The Ultium Drive powertrain systems are a major step forward from the current electric motor and drive unit that is found in the Chevrolet Bolt EV. One of the main differences with these motors is that GM integrated the power electronics into the drive units’ assemblies, reducing the overall mass of the power electronics by nearly 50 percent and improving the packaging of the entire drive unit. Additionally, GM says this design saves costs and increases the average overall capability of an Ultium Drive system by about 25 percent.
“The power and versatility of these drive units will help GM migrate high-output segments like pickup trucks and performance vehicles to all-electric propulsion while providing the bandwidth to propel GM’s EV portfolio well into the future,” the automaker said previously.
The Ultium Drive portfolio of EV drive systems consists of the following five drive systems: assist all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, truck FWD/RWD and truck dual motor. These drive units, which consist of the motor(s), inverter, controller and differential, will feature one or more of three motors depending on the application. The three Ultium Drive motor setup will include a primary front-wheel-drive motor, primary rear-wheel-drive motor and all-wheel-drive assist motor.
The versatility of the drive units means they will be able to power a wide range of vehicles, from FWD city cars to AWD performance vehicles and off-road trucks. GM also says the motors will offer “industry-leading torque and power density across a wide spectrum of different vehicle types,” and will have “the bandwidth to propel GM’s EV portfolio well into the future.”
GM has developed its Ultium Drive lineup alongside its new modular Ultium lithium-ion battery technology. Some of the first products to arrive with Ultium motors and batteries will be the new GMC Hummer EV pickup, which will arrive next year, and the Cadillac Lyriq crossover in late 2022. The batteries are being built at GM’s new battery plant under construction in Ohio, which will be operated with supplier LG Chem under a joint venture entity called Ultium Cells LLC.