The number of electric vehicle models in General Motor’s lineup continues to grow with the launch of the five-passenger Chevrolet Equinox EV.
Attaching the Equinox badge to this EV, which is smaller than the Blazer EV but larger than the Bolt compact car, should give the vehicle a sense of familiarity with buyers, although the design and propulsion systems are night-and-day different.
How divergent are they? First, the Equinox EV is more stylish than its gasoline sibling, which remains on offer at least through the 2024 model year. The EV’s front end has an aerodynamic appearance, as does the sweptback roofline and rear deck.
The Equinox EV is also significantly longer – by about 18 centimetres – and the distance between the front and rear wheels is greater by nearly 23 centimetres, which provides more rear-seat legroom.
The EV’s minor drawback is its cargo capacity with the rear seatback folded forward, which is about 10 per cent less than the gasoline Equinox’s volume. That’s mainly due to the EV’s lower roofline. Also, unlike some other EVs on the market, there’s no front storage spot beneath the hood, commonly referred to as a frunk.
The cabin is notable for its 11-inch digital driver information screen positioned alongside a standard 11-inch or available 17-7-inch infotainment screen. The shifter that controls the single-speed transmission is located on the steering column, which creates a small storage area on the centre console.
As with the automaker’s other EVs (except the Bolt), the Equinox uses GM’s Ultium platform that supports both front- and all-wheel-drive. The large, mattress-size battery pack is located beneath the floor.
The front-wheel-drive (single-motor) Equinox EV is rated at 210 horsepower and 242 pound-feet of torque. For AWD models (with front and rear motors), that increases to 290/346.
Maximum range varies between 400 and 480 kilometres depending on battery capacity and trim level.
GM prefers to advertise charge rate as opposed to time to charge. When hooked to a 240-volt Level 2 station (like you’ll have at home or at the mall), the Equinox charges at a rate that adds 54 kilometres of range per hour. On higher trims, the EV charges at a rate of 82 kilometres of range per hour.
When hooked to a DC fast charger, the rate is 179 kilometres in 10 minutes, according to the automaker. Drivers will have access to GM’s Ultium Charging 360 network of 110,000 outlets available throughout Canada and the United States.
The standard regenerative braking system can help extend the EV’s range and can bring the vehicle to a complete stop without the use of the brake pedal. Just let off the accelerator and the Equinox automatically slows.
Pricing for the base 1LT trim in Canada is estimated at $37,800, including destination charges. That’s about $6,100 more than the base gasoline Equinox LS. Along with the basics, you get a reasonably complete range of active-safety content such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic braking.
The 2LT gets heated front seats with power-adjustable driver’s chair as well as roof rails and a front LED light bar. The 2RS, which is the first Equinox EV to arrive this fall, comes with unique interior trim, heated flat-bottom steering wheel and 20-inch wheels (19s are standard).
Along with the larger infotainment screen, the 3LT has dual-zone climate control, power liftgate, 360-degree surround-view camera and 21-inch wheels. The top-end 3RS loads up with front and rear heated and ventilated seats and power-adjustable passenger chair.
Among the lengthy list of options is a sunroof, rear-camera mirror, premium Bose audio system and a head-up driver’s display that projects key information onto the windshield.
Also available on all but the base trim level is GM’s semi-autonomous Super Cruise system. It provides hands-free driving over more than 400,000 miles (about 640,000 kilometres) of roads in North America.
According to General Motors CEO Mary Barra, the affordable Equinox EV represents a “mainstream choice” for new-car buyers. It should certainly put the pressure on competing automakers to offer EVs with similarly appealing content and price tags.
What you should know: 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
Type: Front- /all-wheel-drive compact electric utility vehicle
Motors (h.p.): Front electric (210); front and rear electric (290, opt.)
Transmission: Single speed
Market position: With the exception of the retiring Bolt, the Equinox EV is the smallest electric vehicle in General Motors’ stable. The automaker considers it the first of a new wave of its type that will compete on price with similarly equipped and sized electric models.
Points: Styling is better than the same-named gasoline version. • Spacious interior should keep those seated in back satisfied. • Wide selection of trim levels and options could easily boost the low base price. • Power systems and maximum ranges are adequate, but not exceptional. • Super Cruise is considered one of the better semi-autonomous drive systems.
Active safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (std.); active cruise control (std.); front and rear emergency braking (std.); inattentive-driver alert (std.); lane-departure warning (std.); pedestrian warning (std.)
Le/100 km (city/hwy): n.a.
Base price (incl. destination): $37,800
Hyundai Ioniq 5
- Base price: $51,650
- Compact hatchback is quick and provides about 480 kms of range.
- Base price: $44,600
- Compact EV has a single motor with up to 214 h.p. Max range is 320 kms.
- Base price: $35,000 (est.)
- Fiat’s 2024 EV has 117 h.p. Estimated range is less than 300 kms.
– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media