And be cheaper to produce than ever before.
The big switch to electric power is in full swing, as major manufacturers declare their commitment to an all-electric future. GM is one of the major players planning ahead, and new lithium-metal battery tech seems to hold the key. GM last year pulled the wraps off of its new electric drive units which will power upcoming GM vehicles such as the 2023 Cadillac Lyric, and the highly anticipated 2022 GMC Hummer, and are now focusing on increasing the range and reducing the cost of its battery systems. At a recent conference, General Motors President Mark Reuss divulged some interesting info regarding the company's next-generation Ultium battery chemistry.
GM has already completed 150,000 simulated test miles at its research and development lab in Warren, Michigan. This follows the company's 2015 investment in SolidEnergy Systems to further the development and optimization of Li-Metal technology and AI-powered battery management software. The continuation of this partnership will see GM and SES build a manufacturing prototyping line in Woburn, Massachusetts which should start producing high-performance batteries by 2023. The Ultium batteries will give the new GMC Hummer a range of around 350 miles, but the company claims that that number can now be pushed to over 450 miles on certain models. The new batteries make use of liquid electrolytes, have twice the energy density of contemporary batteries, but cost up to 60 percent less to manufacture.
This is a massive breakthrough for EV cars in general, as pricing is seen as one of the biggest limitations in the EV market right now, but these developments will help to level the playing field. "Affordability and range are two major barriers to mass EV adoption. With this next-generation Ultium chemistry, we believe we're on the cusp of a once-in-a-generation improvement in energy density and cost," said Reuss. Work is also being done to ensure that these batteries are backward compatible with future-proofed older models. The first Ultium-based cars are expected to go on sale later in 2021 and follow GM's massive $27 billion investment into EV product development. It plans to launch 30 EVs globally by the end of 2025.