Last year, ahead of the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Cadillac previewed its first electric vehicle. At the time, Cadillac said it’d be “the first of GM’s next-generation EVs.” Today, GM laid bare some of its plans for those next-gen electric vehicles, including news about an Escalade-sized electric Cadillac that’ll ride on the new GMC Hummer EV’s platform. Sadly, we don’t know much about the new Cadillac EV beyond that; however, GM did reveal information about the Hummer EV’s platform.
A vital part of the new platform is GM’s new Ultium batteries, which GM says can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack, giving the automaker the ability to optimize battery layout and storage for each model design. GM says its trucks will have 800-volt battery packs and 350 kW fast-charging capability with up to 200 kW battery pack sizes offering up to 400 miles (644 kilometers) of range. The new Ultium batteries were designed for Level 2 and DC fast charging.
When GM teased the Hummer’s return, it claimed the new EV would hit 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in three seconds – with 1,000 horsepower (745 kilowatts) on tap. That three-second 0-60 time appears in GM’s release about the new batteries, claiming sprints to 60 mph as low as three seconds. GM also says it’ll use in-house designed motors that will support front-, rear-, all-, and performance all-wheel-drive configurations.
GM has said it’ll build the new GMC Hummer EV at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. Interestingly, there were rumors late last year that GM would build the electrified Hummer alongside an electric pickup truck and an electric version of the Escalade. It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to think that the rumored Escalade EV is the Escalade-sized electric Cadillac that’ll ride on the Hummer EV’s new platform.
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This is just the tip of the iceberg for GM’s EV strategy, and we’ll learn a lot more in the coming months. The Cadillac Lyriq, the luxury brand’s first all-electric crossover, will get a full debut next month. In May, we’ll see the GMC Hummer EV. That’ll be followed by a new version of the Bolt EV later this year and a Bolt EUV in summer 2021.
GM Reveals New Ultium Batteries and a Flexible Global Platform to Rapidly Grow its EV Portfolio
WARREN, Mich. – Starting today, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) is gathering hundreds of employees, dealers, investors, analysts, media and policymakers to share details of its strategy to grow the company’s electric vehicle (EV) sales quickly, efficiently and profitably.
“Our team accepted the challenge to transform product development at GM and position our company for an all-electric future,” said Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO. “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.”
The heart of GM’s strategy is a modular propulsion system and a highly flexible, third- generation global EV platform powered by proprietary Ultium batteries. They will allow the company 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.
“Thousands of GM scientists, engineers and designers are working to execute an historic reinvention of the company,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “They are on the cusp of delivering a profitable EV business that can satisfy millions of customers.”
Ultium Batteries and Propulsion System Highlights
- GM’s 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 200kW fast-charging capability while our truck platform will have 800-volt battery packs and 350 kW fast-charging capability.
GM’s flexible, modular approach to EV development will drive significant economies of scale and create new revenue opportunities, including:
- Continuous Improvement in Battery Costs: GM’s joint venture with LG Chem will drive battery cell costs below $100/kWh. The cells use a proprietary low cobalt chemistry and ongoing technological and manufacturing breakthroughs will drive costs even lower.
- Flexibility: GM’s all-new global platform is flexible enough to build a wide range of trucks, SUVs, crossovers, cars and commercial vehicles with outstanding design, performance, packaging, range and affordability.
- Capital Efficiency: GM can spend less capital 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.
- Complexity Reduction: The vehicle and propulsion systems were designed together to minimize complexity and part counts beyond today’s EVs, which are less complex than conventional vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. For example, GM plans 19 different battery and drive unit configurations initially, compared with 550 internal combustion powertrain combinations available today.
- Rising Customer Acceptance: Third-party forecasters expect U.S. EV volumes to more than double from 2025 to 2030 to about 3 million units on average. GM believes volumes could be materially higher as more EVs are launched in popular segments, charging networks grow and the total cost of ownership to consumers continues to fall.
- New Sources of Revenue: By vertically integrating the manufacture of battery cells, the company can reach beyond its own fleet and license technology to others.
The first generation of GM’s future EV program will be profitable. The initial programs will pave the way for further accretive growth. GM’s technology can be scaled to meet customer demand much higher than the more than 1 million global sales the company expects mid-decade.
Upcoming Launches and Reveals
Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick will all 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 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.
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