American automotive giant General Motors has unveiled three new electric vehicle (EV) motors that will underpin its Ultium-based range, including two permanent magnet motors and an induction motor.
Speaking at the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan this week, General Motors president Mark Reuss revealed the three new motors, designed in-house by GM. They include a 180kW front-drive motor, a 255kW rear- and front-drive motor, and a 62kW all-wheel drive assist motor.
The three new motors are part of the company’s Ultium Drive – a family of five interchangeable drive units and three motors, announced last week.
GM says Ultium Drive “combines electric motors and single-speed transmissions to apply power – generated by Ultium battery cells – to the wheels of GM’s upcoming electric vehicles.”
Ultium Drive forms the basis for GM’s transition from its current lineup of vehicles to a fully electric lineup, while providing significant advantages over its previous EVs in performance, scale, speed to market, and manufacturing efficiencies.
GM’s new Ultium Drive is also based on the company’s Ultium batteries, designed and produced in partnership with South Korean chemicals company LG Chem.
“GM has built transmissions for many notable automakers,” said Ken Morris, GM vice president, Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs, speaking earlier in the month.
“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.”
The three motors that will underpin the Ultium Drive consist of two permanent magnet motors, the 180kW and 255kW units, which are designed to minimise reliance on heavy rare earth materials, while the 62kW unit is an induction motor.
All three are expected to offer excellent torque numbers and power density, enabling them to be used in a variety of vehicle types ranging from performance cars to work trucks.
GM also expects that as many as three electric motors will be able to be used in one EV – such as variations of the 2022 GMC Hummer EV which will feature three separate 255kW motors, yielding an estimated output of 1,000-horsepower.
“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,” said Mark Reuss, speaking at the conference sponsored by the Detroit Regional Chamber.
“Our vertical integration in this space, encompassing both hardware and software, helps give us control over our own destiny and a significant competitive advantage.”
Mark Reuss also revealed that GM engineers have developed the software for Ultium Drive’s motor controllers, which can be reused in many applications helping to provide faster go-to-market times as well as a foundation for future EV expansion.