GM Debuts New Battery Technology With Up to 200 kWh Capacity — Twice What Tesla Currently Offers

These new 'Ultium' batteries are meant to be the backbone of GM's next-generation EVs

[Photos: General Motors]

Ultium’ batteries: a game changer?

In 2019, Tesla sold 223,000 electric vehicles in the United States. General Motors, for its part, sold 16,400 Chevrolet Bolt EVs in the United States. That’s it. Currently, Tesla’s market cap is about three times GM’s. Not only that, but its models’ range figures are also substantially beyond the Bolt’s reach. Considering GM’s size as one of the largest volume automakers, the numbers are troubling to investors. 

This is where the company hopes its ‘Ultium’ battery changes the playing field. The battery will have a higher capacity, fast charging capabilities and be less expensive to build.  GM says the will use Ultium’s 400-volt battery packs in cars, and 800-volt batteries for their trucks (like the upcoming GMC Hummer EV). The technology aims to reduce manufacturing costs below $100 per kilowatt-hour capacity. By doing so, Reuters mentions experts who say they could reduce the Bolt’s cost by up to 45 percent.

GM hasn’t jumped into EVs with both feet yet, but the company plans to launch several models over the next few years.

(Some) Batteries manufactured in the USA

Set to begin construction near GM’s former plant in Lordstown, Ohio, the company is partnering with Korean battery maker LG Chem to build a $2.3 billion facility. General Motors has also been working with Honda on developing new battery tech. 

According to GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra and company president Mark Reuss, GM is hoping to benefit from upcoming EVs as early as 2021. Every brand will have EVs including Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet. What’s unknown is exactly which vehicles will be replaced or revamped with EV products. 

This specific project has been part of a three-year process. However, it’s worth noting that the company’s investment in electric vehicles stems back to the 1990s, with the original EV1. GM is now investing heavily in EV development to take on companies like Tesla, which currently dominate teh market when it comes to range. The question is: will GM’s new technology  be enough to take the fight to Tesla? Time will tell.  

While GM’s electric cars aren’t here yet, we have been familiar with Tesla’s offerings. Here’s the six-month update with our Model X: