General Motors wants to be the biggest seller of electric vehicles in the world, and the new 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV is intended to play a major role in that effort. Built on GM’s Ultium platform, the midsize SUV will get up to 300 miles of range and will start at “around $30,000” — an affordable price point that’s intended to drive broader EV adoption.
That means that when the Chevy Equinox EV arrives at dealerships in the fall of 2023, it will start at a price that’ll be $13,000 cheaper than the Ford Mustang Mach-E, $35,000 less than the Tesla Model Y, and almost $1,000 under the Hyundai Ioniq 5. And it will join Chevy’s fast-growing lineup of EVs, which includes the Silverado EV, Bolt EV and EUV, and Blazer EV.
It’s been nearly nine months since GM CEO Mary Barra took the stage at CES in Las Vegas and announced that the Chevy Equinox EV would start at $30,000. And a lot has happened since then, including historic inflation and supply chain constraints, that has led many automakers to raise prices for their entry-level EVs. But Chevy insists the $30,000 price tag is more than just aspirational.
“We have every intention to build and sell the vehicle that will start in that price range,” Scott Bell, vice president of global sales at Chevy, said during a recent briefing with reporters. “So that is critical to the success of what we’re doing at Chevrolet — building an EV for everyone.”
Most EVs on the market today are more expensive than their gas equivalents, though EV sales numbers are still ticking up as more models become available. GM is hoping that a more affordable EV with a nameplate as recognizable as the Equinox could help spur a faster switch to electric power. Other EV makers have promised affordable options only to get tripped up by battery costs, supply chain problems, and other external factors.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and when the Equinox EV goes on sale that could upend GM’s plans. Chevy is playing coy about the exact price for the Equinox, too, declining to disclose how much each trim level will cost and promising those numbers at a later date.
Just a trim
The 2024 Chevy Equinox EV will come in a range of trim levels with various battery sizes and range estimates. The base model 1LT, which starts at around $30,000, will come standard with front-wheel drive with an estimated EPA rated range of 250 to 300 miles. Upgrading to an all-wheel drive format will drop the range down to 280 miles.
There will be two more LT trims, 2LT and 3LT, as well as two of the higher-spec RS variants, 2RS and 3RS, with a darker interior and more tech inside. Each version will also have the option to upgrade to AWD.
Interested buyers can also add Super Cruise, GM’s driver-assist feature that allows for hands-free driving on 400,000 miles of roads in North America. Super Cruise options for around $2,200 for the Chevy Bolt EUV, for example, but prices vary from model to model.
How’s it look?
The exterior design of the LT trim is similar to the gas-powered version, save for two distinct changes. The front end is entirely different, with a thin light bar running the full width of the vehicle and additional horizontal stylings that, strangely enough, look very similar to the Ford Mustang Mach-E. For the RS versions, the bottom half of the front fascia is all black, with the recognizable red RS tag in the upper-right corner. Chevy is also offering a two-tone roof on the LT models and an optional black roof for RS trims.
The lower-priced models, 1LT and 2LT, will perch on 19-inch wheels, the 2RS will get 20-inch wheels, and the 3LT and 3RS will have 21-inch wheels. Larger wheels mean a taller ride height, but they also tend to diminish range.
Like most EVs, the Equinox will come standard with one-pedal driving, which allows the vehicle to accelerate and slow to a full stop using only the accelerator. When paired with regenerative braking, drivers can use one-pedal driving to put energy back into the battery, improving the range.
The standard front-wheel drive Equinox EV will get 210 horsepower and 242 pound-feet of torque, while the AWD versions will gallop at 290 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque. Chevy did not provide the vehicle’s 0–60mph acceleration time.
Charge me up
Chevy did not provide key details about the battery capacity, so we will have to wait to learn about how much usable energy these things will have.
The charge port is located on the driver’s side fender. The Equinox EV will come standard with an 11.5kW charging module, which is estimated to add up to 34 miles of range per hour of charging. The 3RS model with AWD comes with a 19.2kW module, which can add up to 51 miles of range per hour of charging. All models will be capable of accepting fast charging speeds of up to 150kW, which enables approximately 70 miles of range to be added in 10 minutes.
GM has said that most of its Ultium-powered vehicles will have 400-volt battery packs and up to 200kW fast-charging capability — but, in the interest of keeping the Equinox EV’s price low, it seems it opted for a slightly smaller, less powerful architecture.
In terms of charging, GM is in the process of building a “coast-to-coast” EV charging network in partnership with Pilot and Flying J truck stops and managed by EVgo. GM does not have its own charging stations akin to Tesla’s Supercharger network. But the company has its own vehicle apps and software called the Ultium Charge 360 network for use with a variety of third-party charging services, such as Blink, ChargePoint, EVgo, Flo, Greenlots, and SemaConnect.
Inside, the Equinox EV smacks of functionality, much like its gas-powered namesake. The 1LT and 2LT versions will come standard with an 11-inch instrument cluster and 11-inch infotainment screen, while the 3LT, 2RS, and 3RS models will have a larger 17.7-inch infotainment screen.
It’s got two rows that can seat five — how comfortably, though, remains to be seen, although most EVs are pretty roomy thanks to the lack of a gear tunnel. The Equinox EV will have 57 cubic feet (1,614 liters) of max cargo room with the rear seat folded — which is less than the 64 cubic feet of max cargo space in the gas version.
Chevy said the electric Equinox will have a longer wheelbase than the regular version by about nine inches but wouldn’t disclose the exact dimensions.
GM has said it plans to spend $30 billion by 2025 on the creation of 30 new plug-in models in its bid to overtake Elon Musk’s company as the leading EV company in the world. Tesla still dominates the relatively small EV market in the US, with around 66 percent market share, while GM only has around 6 percent. This year, the company was even outsold by legacy auto rivals like Ford and Hyundai, according to CNBC.
The Chevy Equinox EV will be built at GM’s Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, factory. That means it satisfies one of the new requirements to be eligible for the $7,500 tax credit. Whether it will meet the other sourcing requirements concerning its battery materials remains to be seen. Starting January 1st, 2023, some GM vehicles will be eligible again for the tax credit for the first time since 2019, after the company sold its 200,000th EV, triggering a phaseout of the incentive.
In a furious bid to catch up to Tesla and become more vertically integrated, GM is trying to get a stronger grasp on its supply chain, which includes battery manufacturing. The company has said it will spend over $4 billion on the construction of two battery factories in North America in partnership with South Korea’s LG Chem.
GM also said that it will explore localizing a cathode production facility with LG Chem by the end of 2025. It also recently locked down 950,000 tons of cathode material in a deal with the South Korean battery maker.
Also, GM has resisted the urge to raise prices on its lowest-priced EVs, the Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV, even while other EVs have gone up in price. In fact, the company has decided to keep its discounted price for the Bolts through the end of the year.
All of which should spell good news for the Equinox EV’s affordability when it begins to roll off the assembly line in late 2023.