The future of GM's electric revolution is smaller than you thought it'd be.
Today General Motors pulled the wraps off its new electric drive units, which will propel several of the company's upcoming electric vehicles including the 2022 GMC Hummer pickup and SUV as well as the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq. These vehicles will use a family of interchangeable drive units and three motors, which are collectively called "Ultium Drive." This system sends power out through a single-speed transmission, enabling greater response over an internal combustion-engine car and smoother performance.
"GM has built transmissions for many notable automakers," said Ken Morris, GM vice president, 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."
Not only will the Ultium Drive system find use in various GM vehicles, but a new partnership with Honda could result in service for their models as well. GM says the Ultium Drive uses a more efficient design, allowing the engineers to shave off 50 percent of the mass while increasing capability by 25 percent compared to the company's previous generation EVs. The simplification of the drive unit will help GM package it into more vehicle across its lineup.
GM has already teased that Ultium Drive is capable of impressive output figures. In the upcoming GMC Hummer, it will produce around 1,000 horsepower. Ultium Drive can use one, two, or three electric motors depending on the application, driving only the front wheels, rear wheels, or all of them.
Ultium Drive will use globally sourced parts and will be assembled at GM's existing global propulsion facilities. "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."
These electric motors may also find their way into the upcoming Nikola Badger electric truck after a recent deal between Nikola Motor and GM. As for when we'll see the new motors in action first, the GMC Hummer truck has already displayed its propulsion in action in recent 'Crab Mode' teasers.