The 2022 Chevy Blazer EV May Be The First Production Car To Be Available As FWD, RWD, And AWD

Blazer Top

Chevrolet has just spilled all the beans on their new electric crossover, the 2024 Blazer EV. It fits in pretty seamlessly with the current crop of modern EV crossovers in that it’s pretty fast, pretty expensive, and while I can’t go so far as to say pretty-looking, it’s not bad. The specs seem pretty on par with most of its competitors, but what I think is interesting about the Blazer EV is that it may be the first real mass-market car that you can buy new and specify a FWD, RWD, or AWD configuration, which is pretty cool. We’ll get into that in a bit, but first let’s get the serious stuff out of the way.

GM has this little promo video, which somehow maintains GM’s long tradition of making decent, normal people annoy the crap out of you when placed into one of their ads:

The Blazer EV starts at $44,995 for the base 1LT model with 247 miles of range and goes up to nearly $66,000 for the SS model with 557 horsepower and a 0-60 time of under four seconds. If maximum range is your goal, the RS trim level is for you, with a GM-estimated (so you know, take that with some NaCl because the EPA may get a different result) 320 miles of range.

This RS trim (right at $52,000) is also the one that is available in all three driven-wheel options:

Blazer Chart

See that in the box there? It lists FWD as standard, AWD as optional, and RWD as somehow standard, too. The footnote just says it’s dependent on “battery pack size,” but it’s not clear what that means, exactly, since this trim level seems to only have one estimated range. I guess if the proper battery pack is available you can just choose between FWD and RWD when you order one?

2024 Chevrolet Blazer Ev
Passenger’s side 7/8 front view of 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV SS in Radiant Red Tintcoat. Preproduction model shown. Actual production model may vary. 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV available Spring 2023.

The Blazer EV is built on GM’s Ultium platform, which could have motors at either end or both from the get-go, so this isn’t really all that surprising, technically. What is surprising is letting customers pick between driving the front or the rear wheels, when it’s almost always a choice between driving just the front or rear along with an all-wheel-drive option.

The only car I can think of that has even allowed for FWD, RWD, or AWD doesn’t really count, because it always had two engines: the Citroën 2cv Sahara. That’s more of an AWD car that lets you disable either axle at will. The Rover 75 could be had as a FWD car or a V8 RWD version, but no AWD, and the Renault 5/Renault 5 Turbo and Renault Clio/Clio V6 both switched from FWD to RWD, but I can’t think of any that have managed all three options on one model of car.

Our own Thomas Hundal suggested the Chevy S-10, because you could get a RWD one, a 4×4 one, and the rare EV version was FWD, but I’m not really sure that counts.

Okay, back to real-person stuff. The Blazer EV supports the usual glacial 120V home charging and the less-glacial 240V charging, but also offers DC public fast-charging up to 190 kW. Chevy tells us you can add almost 80 miles of range in 10 minutes via this level of charging, which is great, but does lag behind some competitors, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 that can charge at 350 kW DC levels, which permits 60 miles in five minutes, or going from 10% to 80% total charge in 18 minutes.

The Blazer EV can be equipped with Chevy’s Level 2 driver-assist system, SuperCruise, and that is standard on the SS trim.

Color selection is pretty minimal, but there are at least two basic colors, red and blue, along with the expected non-palette of grays, whites, and blacks.

Blazer Colors

The styling has already been revealed a while back, so it’s not a revelation, but I’m not really sure it would be even if this is the first time you’ve seen it. It’s not bad, but I don’t think anyone is in danger of getting whiplash craning your neck to look at one of these as they pass by.

2024 Chevrolet Blazer Ev

That said, I do like that novel little recessed area behind the front wheel-arch looks, and I think the beltline that kicks up at the rear is appealing. The lighting design up front is reminiscent of Volvo’s Thor’s Hammer lights, and the rear uses an inverted L-shaped motif that, while it may not be exactly like what you’ve seen on other cars, is pretty much like an amalgam of what you’ve seen on other cars. Again, it looks decent enough, and even good from some angles, but it’s hardly a standout.

2024 Chevrolet Blazer Ev

Also worth noting is that GM is offering a Police version of the Blazer EV, so now is the time to commit these headlights and front end to memory to spot in your rear-view mirror:

2024 Chevrolet Blazer Ev Police Pursuit Vehicle

The interior seems to at least have some vivid color seat options, at least in SS trim, which is welcome:

2024 Chevrolet Blazer Ev

The dash and instrument cluster are, as expected, full of screens, and the usual complement of tech goodies, though I found no mention of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in GM’s press release.

 

2024 Chevrolet Blazer Ev

I did find this rundown of the tech features, which I’ll just quote for you here:

 

Technology highlights include:

  • Powered-opening charge port door: It features a powered opening when the door is pushed
  • Navigation to charging stations and route planning: Through the MyChevy app4, this feature helps locate and plot routes to charging stations
  • Regen Braking8This feature can convert the kinetic energy of the vehicle’s forward momentum into electricity that’s stored in the battery pack to maximize the driving range. It also includes One-Pedal Driving9, which can slow the vehicle to a full stop, using only the accelerator pedal
  • Available presence-based liftgateFor convenience, the tailgate can open hands-free when the key fob is recognized by the sensors at the rear of the vehicle
  • Available Super Cruise5: The industry’s first true hands-free driver-assistance technology, allowing drivers to travel hands-free on compatible roads across the U.S. and Canada

The Blazer EV also offers Chevrolet’s latest driver-assistance technologies, including Reverse Automatic Braking6 and Advanced Park Assist6. They complement the standard Chevy Safety Assist6 suite of technologies, with Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Following Distance Indicator, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning and IntelliBeam.

A major enabler of the Blazer EV’s technologies is Ultifi11, GM’s new end-to-end vehicle software platform. It separates the vehicle’s software from the hardware to enable the frequent and seamless delivery of software-defined features, apps and services to customers over the air. Ultifi will allow customers to continue to upgrade and personalize their vehicle like never before, as improvements and new features become available over time.

I think “presence-based liftgate” sounds kind of weird, like maybe it won’t open if you’re on your phone and not focusing on what you’re actually doing back there.

Cargo room looks decent, too, though I don’t think there’s any provision for a front trunk storage, which I personally think all EVs should at least try to have.

2024 Chevrolet Blazer Ev

Overall, the Blazer EV seems like a competitive enough electric crossover, and I’m sure it’ll be a Target parking lot staple before you know it. Is it any better than the Mach-E or Tesla Model Y or Volkswagen ID4 or any number of other modern EV crossovers?

At this point, I’m not sure. We’ll try to figure that out as soon as we can get in one.

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52 Responses

    1. Technically, no.

      The current BMW 2-Series comes with two completely different chassis. The FWD and AWD versions are on UKL2 chassis for 2-Series Gran Coupé (F44), Active Tourer (F45 and U06), and Gran Tourer (F46). The RWD and AWD versions are on CLAR platform for 2-Series Coupé (G42).

      So, you can’t get all FWD, RWD, and AWD from the same platform.

  1. Not that I’m at all interested in an Equinox (I drove one as a company car for a while, it was fine), but it’ll be interesting to see the price/range when that comes out in a few months. Guessing $29,999 for a 220-240 mile range version, maybe 270+ at $35-40k?

    Still not sure why “Ultium” is supposed to matter to anyone. I get #branding, but GM is really trying hard to make us care about it.

    1. They’re trying hard to make us care about the name without offering any distinct benefits of the platform. It’s not the fastest charging, the lightest batteries, or the most efficient.

      It’s just…modular enough to make a variety of vehicles, I guess?

      Which isn’t much of a benefit for the person buying the vehicle, any more than knowing your crossover engine is also a pickup engine would benefit an ICE buyer. It’s a bizarre marketing push.

  2. If you’re going to argue that the S-10 – which was a truck, not a car – may have had FWD, RWD, and AWD, then you could easily argue that the European Ford Transit is very commonly available with FWD, RWD, and AWD.

  3. “Cargo room looks decent, too, though I don’t think there’s any provision for a front trunk storage, which I personally think all EVs should at least try to have.”
    With the pronounced snout on this, it certainly has room for one. Be a real waste not to.

    1. I hate to say it, but the similarly proportioned Cadillac Lyriq lacks a frunk. As someone that likes the Lyriq, I am massively disappointed. This likely means the Blazer EV will also lack one.

      1. Yeah, I should be clear here: I don’t think it will have one. It’s just a shame. If you have the length for it, it’s a wasted opportunity. But if they were adding one to this, they would definitely have mentioned it.

  4. Considering that GM’s electronics are about as robust as Lucas electronics from the ’70s, is it really worth buying a GM BEV at this point? Their brand is so damaged due to electronics gremlins, and the Bolt recall for fires certainly didn’t help them.

    I might consider leasing one at some point, if only because the vehicle would be under warranty for the duration of the lease, but I’d never buy one.

  5. Well to start like your science take but salt is NaCl. No capital L on Chloride. But I really dig the cop version here. I am sure that will go away after a ticket or two. I wonder if the FWD and RWD are just in case they attach the body backwards?

  6. I could see the reason why you wouldn’t count the S10 as the first production vehicle that offers FWD, RWD, and AWD: it was offered with 4WD!
    For real though, just because the S10 EV sales were fleet only, I’d still make the case for it being the first to offer 3 different drive’s in the US: now the first pure ‘anyone can walk into the dealership to buy it” vehicle to offer 3 different drive’s then, yeah, that’s definitely the Blazer EV, if we just go by the US market (Since I’m unsure of other markets).

  7. My thought on the fwd/rwd/awd is possibly like the Teslas and Mach-es, the FWD motor is smaller/less powerful than the RWD motor, so it’s basically different power options, and possibly better range for the FWD because of that.

    So like FWD could be 200hp, RWD could be 300HP, AWD is 400HP, and then the SS is the 550HP.

    So then they could do the whole “best range in class” with the FWD option, and then “Most HP available in it’s class” with the SS, and technically not be lying.

  8. That is exactly what I was thinking. My wife has a 2022 xc90 T8. Didn’t really pay attention to the RWD electric mode until we were driving in the snow in vermont and I had to force it into AWD mode. Unsual to have a car that can switch from FWD to RWD midturn.

    Car is also supercharged, turbocharged, with an electric motor and batteries making it even more unusual.

  9. I thought the RWD was odd, until reading down about the police package. Maybe they are using a larger battery and just rear motors, leaving space in the front and possible battery capacity for the added electronics?

  10. “Again, it looks decent enough, and even good from some angles, but it’s hardly a standout.”

    I dunno, I actually like the red one with the blacked out roof quite a lot. It has a much sleeker look than a midsize crossover should be able to pull off.

    Shame it can’t charge faster, but if you can get ~150 miles in 20 minutes (extrapolating from the 80 in 10 figure) I could probably live with it. I suspect lack of 350 kW charging infrastructure will limit most of the competitors to something less than they are rated anyway.

  11. To add another oddball to the list, my 16 XC90 T8 (the one with the 2L turbo-super charger PHEV) sort of let’s you choose between FWD, RWD, and AWD. Electric motors controls rear axle, gas engine controls front axle. In Electric only mode, you are RWD. In gas only mode (when electric runs out), you are FWD. Otherwise, you can use AWD so long as you have some battery power.

    1. That is exactly what I was thinking. My wife has a 2022 xc90 T8. Didn’t really pay attention to the RWD electric mode until we were driving in the snow in vermont and I had to force it into AWD mode. Unsual to have a car that can switch from FWD to RWD midturn.

      Car is also supercharged, turbocharged, with an electric motor and batteries making it even more unusual.

    2. I never understood one-pedal driving because it seems very inefficient to me. First you use energy to accelerate and then as soon as you lift your foot slightly on the accelerator, you immediately recapture SOME of that energy to slow down, and then you need to use that energy again to keep moving forward. Every time you do that, you lose some energy. Coasting is much more efficient because there is no use–>recapture–>use cycle.

      Regenerative breaking makes sense because you would otherwise lose that energy to your brake pads.

      1. My Volvo doesn’t do one pedal driving, since I can coast some (though I do wish the regen was more aggressive or at least adjustable).
        From what I understand, isn’t one pedal driving just a very aggressive regenerative braking setup? I haven’t driven any full EVs, but isn’t there a point in the pedal travel that allows you to coast?

        1. Yes, when hard regen is on…’neutral’ is a bit into the pedal travel.

          It’s very easy to find this coasting point, both by feel and by visual representation somewhere in the instrument cluster.

  12. I love the possibilities of regen braking for energy conservation and one pedal driving has been cool the few opportunities I’ve had to do it, but I had the experience this past weekend of a long drive behind a Tesla on a lumpy single lane/no passing highway. It ended up being an oddly stressful drive as the thing did not accelerate or decelerate in what I would consider a predictable way. It left me wondering if one pedal driving was the culprit.

    1. I never understood one-pedal driving because it seems very inefficient to me. First you use energy to accelerate and then as soon as you lift your foot slightly on the accelerator, you immediately recapture SOME of that energy to slow down, and then you need to use that energy again to keep moving forward. Every time you do that, you lose some energy. Coasting is much more efficient because there is no use–>recapture–>use cycle.

      Regenerative breaking makes sense because you would otherwise lose that energy to your brake pads.

      1. One pedal driving is great, although if you are continually speeding up and slowing down, then it is less efficient than coasting and just going to annoy everyone around you. It’s perfectly possible to coast in either low or high regen modes with the correct pedal position, just depends on the driver like everything else. It is by far the best thing I’ve ever driven in stop and go/traffic jam situations, and coming down mountain passes (even 10% grades into hairpin turns) it is normal to never touch the brake pedal, and instead regain 3-5% state of charge. Just think of one-pedal driving as regenerative braking enabled by the accelerator pedal, with different amounts of braking with different modes such as D and L.

  13. I’m sick of these Tesla Model Y copies. They’re all worse than the Model Y with much worse charging networks for more money than equivalent Model Y.

    Stellantis is the only major automaker I have hope will make a BEV that is not a technophilic Tesla Model Y copy but sadly I don’t have a ton of hope. They had a Jeep Wrangler Magneto concept that was basically a 2 door Jeep Wrangler BEV compliance car that should have been extremely easy to mass produce and pretty cheap. Instead of putting it into production they instead spend ~$800K on a one off Jeep Wrangler Magneto that they are extremely unlikely to make, and the first mass production “Jeep” BEV is looking like it’s going to be a rebadged Fiat sold under the Jeep Name.

    I would gladly get a 2 door Wrangler Magneto BEV if it could manage 125 miles of range at 80MPH and was mostly like the original concept.

  14. “Cargo room looks decent, too, though I don’t think there’s any provision for a front trunk storage, which I personally think all EVs should at least try to have.”

    Please stop perpetuating this expectation.

    Sincerely,
    An engineer that has to package high voltage modules and cooling components SOMEWHERE.

  15. I think that Making an AWD car RWD or FWD really doesn’t really maximize the usefulness of RWD or FWD

    RWD only cars can have very tight turning circles while still being reasonably sized because there are no CV joints or U Joints to limit how much you can turn the front wheels. Unless there were serious changes to the steering design of the RWD models they won’t turn any tighter than the AWD or FWD variants.

    FWD only cars can be built like a trailer with a fuel tank past where the drivetrain is contained allowing for very basic and cheap beam axles and the very basic and cheap suspension that comes with them. By converting an AWD car to FWD you have the more complicated more expensive suspension.

    I think honestly the best way to go is to give the driver the option of running in FWD mode, RWD mode, AWD mode, FWD mode with AWD assist when needed, or RWD mode with AWD assist when needed. That way it can drive the wheels you want and when you go to sell it you’ll get more for it and if properly designed if you have one of the motors fail on you you can drive using the other one.

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