Meet the Ultium drive units powering GM’s next-generation EVs.
A ton of electric car news has broken onto the scene over the past few months, and this latest piece concerns the electric motors powering General Motors’ next-generation vehicles. We’ve seen a bit of the Ultium battery pack design in past months, but now the company unveiled three drive motors meant for various applications.
The most powerful of these three units is meant for front- or all-wheel drive configurations, putting out 255 kW (342 horsepower). GM plans to use these specific units in a triple-motor configuration with the GMC Hummer EV — landing that coveted 1,000 horsepower output. That truck is set to launch later this fall, at least in its initial “Edition 1” stage.
A less powerful, 180 kW (241 horsepower unit) also debuted, for use as a front-drive motor. A third, called an “all-wheel drive assist motor”, puts out just 62 kW (83 horsepower). What’s more, GM plans to integrate the inverter and other power electronics — currently housed outside the drive units in the company’s EVs — within the Ultium drive units to reduce complexity and manufacturing costs. The power electronics shown above, GM says, will be up to 50 percent smaller in mass and volume, while delivering 25 percent greater capability. All of this may well play toward greater energy efficiency, which will increase driving range in the Ultium generation to what we have right now.
“All three motors were calibrated in-house to ensure the highest level of performance in Ultium-based EVs,” GM said in its Tuesday statement. “The motors were built as a scalable family, sharing design principles as well as similar tooling and manufacturing strategies.” While GM aims to introduce dozens of models across all its brands over the next few years, the Ultium platform will be at the core of those designs — with these motors put into widespread use throughout both cars and trucks.