While EV makers like Rivian focus on the premium, big-ticket electric vehicle sector, GM subsidiary Chevrolet is rolling the dice on affordability being king. Its upcoming 2024 Chevrolet Equinox compact crossover SUV comes in at just $30,000 for the base model. This puts it in the same ballpark as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt. But the Equinox looks to be a more spacious vehicle with a 250 to 300-mile range. These characteristics could make it appealing as an affordable EV equivalent to a small family sedan.
The 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV could, in theory, oust the Bolt entirely from Chevrolet’s lineup. It’s more of a regular passenger car than the small runabouts like the Leaf and Bolt. Yet it’s competitive with both in terms of price. It could also be significant for the EV market as a whole, giving drivers a low-cost, high-utility option to lure them into the battery electric world. Let’s take a closer look at what’s known about it and how it fits into Chevy’s strategy.
The Chevy Equinox EV: New Power Source, New Platform
Crossover SUVs have effectively taken over the role of earlier sedans and hatchbacks in the passenger car lineup. They’ve edged out larger off-road capable SUVs, and a popular with drivers who don’t need rugged cross-country or all-weather capability. Offering good driving characteristics, room for a decent number of passengers, and cargo space, crossovers are good everyday all-purpose vehicles.
Chevrolet’s bestselling SUV is a crossover model, the Equinox. The gasoline-powered Equinox isn’t as popular as similar offerings by Volkswagen, Honda, Mazda, and Hyundai, MotorBiscuit reports. But it outdoes other Chevy SUVs in sales.
Chevy’s decision to make an EV variant of the Equinox could be an EV market breakthrough for the automaker. Two of the biggest drawbacks of the ICE Equinox, according to Edmunds, are cramped cargo space and weak performance next to the competition. The vigor and power of electric motors will solve the performance issues. Meanwhile, an important detail of Chevy’s EV strategy may likely help the cargo capacity limits, too.
Converting the Equinox to Ultium
Chevrolet doesn’t just kludge an electric motor into an existing chassis when making EV variants. Instead, it does a ground-up redesign on its Ultium platform. It maintains the role and general looks of a vehicle model line, but ensures a full, effective EV adaptation.
Chevy already used this technique with its Chevy Silverado EV. Instead of just electrifying an ICE Silverado, the carmaker the Silverado EV from scratch. Its designers copied the role – workhorse pickup truck – and general appearance of the ICE variant but started clean-slate on actual
As a result, the Chevy Equinox EV borrows the nameplate, role (compact crossover SUV), and aesthetics of the ICE Equinox. From there, Chevrolet’s engineers start with the same Ultium platform underlying the Silverado EV and the Electric Hummer. The Ultium is a flexible EV platform with modular battery cell and underpins most electric vehicles. At the system’s core are long-pouch battery cells that can be stacked in different configurations. This enables carmakers to squeeze maximum power into any given chassis. The result is a sporty performance, low center of gravity, and versatile vehicle design.
This flexible platform should give Chevrolet the engineering options to fix the Equinox’s problems in its new EV incarnation. But it can also maintain the affordable, handy, compact crossover blueprint that makes the gasoline Equinox Chevy’s bestselling SUV.
2024 Chevy Equinox: What We Know So Far
The 2024 Chevy Equinox’s potential rests mainly on two pillars: 300 miles of range and a $30,000 base price. Though it looks similar to the gas Equinox, and Chevy says it’s going for “60s Americana” with its style, the vehicle is 3” wider and 9” longer than ICE models. It also features less front overhang since there’s no engine under the hood.
The Equinox will come in multiple trim levels, including the 1LT, 2LT, and 2RS, and at least two battery sizes. 3LT and 3RS trims are also planned but no details are yet available. The 1LT’s standard battery offers 250 miles of range while a 300-mile battery equips both the 2LT and 2RS. All trims use front-wheel drive (FWD) but all-wheel drive is an available upgrade for the 2LT and 2RS. Electric motors provide strong acceleration. The Equinox EV’s electrified torque corrects the stodgy, unresponsive feel of the ICE Equinox. The result is a peppy vehicle providing a sporty driving experience and achieving a 0-60 time of 6 seconds in AWD trims.
Power and Recharging
The single-motor FWD 1LT produces 210 horsepower and 242 ft-lbs of torque, while dual-motor AWD 2LTs and 2RSs achieve 290 horses and 346 ft-lbs. The Equinox EV has at least some SUV muscle. It can tow a maximum of 1,500 lbs under ideal conditions with the strongest combination of drivetrain and battery.
The Chevy Equinox EV has good range for a compact crossover, but recharging is also important. Plugging the vehicle into a Level 3 DC fast charger restores 70 miles of range in approximately 10 minutes. A Level 2 240-volt home or commercial charger is a lot slower, taking an hour to recharge 34 miles. While its electrical architecture can’t maximize draw from a 350kW fast charger’s output, the Equinox is probably fast charging for most drivers.
Equinox EV Interior, Electronics, and More
The Equinox interior can carry five passengers. It uses the potential of the Ultium platform to offer decent legroom and headroom. Chevrolet says rear cargo space is 57 cubic feet, but additional storage space is engineered throughout the interior. It’s unknown at this point if it includes a frunk (front trunk), so total storage space is unspecified.
Luxury features, mostly available as options, include power-adjustable seats, heated seats, and a heated steering wheel. An interesting option is heated windshield wipers that prevent the blades from getting iced in place.
The Equinox EV comes with a good suite of modern electronics. Convenience features include hands-free remote start and Super Cruise. Super Cruise works on about 400,000 miles of mapped North American roads. This feature allows hands-free driving, using adaptive cruise control to keep the vehicle properly spaced relative to other vehicles in traffic. It also uses sensors to center the EV in its lane.
Safety related driver assistance includes automatic emergency braking and front pedestrian braking. The vehicle warns the driver about lane departure and gives an alert if a forward collision is imminent. The high beams adjust automatically, dimming the headlights when there’s oncoming traffic, then brightening again when the road is clear. Options include a back-up camera and heads-up display.
At this point even Chevrolet is uncertain if the Equinox will qualify for the Inflation Reduction Act’s Clean Vehicle Credit. Currently, GM means to build the Equinox EV in Mexico at its Ramos Arizpe factory. Unless final assembly occurs within the USA or Canada, the Equinox might not qualify for an EV tax credit.
Equinox EV Specs
|Price||$30,000||Unknown ($37,000?)||Unknown ($52,000?)||Unknown ($48,000?)||Unknown ($60,000?)|
|Range||250 miles||280 miles (AWD) or 300 miles (FWD)||280 miles (AWD) or 300 miles (FWD)||280 miles (AWD) or 300 miles (FWD)||280 miles (AWD) or 300 miles (FWD)|
|Level 3 Recharging Speed||70 miles per 10 minutes||70 miles per 10 minutes||70 miles per 10 minutes||70 miles per 10 minutes||70 miles per 10 minutes|
|0-60 Time||Unknown||6 seconds (AWD)||6 seconds (AWD)||6 seconds (AWD)||6 seconds (AWD)|
|Drivetrain||FWD||FWD or AWD||FWD or AWD||FWD or AWD||FWD or AWD|
|Horsepower||210||290 (AWD)||290 (AWD)||290 (AWD)||290 (AWD)|
|Torque||242 ft-lbs||346 ft-lbs (AWD)||346 ft-lbs (AWD)||346 ft-lbs (AWD)||346 ft-lbs (AWD)|
|Maximum Towing||1,500 lbs||1,500 lbs||1,500 lbs||1,500 lbs||1,500 lbs|
|Rear Cargo Space||57 cubic feet||57 cubic feet||57 cubic feet||57 cubic feet||57 cubic feet|
|Availability||Spring 2024||Spring 2024||Autumn 2023||Spring 2024||Spring 2024|
The 2024 Chevy Equinox’s EV Market Impact
The Chevy Equinox could well have what it takes to be a successful EV design. Marrying power and decent range to a compact chassis that’s still “roomy enough,” and slapping a $30,000 price tag on it, could be a winning combo for Chevrolet.
Equinox EV might be heralding the Chevy Bolt’s final days. Ranges are roughly comparable, but a 300-mile battery option will outdo the Bolt again. The Bolt will probably no longer have a purpose in Chevy’s lineup once the Equinox hits showrooms.
GMAuthority also points out Chevrolet builds the Bolt on its aging BEV2 platform, not the newer Ultium platform. For the sake of streamlined manufacturing and cutting costs, it probably makes sense for Chevy to phase out BEV2 vehicles. Building all of its EVs on the Ultium platform will enable it to maintain a single type of production line. Chevy could then switch between making Equinoxes, Hummer, Silverados, and other future Ultium models on a single production line, adapting rapidly to changing demand. The Bolt is the “odd man out” by platform and seems likely to get eliminated.
The Nissan Leaf could also be in trouble thanks to the Equinox. It’s still somewhat cheaper, but more cramped. The Leaf’s best range in a premium trim is 212 miles, with the base trim getting only 149 miles. The Equinox far outperforms it even in its base trim and doubles the Leaf’s base range in its higher models. The 2024 Equinox EV could even give the upcoming Volkswagen ID.4 EV Standard a run for its money. The ID.4’s base price of $37,495 no longer looks quite as cheap with the Equinox soon to be available.
The Equinox and the EV Market
Equinox EV could bring a breakthrough for EVs in the United States. Market research suggests it could have a good blend of price and performance to win booming sales. The Detroit News quotes several analysts and researchers saying it could be exactly what consumers are looking for. Edmund’s analyst Ivan Drury thinks 300-mile range and $30,000 MSRP could lure many new customers away from gasoline cars. Other analysts say its features, range, and price make it multi-purpose enough to attract many different customers, from older couples to families.
Tiny EVs have limited appeal even in American metropolises because of the cities’ layout. A micro-compact runabout makes sense in densely packed Asian cities or the narrow, tangled streets of centuries-old European urban areas. American cities, though, are mostly built around cars. There’s more parking space, larger highway arteries, fewer meandering alleys and pre-automobile back streets with narrow squeeze points. Suburban areas are larger and rural dwellers commute to the city or go there to shop.
Compact size is still an advantage in US cities, but not as much of one, and may have diminishing returns. Range and cargo space are equally important for drivers, simply because of city layout and large suburbs. The EV Equinox appears to be pioneering a midpoint between tiny EVs like the Leaf and larger, more expensive EVs. Its mix of low price, decent space, and good range and performance could be just what’s needed to inspire widespread USA EV adoption.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Booredatwork.com, CC BY 3.0 .