General Motors debuted its advanced new proprietary Ultium batteries during its EV Day press event in Michigan today.
The Ultium battery system contains large-format, pouch-style cells that can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. GM says this arrangement allows engineers to optimize the battery storage layout for each vehicle design, optimizing the battery pack’s overall efficiency. Ultium battery packs will range in size from 50 kWh to 200 kWh, with the latter enabling a GM-estimated range of up to 400 miles or more on a full charge. Certain GM vehicles with the new EV platform and Ultium battery pack will be able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in as little as three seconds.
Additionally, Ultium batteries are designed for Level 2 and DC fast-charging. GM says “most” of the packs will be 400-volts and will have maximum 200 kW fast charging, though the truck platform will have 800-volt battery packs and 350 kW fast-charging capability. The presence of a separate truck platform seems to suggest it will spawn other large electric vehicles apart from the previously announced GMC Hummer EV pickup.
GM invited hundreds of employees, dealers, investors, analysts, media and policymakers to its EV Day event this week to flex its electric vehicle muscles as it looks to compete with Tesla and emerging rivals like Rivian. In a press release, GM pointed out that it can spend less capital than rivals to scale its EV business “because it is able to leverage existing property, including land, buildings, tools and production equipment such as body shops and paint shops.”
“Our team accepted the challenge to transform product development at GM and position our company for an all-electric future,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “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 also said GM employees are currently “working to execute a historic reinvention of the company,” and said the automaker is “on the cusp of delivering a profitable EV business that can satisfy millions of customers.”
GM’s new modular EV platform will underpin a wide variety of vehicles and can support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive. GM says the platform could be used in everything from electric trucks and commercial vans to SUVs, crossovers, and cars. The automaker is planning 19 different battery and drive unit configurations for the platform initially. We already know the platform will be used on new electric Cadillac vehicles such as the Cadillac Lyriq electric crossover and Cadillac Celestiq electric sedan.