At the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference, General Motors President Mark Reuss revealed GM’s group of three all-new motors that will power its Ultium-based EVs.
Designed by GM, the 180kW front-drive motor, 255kW rear- and front-drive motor and 62kW all-wheel drive assist motor are part of Ultium Drive. All three motors were calibrated in-house to ensure the highest level of performance in Ultium-based EVs. The motors were built as a scalable family, sharing design principles as well as similar tooling and manufacturing strategies.
Stator family. The motors that will power GM’s Ultium-based EVs were built as a scalable family.
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. 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
The 180kW and 255kW units are permanent magnet motors designed with the aim of minimizing reliance on heavy rare earth materials while the 62kW unit is an induction motor. All are expected to offer excellent torque and power density, enabling a wide spectrum of vehicle types, from performance cars to work trucks.
GM’s 255kW, permanent magnet EV motor will be used for performance all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive applications.
As many as three electric motors can be used in one EV; variations of the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV will feature three separate 255-kW motors, yielding a GM-estimated output of 1,000 horsepower.
GM’s 180-kW, permanent magnet EV motor will be used for front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive applications.
GM engineers have also developed the software for Ultium Drive’s motor controllers, which is key to serving the propulsion needs of various vehicle types with a minimal set of components. These engineers, based at GM’s Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, Global Propulsion Systems in Pontiac, Michigan; and Milford Proving Ground, are part of the nearly 11,000 GM product development team members currently working in software development. This number is projected to grow with software serving as a critical pillar of GM’s vision of an all-electric future.
GM’s 62-kW induction EV motor will be used in all-wheel drive applications.
The team used computer-assisted and virtual engineering to move quickly, safely and in a cost-effective manner while also improving vehicle controls. Artificial intelligence and machine learning helped determine the most efficient ways to distribute torque in three-motor systems, such as in the GMC HUMMER EV, allowing the extremely off-road capable vehicle to also drive comfortably on surface streets.
The software behind GM’s EV motors can be reused in many applications, providing fast go-to-market times as well as the foundation for future EV expansion, as these motors are versatile enough to provide the power needs for a complete lineup of vehicles.
GM also designed the software of key power electronics components such as the power inverter module or inverter, which converts DC voltage from the battery to AC voltage to power the motor. The HUMMER EV’s 0-60 mph acceleration in a GM-estimated approximately three seconds—“Watts to Freedom mode”—is largely due to GM’s electric drive software expertise in addition to its key competencies in motor controls, power electronics, motor design and development.
The inverter and other power electronics, like the accessory power module and onboard charging module, reside outside of the drive units on GM’s current EVs. In Ultium-based vehicles, they will be integrated directly into Ultium Drive units, reducing cost and manufacturing complexity.
The power electronics of GM’s Ultium-based EVs will be integrated directly into the Ultium Drive units, reducing costs, weight and manufacturing complexity while increasing reliability. The inverter and other power electronics such as the accessory power module and onboard charging module will reside within boxes such as this inside GM’s Ultium Drive units.
Some power electronics will have as much as 50% less mass and volume than today’s GM equivalents, with as much as 25% more capability.
GM’s all-new EV motors and integrated power electronics, contained within its Ultium Drive units, will debut on the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV later this year.