GM Will Build Ultium Drive Alongside Non-EV Powertrains

You wouldn’t expect a company like General Motors to outsource production of its V8 engines, likewise, the General will be building its own family of electric Ultium Drive systems and motors, some of them alongside GM’s more conventional offerings.

The announcement was made yesterday of that they’re calling the Ultium Drive family. A group of five interchangeable drive units and three electric motors that will join with the modular Ultium battery to power GM’s next generation of electric models.

GM knows powertrains, and they’ve been working on EVs for more than 25 years, and that’s lead to Ultium Drive innovations like power electronics integrated into the drive unit assembly, cutting mass by 50 percent, cutting costs, and cutting space in the vehicle while increasing capability. The three motors include one that’s primarily for the front, a primary that can be used front or rear, and an all-wheel drive assist motor. The five drive units that incorporate those three motors in numerous combinations allow for applications ranging from performance to off-road.

More importantly, they can be assembled at existing GM propulsion facilities, on shared and flexible assembly lines. That’s good for those plants, and it’s good for GM, letting them scale up quickly and adjusting production to meet demand with more flexibility than with separate facilities.

As with other propulsion systems that are complex, capital intensive and contain a great deal of intellectual property, we’re always better off making them ourselves,” said Adam Kwiatkowski, GM Executive Chief Engineer for Global Electrical Propulsion. “GM’s full lineup of EVs should benefit from the simultaneous engineering of Ultium Drive, and our commitment to increased vertical integration is expected to bring additional cost efficiency to the performance equation.”

So while you wouldn’t expect an LS engine made by Ford, GM’s Ultium Drive units too are an all-GM affair. Though they didn’t rule out sourcing some components from outside, we’ll just ignore those like we do the L66 V6 from the Saturn Vue and the VM Motori diesels.

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