GM unveils ‘Ultium Drive’ family of electric motors

General Motors revealed new details about its Ultium battery platform for the upcoming lineup of electric vehicles. The automaker said the battery would be “a family of five interchangeable drive units and three motors” collectively known as “Ultimate Drives”, which would aid GM in its transition to an “all-electric future”.

“GM has produced transmissions for several notable vehicle manufacturers,” Ken Morris, GM’s vice president, Autonomous and Electric Vehicles Program, said in a statement. “Making motors, transmissions, driveline components and systems is one of GM’s best-known competencies, and our manufacturing expertise is proving not only transferable but profitable as we transition to EVs.”

Ultium drive

The ultimate platform is intended to be flexible and multifunctional, ultimately outlining a wide variety of vehicle types and sizes. As such it is similar to Volkswagen’s modular electric drive matrix, also known as its MEB platform.

For example, Ultium is expected to provide the basis for GM’s upcoming Hummer pickup truck and SUV; Luxury Cadillac Lyric SUV; An electric delivery van; And two electric vehicles the automaker is building in partnership with Honda.

GM says the Ultium drive will be “more sensitive to its performance than its internal combustion counterparts with smooth control of its torque”. The platform’s five motors will have “industry-leading” torque and power density “across a broad spectrum of different vehicle types”.

GM says the Ultium drive will also be efficient through consolidation of wiring and other cuts. This consolidation of parts and features in GM’s future EV lineup makes it easier to scale the Ultium drive, citing its “digital nervous system” introduced last year.

Earlier, GM said that the EV architecture currently used in its Chevy Bolt vehicles reduced the wiring volume by about 80 percent. The hope is that it will drive battery cell costs below the $ 100 / kWh level and allow GM to give more bang for its buck as it enhances its EV production capabilities.

GM is in the midst of a $ 20 billion axle for an “all-electric future” that includes spending $ 2.2 billion to withdraw its first “fully dedicated” electric vehicle assembly plant. Last week, the automaker acquired a stake in Buzzy electric vehicle startup Nikola, triggering another round of speculation that GM may wind up its EV business, estimated at up to $ 100 billion.

These announcements are seen as an ongoing effort to tease Wall Street investors who have become irritated about GM’s ability to capture Tesla. Elon Musk’s company has grown in valuation, even as the large-scale auto industry suffers from the coronovirus epidemic. Next week, Tesla is hosting its “Battery Day” event, where it hopes to make several announcements about its efforts to bring down costs and expand its battery range.