All About the New GM Ultium Battery and EV Platform
GM recently unveiled a revolutionary new vehicle battery and EV platform, called Ultium. Here’s a closer look at this exciting leap towards an electrified future.
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Bringing versatility to the forefront
It’s well known that GM has been working hard to transition towards an all-electric, zero-emissions future. The automaker’s all-new modular platform will be a key component of making this vision a reality. This platform can adapt to nearly any kind of vehicle, ranging from work trucks to high-performance luxury models. It will also enable the creation of front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all-wheel drive models.
The new, proprietary Ultium batteries are also built for flexibility. They offer energy options ranging from an economical 50 kWh to a stunning 200 kWh. With that kind of power, they’ll be able to offer a driving range that’s upwards of 400 miles on a single full charge — or a 0-60 time that clocks in at 3 seconds. Plus, these batteries will be compatible with both Level 2 and DC Fast Charging. Trucks are expected to boast 800-volt battery packs along with 350 kW fast-charging capabilities, while other vehicles will have 400-volt battery packs and the ability to fast-charge up to 200 kW.
Ultium batteries also set themselves apart from the competition by offering vehicle designers more versatility. Unlike other car batteries, Ultium’s large-format, pouch-style cells can be stacked horizontally or vertically, allowing for more diverse vehicle layouts.
GM President Mark Reuss lauded the thousands of scientists, engineers, and designers who have worked hard to make these innovations possible. “They are on the cusp of delivering a profitable EV business that can satisfy millions of customers,” he stated.
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Making EVs affordable
If you’re looking to get behind the wheel of one of GM’s future electric vehicles, you won’t have to break the bank. Thanks to GM’s joint venture with LG Chem, battery cell costs will drop below $100/kWh. And thanks to the battery’s low-cobalt chemistry, prices are expected to drop even lower.
Plus, these new propulsion systems have fewer parts than combustion engines. This means there will be fewer parts to monitor and replace. To give you an idea of how much money this will save, consider this: GM intends to produce 19 different battery and drive unit configurations. By comparison, the automaker currently offers 550 different combustion-engine powertrain combinations.
Kimiko Kidd is a native Daytonian. She graduated from Wright State University with degrees in environmental science and sociology. She loves her trusty old Honda Civic, but dreams of owning a 1974 Ford Falcon XB with a custom paint job and a vintage Kawasaki Z1000. In her free time, Kimiko can be found watercolor-painting, baking muffins, collecting rocks, playing old-school Nintendo games, writing her novel, sewing stuffed animals, and cosplaying as her favorite Mad Max characters. See more articles by Kimiko.