At the beginning of the new decade, a lot of buzz was created around electric cars. All prestigious automakers such as Mercedes, Hyundai, and General Motors went into the race to produce the best and most efficient electric cars.
General Motors cover huge car markets, not only in North and South America but all over the world. It has made a great reputation for itself in the category of conventional powered cars. But it is up against some big and emerging names in the EV sector.
This article will cover all there is to know about the production of an electric vehicle by GM. In addition to that, we will also shed light on the newest electric vehicle platform by General Motors, which goes by the name of Ultium. So, let’s get right into it.
History of Electric Vehicle by GM
Many people think that electric cars are an innovation of this current decade, but this is so not true. The history of electric cars stretches as far back as fuel-powered cars. There are records of cars powered by electric motors dating to almost 100 years ago.
Though it is true that electric cars made their great reentry into the automotive market in the 2020s. As all the world has become worried about the future and what would it look like if we continue to add greenhouse gases to the environment at the current pace.
It wouldn’t be wrong of me to say that General Motors has been the leader of the electric car industry in many ways. It started the production of its first-ever electric car, EV1, in 1996. The production continued till 1999 as the world wasn’t ready for an electric car back then.
EV1 had a driving range of about 79 miles, and it was laced with a battery pack of 16.3 kWh. At a time when automakers weren’t producing highly fuel-efficient cars, this range was a decent start, to say the least. But the absence of a charging infrastructure made things even harder for EV1.
Nonetheless, it was the first mass-produced electric car of the 20th century. General Motors launched it with high hopes, but it wasn’t fated to be perceived well in the market. Though EV1 still marked the beginning of a new era of electric cars.
What is Ultium?
Ultium was launched by General Motors in 2020. It is an EV platform on which several types of electric cars can be built. It offers flexible battery architecture as well as outstanding range, performance, and power delivery.
Platform design might not be the most important aspect of a fuel-powered, but it certainly carries a lot of importance in EV manufacturing. This is because, unlike a conventional car, where a battery weighs less than 30 lbs, a set of EV batteries can weigh over 3,000 lbs.
To carry this additional weight, the chassis of the car needs to be very sturdy and flexible. In addition to that, it should not put any kind of restraint on the performance and speed of the car. These are the reasons why electric vehicle platform design is so important.
Ultium electric vehicle by General Motors is special in so many ways. But let us discuss the major aspects of this platform and how they would benefit the end users. So, let’s start!
Flexible Battery Architecture
The first and foremost thing to notice about the Ultium platform is its flexible battery architecture. Normally you can fit the battery cells onto the platform either horizontally or vertically. But with Ultium, you can do it in both directions.
This feature gives Ultium a unique edge over the competition. As General Motors can build a wide range of electric vehicles using this very platform. By this, we mean all kinds of vehicles, whether it be a sedan, a pickup truck, an SUV, or a performance car.
Apart from the advantage of being able to build all kinds of EVs on a single platform, Ultium has reduced the wiring materials used in batteries by up to 80%. Lesser wiring would mean lesser complications and, as a result, higher reliability.
The ultium platform enables flexibility by offering scalability. This means that you can choose the configuration of battery stacking. You can place either 6, 8, 10, or 12 modules in a single battery pack layer. You can further increase the number of cells up to 24 by stacking one cell over the other. This is why the battery pack size of Ultium vehicles can range from 50 to 210 kWh.
In addition to that, the Ultium battery pack has also reduced the use of elemental cobalt by up to 70%. Here it is vital to mention why this is significant. It is because cobalt is a rare earth metal and costs a lot. So, by eliminating cobalt General Motors has cut down the costs.
Longer Than Ever Range
Along with the versatility, the battery architecture offered by Ultium packs more charge in lesser space. This simply means that electric vehicles built on the Ultium platform would provide a much longer driving range.
General Motors claims that users will get a range of over 300 miles due to the use of the Ultium platform. However, 300 miles might not seem like a lot if you compare it to the Tesla’s range, which is in excess of 350 miles very often. Or you could also take the Hyundai Ioniq series as an example. Even these EVs offer a range of over 340 miles.
But things take a dramatic change when you combine the 300 miles range and the size of a Hummer EV SUT. It is powered by motors churning out over 1,000 hp and can go up to 300 miles. Now, this is what is amazing about the Ultium platform.
Ultra-Fast Charging of Electric Vehicle by GM
Ultium platform enables the vehicles of General Motors to be charged at 800 V charging stations. At a 350 kW DC fast charging station, you would be able to charge your GM cars up to 80% in less than 25 mins. Again it might seem a bit slower than the charging of other automakers such as Hyundai and Tesla, as Hyundai claims that the Ioniq 6 can be charged up to 80% in about 18 mins.
But the battery size of the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is only 77.4 kWh. However, on the other hand, the GMC Hummer EV SUT is powered by a 212.7 kWh. Now, to charge this battery pack in less than 25 mins up to 80% is really admirable.
Moreover, the charging tech of Ultium has been designed to integrate GM charging app and charging points of other private companies. This has been done to ensure that you’re never out of options to recharge your vehicle.
GM has ensured access to over 60,000 charging points all over the US. In addition to that, General Motors is building a fast charging network in integration with the Ultium platform. Currently, the number of these charging stations stands at 500. However, GM plans to increase this number up to 2,700 by the end of 2025.
Get a comprehensive map of electric vehicle charging stations in your area. Don’t let a low battery stop your commute – find the closest charger now!
Immense Power and Acceleration
Vehicles built on the Ultium platform are powered by three motors in different configurations. Three motors mean that all the vehicles based on this platform will be superfast. They have a 0-60 mph time ranging from 3 to 8.5 seconds. Electric cars are usually known to have a very fast 0-60 mph time. The reason is that there is no lag in the power transmission of electric cars.
We are using the example of GMC Hummer EV SUT. To take it further, it can breach the 0-60 mph barrier in less than 3.3 seconds. All thanks to the two motors placed on the rear and a single motor on the front. They produce a combined power output of over 1,000 hp.
Had it not been for the weight of a 212.7 kWh battery pack, the 0-60 mph stats of this SUT would be even better. Thus, the 3-sec claim of General Motors is true in reality as well.
Electric Vehicles Built on the Ultium Platform
There is a wide range of electric cars that are either being built on the Ultium platform, or General Motors plans to begin their production in the near future. Let’s have a look at those cars:
- GMC Sierra EV Denali
- Cadillac CELESTIQ
- Chevrolet Equinox EV
- Chevrolet Blazer EV
- GMC Hummer EV Pickup
- GMC Hummer EV SUV
- Cadillac LYRIQ
- Chevrolet Silverado EV
Final Word, Ultium Platform of an Electric Vehicle by GM
This article covered all there is to know about the Ultium platform of an Electric Vehicle by GM (General Motors). First of all, we established that GM is not new to the EV game. Rather it is the pioneer of the electric car industry, launching the first ever mass-produced electric car, EV1.
Then we saw the salient facts about the Ultium platform and the things which make it a true innovation. Many cars built on this platform are already out in the market. However, many are still in the pre-manufacturing stage. We hope to see some of those vehicles in near future.
Do you own a vehicle built on the Ultium platform of General Motors? Or do you plan on buying one? Do let us know in the comment section down below.