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GM’s Ultium modular batteries to give EVs 400-mile range

Image credit: reuters

General Motors (GM) has unveiled a “modular” electric car battery that boasts fast charging, higher capacities and will power the firm's upcoming range of electric vehicles.

The automaker, which owns successful brands Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick, teased its upcoming electric hummer during the Superbowl in January.

GM's new Ultium batteries are composed of “large-format, pouch-style cells” that can be configured in different ways depending on the type of vehicle.

The cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack, allowing engineers to optimise the battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design.

They will come in capacities ranging from 50 to 200kWh. For comparison, Tesla’s Model 3 is equipped with a 50kWh battery that is capable of around 165 miles between charges.

gm battery ultium

Image credit: reuters

GM estimates that its larger batteries could see a range of 400 miles or more on a full charge, with 0-60mph acceleration as low as three seconds.

The motors will also be designed in-house and can support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and performance all-wheel drive applications.

Ultium-powered EVs will be capable of 200kW fast charging for smaller, 400-volt battery packs, while trucks based on the platform will have 800-volt battery packs and 350kW fast-charging.

GM hopes that continued development could drive the costs of the battery cells, which use a “low cobalt chemistry”, below $100/kWh or even further

The next Chevrolet EV will be a new version of the Bolt, due to launch later this year. This will be followed by the 2022 Bolt EUV, launching in summer 2021.

The Bolt EUV will be the first vehicle outside of the Cadillac brand to feature Super Cruise, which is hands-free driving technology for the highway. GM hopes to expand this technology to 22 vehicles by 2023, including 10 by next year.

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