GM unveils three all-new electric motors to power its Ultium-based EVs

At the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference, General Motors has unveiled three all-new motors that will power its Ultium-based EVs, including the upcoming HUMMER EV.

The first motor of the Ultium series is a 180 kW front-drive motor, while the second one, structurally similar to the first, is a 255 kW rear- and front-drive motor. Both units are permanent magnet motors designed with the aim of minimizing reliance on heavy rare earth materials, whose mining is typically detrimental to the environment. The third unit is a 62-kW induction motor, which is supposed to be used in all-wheel-drive systems as an “auxiliary” unit.

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. All are expected to offer excellent torque and power density, enabling the engines to be used in a wide spectrum of vehicle types, from performance cars to heavy pickup trucks.

GM's 255-kW, permanent magnet EV motor will be used for performance all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive applications.
GM’s 255-kW, permanent magnet EV motor will be used for performance all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive applications. Credit: General Motors

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 said in its release.

GM engineers have also developed Ultium Drive motor controller software, which is key to serving the propulsion needs of various vehicle types with a minimal set of components. The company sees 11,000 GM product development team members that are working in software development as “a critical pillar of GM’s vision of an all-electric future,” and it projects that the team will continue to grow as GM transitions to electric vehicles.

The team used computer 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 the GMC HUMMER EV, allowing a vehicle with the extremely high off-road capability to travel comfortably on surface streets.

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.

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