Video: General Motors to power electric vehicles with Ultium DriveS. Himmelstein | September 30, 2020
A new system of drive units and electric motors is being planned to propel the next generation of electric vehicles (EVs) from General Motors. The Ultium Drive system, a collection of components that can combined to power a range of vehicles, will deliver advantages in performance, scale, speed to market, and manufacturing efficiency vs. assembling EVs on a one-off basis.
Ultium Drive will pair electric motors with single-speed transmissions and Ultium batteries. The power electronics will be integrated into the assemblies of the drive units, reducing mass by almost 50% compared to the automaker's previous-generation EV drive units. The drive units themselves will be powered by one or more of three electric motors, one of which will be a primary front-wheel drive motor that could be set up for front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, in addition to an all-wheel drive assist motor.
The modular family of mixable driveline components will enables engineers to design systems for specific vehicles, including high-performance cars and off-road trucks. The power and versatility of the drive units is planned to help General Motors transition vehicle segments that require high-output propulsion systems, such as pickup trucks and performance cars, to all-electric propulsion.
Ultium batteries feature the highest nickel and lowest cobalt content in a large format pouch cell, requiring less wiring and plumbing than small cylindrical cells. Vehicles built using the Ultium modular drivetrain architecture and batteries could offer driving ranges of up to 400 miles on a full charge and zero-to-60 mph acceleration in three seconds.