GM Defense to Provide Battery Electric Tech for Future Military Platforms

The Washington, D.C.-based GM Defense subsidiary of General Motors Co. in Detroit is providing commercial battery electric technology in support of the University of Texas at Arlington’s Pulsed Power and Energy Laboratory (PPEL) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division.
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GM Defense has developed a concept for an electric military vehicle, the Ultium battery platform for which will be tested during a Department of Defense-funded project. // Photo courtesy of GM Defense

The Washington, D.C.-based GM Defense subsidiary of General Motors Co. in Detroit is providing commercial battery electric technology in support of the University of Texas at Arlington’s Pulsed Power and Energy Laboratory (PPEL) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division.

The project — Evaluation of Electric Vehicle Batteries to Enable Directed Energy (EEVBEDE) — is funded by the Operational Energy Innovation office of the U.S. Department of Defense through its Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund.

PPEL will evaluate the technology to understand current capabilities of commercial automotive batteries under dynamic discharge and charge scenarios. The team’s evaluation of the technology will help provide pathways and options for domestically supplied energy storage for future use in military platforms.

GM Defense is leveraging GM’s Ultium Platform propulsion architecture, for evaluation and testing. According to GM, the Ultium Platform can deliver power, range, and scale beyond any previous GM hybrid or extended range EV technology. Modular and scalable, the Ultium Platform can use different chemistries and cell form factors, making it adaptable to changing needs and new technology insertions as they become available.

“As a Carnegie R-1 university, UTA is committed to working with industry to better develop and understand the potential of new technology,” says Peter Crouch, dean of UTA’s College of Engineering. “This collaboration between PPEL, GM Defense, and the DoD will not only improve our nation’s military capabilities, but also adds to our workforce development efforts producing next generation engineers who will solve our nation’s complex problems.”

Utilizing the battery technologies of its parent company, GM Defense says it can help solve the DoD’s energy and energy storage challenges. The work performed in this new effort should provide insights into the performance and design considerations when batteries are used in more dynamic, high-power operations than would be faced by more typical applications.

Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund support plays a key role in the development of new power and energy technologies, which provides the DoD with advanced capabilities and help prevent power and energy from being a limiting factor.

“The Department of Defense can benefit from billions of dollars in GM investments to develop and manufacture transformative battery technologies,” says Steve duMont, president of GM Defense. “These technologies offer significant potential to enhance operational capability, whether at the tactical edge or on installations throughout the world. GM Defense welcomes the opportunity to support this important project and to help transition our global defense and government customers.”

David Wetz, a professor of electrical engineering at UTA and director of the PPEL, says: “We are excited to work with GM Defense to test the Ultium Platform to determine its potential for use in future warfighting applications. PPEL has a long relationship with the DoD and the Office of Naval Research for testing the limits of batteries used in high power applications, and we are in a unique position to evaluate this technology and make recommendations for future use cases.”

To learn more about GM Defense projects, visit gmdefensellc.com.