GM has announced that its next-generation electric vehicles will be powered by a family of five interchangeable drive units and three motors known collectively as Ultium Drive. Ultium Drive will help GM to transition its current portfolio to a fully electric lineup and promises significant advantages over the automaker’s previous EVs in performance, scale, speed to market, and manufacturing efficiencies. Ultium Drive combines electric motors and single-speed transmissions to apply the power generated by Ultium battery cells.
GM says that it will lead the design and development of the Ultium Drive’s modular architecture. The architecture promises to be more responsive than internal combustion equivalents with “precision torque control” of the motors for smoother performance. GM says that the motors in the line are expected to offer industry-leading torque and power density across the spectrum of vehicle types.
GM says that the development of the Ultium Drive resulted from the application of 25 years of EV experience. It integrated the power electronics into the drive unit assemblies allowing the mass of the power electronics to be reduced by 50 percent from GM’s past EV generation. That enables cost reduction and requires less packaging space while increasing the capability by 25 percent.
GM says that the power and versatility of its new drive units will help it to migrate high-output segments like trucks and performance vehicles to all-electric propulsion. The Ultium Drive family will cover front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive combinations, including both high-performance and off-road capability.
All five of the available drive units can be powered by one or more of three motors, including a primary front-wheel-drive motor, which can be configured for front or rear-wheel drive and an all-wheel-drive assist motor. Most components with the new electric drive systems, including the casings, gears, and assemblies, will be built with globally sourced parts at GM’s existing global production facility on shared and flexible assembly lines. There is no indication of when the first vehicles using the Ultium Drive powertrains will be available.