General Motors launched its new, third electric car platform in March. Models based on the modular architecture drive for the first time with batteries developed by the company with “Ultium” technology. According to the manager responsible, the stated goal of bringing e-mobility to the mass market is on track despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our future is electric,” said Vice President for Electric and Autonomous Cars Ken Morris in an interview with Automobile Mag. General Motors would gradually replace SUVs and CUVs that were less in demand by customers, especially limousines. The company is launching these new models directly as electric cars instead of initially equipping them with combustion technology. In view of the long lifespan of cars, however, this would not happen overnight.
The plan of the traditional group is a complete portfolio of electric vehicles. In the long term, General Motors also wants to offer particularly inexpensive series, in which buyers can choose between combustion engine and electric car technology. The first car with the new EV technology will be a potent new edition of the Hummer as a model of the GMC division, which specializes in off-road vehicles and trucks. By 2025, General Motors will have a wide range of electric vehicles at different entry prices, according to Morris.
The upcoming electric cars presented to the press in March are “full steam ahead” even during the corona virus crisis, explained the General Motors manager. “We secure these programs as best we can. We work from home, that is, our developers and designers, but they make extraordinary efforts to ensure that we keep to the plans for our projects. ”As soon as the work can continue on-site at the business premises, work will probably be done harder and more Must use resources to stay on time. “But there is no delay, no,” assured Morris.
He firmly believes that General Motors will one day be purely electric. “How many years are there until then? Maybe it will be earlier than people think, ”said Morris. In addition to lower costs, General Motors is striving for technological leadership in electric cars. The new Ultium batteries should make a significant contribution to this. Morris: “We know that what we do is different from everything that is currently on the market. That’s all I can say about it. “
Focus on flexibility, cheaper batteries
So far, General Motors has officially revealed that its in-house developed Ultium energy storage devices are so-called pouch-like batteries. These could be stacked both horizontally and vertically, which could optimize the ability to store electricity and the battery design for the respective vehicle. The capacities of the Ultium batteries should range from 50 to 200 kWh and allow a range of up to 400 miles (approx. 644 km) or more according to the comparatively realistic US standard EPA.
Most new General Motors electric models are said to have 400 volt systems and a charging capacity of up to 200 kW. Trucks are equipped with 800 volt technology and 350 kW quick charging capability. Together with the production partner LG Chem from South Korea, the car company wants to cut battery costs below $ 100 per kWh. This threshold is considered essential in order to sell electric cars at prices and margins similar to those of combustion engines.
With brands such as Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick, General Motors is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world. With the sale of Opel in 2017, the Americans have largely withdrawn from Europe. The management has so far remained silent as to whether the local market is coming back into focus as part of the e-mobility offensive.