New 2023 Chevrolet Blazer primed to take on Tesla Model Y
14 June 2022 - Autocar
Striking electric SUV touches down in full-bore SS guise, and a European launch is possible
General Motors CEO Mary Barra has lifted the veil on the new Chevrolet Blazer EV – the firm's crucial rival to the Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Like its Blue Oval rival, 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 Blazer was 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.
The sole image published by Barra reveals just how dramatically differentiated the two cars will be in terms of design: the EV sits lower and has a bigger gap between the axles, its sides are more heavily sculpted and it has a distinctive wraparound lightbar and illuminated badge at the front.
The model pictured is the performance-oriented SS, which is likely to pack the necessary power and performance figures to rival the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, no doubt courtesy of a highly strung dual-motor set-up, while more affordable variants will likely go on sale with a single-motor system.
GM has given no further details of Chevrolet's third series-production pure-electric car – after the Silverado pick-up truck and Bolt hatchback – but it is expected to be among the first to use the company's revolutionary new third-generation EV platform and be equipped with the same Ultium battery technology as the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq.
That means it will be equipped with 800V rapid-charging hardware for charging at rates of up to 350kW and will almost certainly beat the 4.1-tonne Hummer EV's 300-mile range.
Barra has promised more details and pictures of the Blazer EV at a full unveiling on 18 July, before it goes on sale in the US next spring.
Five years on from selling the Opel and Vauxhall sibling brands to the PSA Group (since subsumed into Stellantis), GM has no full-scale retail operation in place in Europe. The Chevrolet Corvette supercar is the only model from the company to be sold in right-hand drive in the UK.
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, even 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 nontraditional 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."