An EV’s battery pack is arguably the most important component on the entire vehicle. Not only does it provide the juice, but its considerable size and weight, not to mention layout constraints, all play a significant role in the way an EV looks, drives, and performs. It also plays a huge role in defining the production process. Now, new information on the next-generation GM battery pack has come to light following a presentation from General Motors President Mark Reuss at the recent GM Capital Markets Day event.
According to Reuss, the next-gen GM battery pack will be highly flexible and modular, providing engineers with a multitude configurations to choose from, but “all from the same starting point, all from the same materials depending on the product we’re building.”
The executive likens the pack to an ice cube tray.
“You can put in as much water to make as many cubes as you need, the tray still takes up the same amount of space in the freezer,” Reuss said.
For example, GM could use just six battery packs for a small EV, but continue to add packs as needed, whether its eight, 10, or 12, depending on the vehicle. One could even imagine using upwards of 24 packs by stacking two 12-pack configurations on top of one another.
The next-gen GM battery pack offers a number of improvements over the previous generation, including greater energy density, more flexibility, and greater modularity. The pack also comes with high-powered DC fast-charging capabilities and a lower overall height, while a more holistic design approach allows the battery pack to be physically larger inside the platform.
The flexibility of the next-gen GM battery pack is particularly important here, as it enables the automaker to adjust its approach depending on the changes seen in the market.
“[We’re] not spending money validating way more designs than necessary, we just slot the configuration into whatever product we need, whenever we need it,” Reuss said. “Most competitors lack this ability. Most of them will need to melt and re-pour. Most are one-off snowflakes – an existing architecture that has a battery that’s been put into it, which is fine, but it’s not the long-term scalable, economic, market-agile solution that we have.”
Looking ahead, GM’s electric vehicle plans include the new BT1 platform for body-on-frame SUVs and pickup trucks, which include the GMC Hummer EV, as well as the rumored Cadillac Escalade EV, among others.
Meanwhile, the new BEV3 platform will underpin a variety of models, the first of which will be the upcoming Cadillac crossover EV set to debut in April. Several others will follow, including the Cruise Origin autonomous taxi, a Light Commercial Vehicle, a luxury “low-roof” CUV, as we covered previously.