Chevrolet may be selling a fair number of Blazer SUVs, but the 2019 reboot of the nameplate fell short of expectations for many classic Blazer buyers. The question is whether an all-new Blazer EV, due to reach showrooms for 2023, will come closer to the mark.
An all-new Chevrolet Blazer EV will make its formal debut on July 18, according to General Motors CEO Mary Barra. It’s one of at least 30 battery-electric vehicles the Detroit automaker plans to launch by 2025, part of a $35 billion electrification program.
In a new tweet, Barra offered an undisguised look at the new crossover, which was first announced at the Consumer Electronics Show last January — at the same time GM said the bowtie brand also would get all-electric versions of the Equinox SUV and Silverado pickup.
“Developed from the ground up, the Blazer EV offers a groundbreaking mix of style, performance and technology. Stay tuned to learn more,” the GM CEO wrote in her tweet.
I can’t wait until July 18, when we share the details with the world. pic.twitter.com/FIPE2SRVyg
— Mary Barra (@mtbarra) June 13, 2022
A New Architecture, Better Batteries
The pic included in Barra’s announcement shows a modern-looking CUV — which might disappoint those who somehow fantasized a return to the boxier lines of the classic Blazer SUV. There are some design details shared between the current, gas-powered models and the all-electric model.
But the Blazer EV adopts cues that have become shorthand for the latest generation of battery-electric vehicles — like the LED lightbar that flows across Blazer’s nose, atop the slit-like headlights and grille. That grille is sealed, as there’s no need to push air under the hood since there’s no engine compartment.
The 2023 Blazer’s drivetrain, including the lithium-ion battery pack, is mounted under the load floor, the electric crossover using GM’s new Ultium “architecture,” which is shared with a variety of upcoming BEVs, including the Equinox and the Cadillac Lyriq.
The batteries use a new chemistry that, GM claims, has a higher energy density — in other words, more kilowatt-hours in a smaller package. The Ultium batteries are cheaper to produce and also are expected to reduce the risk of fires.
Chevy had to recall nearly 200,000 of its older-style Bolt EV and EUV models after a handful of fires were reported. The two models were out of production for 9 months as safer replacement batteries were developed and put into production.
Eventually, GM plans to have four plants producing the Ultium batteries in North America. Initially, the Blazer’s batteries will come from a new factory in Lordstown, Ohio.
Plenty of Room
The skateboard-like design has a number of advantages. Though the Blazer EV will certainly be heavier than the gas model, it will boast a lower center of gravity. The electric model is expected to have a “frunk,” or front trunk, where an engine would have gone. Meanwhile, some of the space normally devoted to the engine compartment will be repurposed in the form of a larger cabin and rear cargo compartment.
We’ve yet to see images of the Blazer interior but Chevy officials have, on background, promised the EV will get a much more high-tech cabin, with a large digital gauge cluster and infotainment screen.
GM has shown that it can build a serious off-roader with the launch of the GMC Hummer EV last year. Whether the new Blazer will regain some of its classic trail composure is uncertain — as are powertrain details.
SS Model in the Works
But the automaker has dropped a few hints about what’s in the works. Expect several model variants, including a high-performance SS model, based on a previously released teaser image. The good news is that electric motors deliver peak torque the moment they start spinning.
The current RS model can dash to 60 in a barely impressive 6.3 seconds using its turbocharged 2.0L inline-four. Even the new Toyota bZ4X can beat that at 5.8 seconds with its all-wheel-drive package. The Mustang Mach-E GT Performance edition needs just 3.5 seconds.
The Blazer EV SS will have two motors, one on each axle, sources confirm, and will go up against such sporty competitors as the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT and the Kia EV6 GT coming later this year. A less sporty — and lower-priced — single motor Blazer also is expected.
As for range, that will vary depending upon the trim package. It could match the Mach-E’s maximum 314 miles, but the SS is expected to give up some range for performance.
GM’s ‘Path to an All-Electric Future’
GM CEO Barra has laid out a “path to an all-electric future” for the automaker. It not only plans 30 BEVs for 2025 but also expects to eliminate internal combustion engines entirely by 2035.
Not surprisingly, considering its sales volume, GM is rushing to flesh out the Chevrolet brand’s all-electric lineup. The two Bolt models are now back in production and, thanks to a recently announced price cut, are the most affordable BEVs in America delivering over 200 miles per charge, starting at around $27,000.
The coming year will see Chevy add the Equinox, which is expected to start just over $30,000, as well as the Silverado EV. A hybridized Corvette is on its way for 2024, and an all-electric version is set to follow at some later date.
There’ll be plenty of BEVs for the rest of the GM brand lineup. GMC will follow the Hummer EV pickup with an SUV version, as well as an electric Sierra pickup.
Cadillac is just getting ready to begin sales of the Lyriq SUV and is teasing its upcoming Celestiq supercar. Even the massive Escalade is expected to go electric.
Buick, meanwhile, recently revealed twin concepts, including the all-electric Wildfire sedan and Electra-X SUV. It has yet to reveal production plans.