General Motors has unveiled a family of five interchangeable drive units and three motors, which will power its next generation of EVs. “Ultium Drive will help the company transition its current portfolio to a fully electric lineup, providing significant advantages over GM’s previous EVs in performance, scale, speed to market and manufacturing efficiencies,” says GM.
Ultium Drive (part of the larger Ultium platform, which also includes battery cells and an innovative wireless BMS) combines electric motors and single-speed transmissions. The Ultium Drive family covers front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations, including high-performance and off-road capabilities.
GM has also released some details about its Ultium battery system.
“Ultium Drive will be more responsive than its internal combustion equivalents, with precision torque control of its motors for smooth performance,” says GM. “These motors within Ultium Drive are expected to offer industry-leading torque and power density across a wide spectrum of different vehicle types.”
Ultium Drive follows the trend of integrating powertrain components to save weight and space. For example, by integrating the power electronics into the drive units’ assemblies, GM says it has reduced the mass of the power electronics by nearly 50 percent compared to its previous generation of EVs, saving cost and packaging space while increasing performance by 25 percent.
“GM has built transmissions for many notable automakers,” said Ken Morris, VP of Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs. “Making motors, transmissions, driveline components and systems are among GM’s best-known competencies, and our manufacturing expertise is proving not only transferable but advantageous as we make the transition to EVs.”
“As with other propulsion systems that are complex, capital-intensive and contain a great deal of intellectual property, we’re always better off making them ourselves,” said Adam Kwiatkowski, GM Executive Chief Engineer, Global Electrical Propulsion. “GM’s full lineup of EVs should benefit from the simultaneous engineering of Ultium Drive. Our commitment to increased vertical integration is expected to bring additional cost efficiency to the performance equation.”