpting to the door panels and a subtle curve to the roofline — which will be available on some trim levels in two-tone.

Another key difference: The EV adopts a large C-pillar rather than the rear half-window on today’s model. There are also shorter overhangs than on the gas model.

The Equinox EV’s hood is a bit shorter — a common design feature on today’s battery models, as there’s no internal combustion under the hood. (Chevy officials aren’t yet saying whether or not there’ll be a “frunk,” or front trunk.) Instead, some of the engine compartment’s space has been repurposed for the passenger compartment.

There’s also a lack of a traditional grille because there’s no need for cooling air under the hood. Instead, there’s a sealed panel accented by a wide lightbar and backlit Chevy bowtie logo.

Small air intakes below the bumper do provide cooling air for the underlying Ultium architecture that the Equinox is mounted on.

2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV - 3RS interior
2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV 3RS interior; (photo/Chevrolet)

Equinox EV Range & Power

The platform is a flexible one that will eventually be shared with a wide range of GM BEVs, from entry-level models — excluding the older Bolt EV— to luxury products like the new Cadillac Lyriq SUV. It provides a great deal of flexibility in terms of battery pack size and powertrain layout. At Chevy, for example, the larger and more expensive Blazer EV will have three optional packs and will also offer front-, rear- or all-wheel-drive layouts.

The 2023 Equinox will offer two different battery packs and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. Depending on the package, buyers will get anywhere from 250 to 300 miles of range based on GM’s initial estimates.

Don’t expect the sort of performance Chevy plans to deliver with the Blazer EV, which is a 557-horsepower SS model that promises to deliver 0-60 launches in “under 4 seconds.” But the Equinox EV won’t be a slouch.

The FWD package will use a single electric motor producing 210 horsepower and 242 pound-feet of torque. The optional eAWD system will add a second motor on the back axle, the combination delivering 290 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque. By comparison, the gas-powered Equinox makes 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet from its turbocharged 1.5L engine.

Quick-Charging Equinox EV

One of the features of the EV will be One-Pedal driving, which allows a motorist to slow or even stop the Equinox by simply modulating the throttle, rather than having to jump on and off the brakes. The system relies on brake regeneration, which recaptures energy normally lost during braking and coasting, sending it back to the battery pack to extend range.

2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV - 3LT charger port

The Equinox EV comes with a standard 11.5 kW Level 2 charger that can boost range by 34 miles per hour of charging when plugged into a 220V system. An upgraded 19.2 kW charger takes that to 51 miles of range per hour. And the electric SUV can use the newest public quick-chargers at up to 150 kW, adding 70 miles of range in as little as 10 minutes.

GM is spending millions to help establish a nationwide charging network, and officials hinted that Equinox buyers may get some free charging as part of the purchase price, as with other new models. Stay tuned for details.

Loaded With Tech, as You’d Expect

2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV - 3LT interior
2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV 3LT interior; (photo/Chevrolet)

As has become the norm in the EV market, the 2023 Chevy Equinox will have plenty of digital technology. The sporty cabin will be available with up to a 17.7-inch infotainment touchscreen as well as a digital gauge cluster. Look for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

And the SUV will offer optional Super Cruise, the hands-free GM driving system. The automaker recently announced that it’s getting ready to double the range on which Super Cruise can operate to around 400,000 miles. That will now include a number of undivided two-lane roads, such as portions of California’s scenic Pacific Coast Highway and old Route 66.

An extensive array of advanced driver-assistance systems will be offered as well, with the precise mix depending on trim level.

2023 Chevy Equinox EV: Pricing & Availability

2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV - 1LT side
2023 Chevrolet Equinox EV 1LT; (photo/Chevrolet)

Chevy officials have high hopes for the Equinox, which Bell declares “a game-changer for us and the industry.” Certainly, it will give Chevrolet a leg up on competitors on the cost front. Though larger and more well-equipped, you’d still have to spend $65,990 to get into the base version of the Tesla Model Y.

And other electric SUVs — such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV 6, Mustang Mach-E, and Volkswagen ID.4 — come in at least $10,000 more than what Chevy suggests Equinox will start it.

What’s yet unclear is how newly revised federal EV tax incentives will play into the picture. Both GM and Tesla lost their credits after crossing a sales threshold. But Equinox appears likely to qualify to get those credits back, which would mean an effective starting price of under $25,000.

With Equinox, “we’re going after the masses (who) can’t afford” most of the EVs on the market today, said Steve Majoros, Chevy’s marketing chief.

The 2023 Equinox EV SUV will reach Chevrolet U.S. showrooms by autumn 2023, with other markets to follow.

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Paul Eisenstein

Paul A. Eisenstein is an award-winning publisher, photographer, editor, and one of the world’s most widely published automotive journalists. His work appears in a wide range of print, broadcast, and electronic outlets, including AutoWise, GearJunkie, NBC News, Forbes Wheels, and his own automotive website, TheDetroitBureau.com. He’s a North American Car and Truck of the Year juror, and board member and past president of the Automotive Press Association. J.D. Power also named him a “Pioneer of the Internet."