After we saw a new platform for the future electric cars built by General Motors, the Detroit-based producer unveiled also the electric motor that his future electric vehicles will use.
Designed by GM, the 180-kilowatt front-drive motor, 255-kW rear-M and front-drive motor and 62-kW 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.
The 180- and 255-kW units are permanent magnet motors designed with the aim of minimizing reliance on heavy rare earth materials while the 62-kW 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.
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 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.
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, like 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.