General Motors introduces Ultium Drive for next generation EVs

gm drivetrain

General Motors is streamlining their lineup as they have just announced that their next-generation EVs will be powered by a family of five interchangeable drive units and three motors, collectively known as “Ultium Drive.” 

"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. GM will lead the design and development of Ultium Drive’s modular architecture," GM said in a press release. 

GM Ultium Drive

Ultium Drive will help the company transition its current fleet to a fully electric lineup. It is set to be better and more responsive than its internal combustion counterparts, equipped with precision torque control of its motors for the ultimate smooth performance. The motors within Ultium Drive are expected to offer industry-leading torque and power density across a wide range of different vehicle types. 

GM Ultium Drive

“GM has built transmissions for many notable automakers,” said Ken Morris, GM vice president, Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs. “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.”

"GM applied 25 years of EV experience to Ultium Drive with lighter and more efficient designs that feature clever integration," says the company in a press release. "For example, by integrating the power electronics into the drive units’ assemblies, the mass of the power electronics has been reduced by nearly 50 percent from GM’s previous EV generation, saving cost and packaging space while increasing capability by 25 percent."

GM Ultium Drive

The unparalleled power and versatility of these drive units will help the company migrate otherwise high-output segments such as pickup trucks and performance vehicles to an all-electric configuration, all while helping GM establish their EV portfolio well into the future.

The GM Ultium Drive family covers all drive specifications: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive, including high-performance and off-road capabilities.

All five drive units in the Ultium Drive series are expected to be powered by one or more of three motors, including a primary front-wheel drive motor, which can be configured for front- or rear-wheel drive, and an all-wheel drive assist motor.

GM Ultium Drive

GM expects to save up on vehicle design and production costs by developing Ultium Drive alongside its next generation of EVs.

“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, Global Electrical Propulsion. “GM’s full lineup of EVs should benefit from the simultaneous engineering of Ultium Drive. Our commitment to increased vertical integration is expected to bring additional cost efficiency to the performance equation.”

Most of the Ultium Drive components, including castings, gears and assemblies, will be built with parts sourced from all over the world at GM’s existing global propulsion facilities. These will be built on shared, flexible assembly lines, allowing the company to more quickly ramp up its EV production.

All GM electric vehicles built on the Ultium platform will be powered by Ultium Drive, providing GM’s next-generation EVs with "remarkable flexibility and modularity." To learn more about GM’s Ultium battery system, click here.

Photo/s from GMC

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