What makes the GM Ultium batteries special?

September 29th, 2020 by

GM CEO Mary Barra stands in front of an EV platform and a screen that reads "Our Electric Future Is Now"

Strengths and Innovation of GM Ultium Batteries

It’s becoming clear that we’re on the cusp of an electric era in the automotive world. Like almost all other major automakers, GM is planning to add a hefty slew of electric vehicles to their lineup in the near future. Eventually, they plan to have their entire lineup electrified.

Perhaps the most essential part of a good EV is the battery. For this reason, GM has put a lot of effort into developing its cutting-edge Ultium batteries. Read on below to learn more about these nifty powerplants!

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The GM Ultium batteries are part of a joint venture with LG Chem. The ultimate aim is to develop and mass-produce battery cells, continuing to innovate in order to drive cell costs to less than $100 per kWh. GM predicts that ongoing technological and manufacturing breakthroughs will drive costs lower still.

Vehicles powered will range from affordable cars and crossovers to luxury SUVs and pickups.

GM Ultium battery platformInnovative Stacking and Wireless Management

In the initial stages of the GM EV era, the automaker is going for 19 different battery and drive unit configurations. One of the ways they’ve innovated is by creating batteries in vertical as well as horizontal stacks. This unique technique opens up the possibility for a flat cabin floor and more interior room compared to other EVs that only use cylindrical battery packs.

GM will also be the first automaker to use an almost completely wireless battery management system, or WBMS, for production electric vehicles. The automaker developed this system in tandem with Analog Devices, Inc.

Environmental Concerns

The Ultium batteries also feature state-of-the-art Nickel Cobalt Manganese Aluminum (NCMA) chemistry. This concoction was designed to reduce cobalt content in batteries by more than 70 percent.

GM has also pledged to continue support the reuse or recycling of 100 percent of batteries that are returned.

EV Battery Safety Measures

To ensure safety, GM is applying a comprehensive battery and high-voltage safety strategy and development process to every EV they make. Their efforts are supported by a dedicated high-voltage battery safety team.

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