These three will form the basis of all future GM EVs.
General Motors has been having issues with the Bolt EV of late, but the conglomerate is still pushing ahead with electrification. Back in July, GM announced that GMC would launch another electric pickup after the Hummer EV, and earlier this month, we learned that Honda and GM EVs would share the same platform. There's been a lot of talk of GM's Ultium batteries as part of all these announcements, but little has been said about the motors that will power these vehicles. That all changed at the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference, where GM took the covers off the three all-new electric motors that will power its Ultium-based cars.
GM has designed the three motors in-house and explains that all three - the 180-kilowatt front-drive motor, the 255-kW rear- and front-drive motor, and the 62-kW all-wheel drive assist motor - make up the Ultium Drive package. Built as a scalable family, each motor shares design principles with the next and uses similar tooling manufacturing strategies to keep costs down.
Speaking at the conference, GM president Mark Reuss said: "Twenty years of electric drive system development and more than 100 years of high-volume vehicle engineering are helping GM pivot quickly from conventional vehicles to EVs. Our vertical integration in this space, encompassing both hardware and software, helps give us control over our own destiny and a significant competitive advantage."
The 180- and 255-kW motors are permanent magnet motors that are designed to use as few rare earth materials as possible, while the 62-kW unit is an induction motor. All three should offer remarkable torque and power density characteristics, and all three can be used in a single EV, like the aforementioned 1000-horsepower Hummer which will use of three of the 255-kW units. As well as developing the motors, GM developed the software for the controllers, using computer-assisted and virtual engineering to streamline the design process. The end product is a versatile range of motors that reduces cost and manufacturing complexity. GM concludes by saying that some power electronics even have as much as 50% less mass and volume than the company's current equivalents while offering up to 25% more capability.
So while GM may be having a hard time with the Bolt EV, the Hummer EV looks like it'll be brilliantly engineered. We await its debut later this year with keen anticipation.