The electric revolution has seen automakers make drastic changes in how they build, design, and produce vehicles. From Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia slowly transitioning to become mobility companies, to Porsche and Maserati introducing electrification on their performance vehicles, plenty of automakers are investing in electrified vehicles for the future.
Now General Motors (GM) wants to join the electric trend. To do this, GM is banking on what they call is the Ultium battery, as well as an all-new modular platform meant solely for electric vehicles.
“Our team accepted the challenge to transform product development at GM and position our company for an all-electric future. What we have done is build a multi-brand, multi-segment EV strategy with economies of scale that rival our full-size truck business with much less complexity and even more flexibility,” said Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO.
Starting with Ultium, these proprietary battery packs are unique in the industry because of their large format, pouch-style cells that can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside a battery pack. This allows for more compact packaging and optimized battery storage. Depending on the specification, Ultium is capable of having 50 to 200 kWh worth of charge which translates to a range of up to 640 km or more. In addition, this will also allow GM's EVs to sprint from 0 – 97 km/h in as low as 3 seconds.
As for recharging the Ultium battery pack, GM claims that they are designed for Level 2 DC fast charging. Most will have 400-volt battery packs, and up to 200 kW fast charging capability on passenger vehicles. Meanwhile, truck-based platforms will have 800-volt battery packs and a faster 350 kW fast-charging system.
Over to the new modular platform, GM states that it will drive significant economies of scale and create new revenue for the brand. For starters, the platform itself is flexible to be used on a wide array of trucks, SUVs, crossovers, cars, and commercial vehicles. In addition, the company can spend less capital on parts and complexity thanks to the simple EV platform. This also translates to a simpler factory line assembling during the production of such vehicles.
As EV customers continue to rise, the new modular EV platform will be able to serve the projected demand that GM estimated. With U.S. EV volumes expected to more than double from 2025 to 2030, GM believes that their platform will rise up to the occasion, while also reducing costs on EV ownership.
“Thousands of GM scientists, engineers and designers are working to execute a historic reinvention of the company. They are on the cusp of delivering a profitable EV business that can satisfy millions of customers,” said Mark Reuss, president of GM.
In the future, the modular EV platform will be underpinning several key vehicles for GM. These include the Cadillac Lyriq luxury SUV, the GMC Hummer EV, as well as the all-new Bolt EV set to be released in 2022.