Detroit’s General Motors Co. revealed the heart of its electric vehicle strategy, a modular propulsion system and a third-generation global Electric Vehicle platform powered by proprietary Ultium batteries. The company also says it is adding 3,500 EV charging stations for its employees across the U.S. and Canada.
The new EV battery, propulsion systems and platform, the company says, will allow the GM to compete for nearly every customer in the market today, whether they are looking for affordable transportation, a luxury experience, work trucks, or a high-performance machine. The announcement was made Wednesday at GM’s Design Dome at the Warren Technical Center.
“Our team accepted the challenge to transform product development at GM and position our company for an all-electric future,” says Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of GM. “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.”
GM President Mark Reuss adds, “Thousands of GM scientists, engineers, and designers are working to execute an historic reinvention of the company. They are on the cusp of delivering a profitable EV business that can satisfy millions of customers.”
GM says its flexible, modular approach to EV development will drive significant economies of scale and create new revenue opportunities.
Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, and Buick all will be launching new EVs starting this year. The next new Chevrolet EV will be a new version of the Bolt EV, launching in late 2020, followed by the 2022 Bolt EUV, launching Summer 2021. The Bolt EUV will be the first vehicle outside of the Cadillac brand to feature Super Cruise, the industry’s first true hands-free driving technology for the highway, which GM will expand to 22 vehicles by 2023, including 10 by next year.
The automaker says its new Ultium batteries are unique in the industry because the large-format, pouch-style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. This allows engineers to optimize battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design.
Ultium energy options range from 50 to 200 kWh, which could enable a GM-estimated range up to 400 miles or more on a full charge with 0 to 60 mph acceleration as low as 3 seconds. Motors designed in-house will support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and performance all-wheel drive applications.
Ultium-powered EVs are designed for Level 2 and DC fast charging. Most will have 400-volt battery packs and up to 200 kW fast-charging capability while our truck platform will have 800-volt battery packs and 350 kW fast-charging capability.
The Cruise Origin, a self-driving, electric shared vehicle, shown to the public in January 2020 in San Francisco, was the first product revealed using GM’s third generation EV platform and Ultium batteries. Next will be the Cadillac Lyriq luxury SUV in April. Details about its launch will be shared then. The reveal of the Ultium-powered GMC HUMMER EV will follow on May 20. Production is expected to begin in Fall 2021 at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, GM’s first assembly plant 100 percent dedicated to EV production.
GM is trying to ensure that more widespread adoption of electric vehicles starts with its own employees and is adding 3,500 new EV charging plugs throughout its U.S. and Canadian facilities. This will triple the amount of charging locations that GM currently provides.
“This is another step down the path to making EV ownership easier for everyone, especially for our own employees,” Reuss says. “Charging infrastructure is crucial to wider acceptance of EVs, and we’ll continue to do everything we can to improve it, both for our employees and for all our customers. We encourage other companies to do likewise.”
GM will prioritize charging installation sites based on employee need and will work with charging infrastructure companies to begin installing the charging locations starting in late 2020. GM employees will have access to Level 2 charging, ideal for efficiently charging EVs throughout a workday. Level 2 chargers can charge the current Chevrolet Bolt EV model up to a speed of 25 miles every hour.