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General Motors unveils future electric vehicle plans & new Ultium batteries

Posted at 12:39 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 21:22:25-05

(WXYZ) — General Motors on Wednesday unveiled a new plan that expands the company's electric vehicle (EV) portfolio and new Ultium batteries.

According to the automaker, the heart of the strategy is the Ultium batteries, which will be large-format, pouch-style cells that can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. GM said that's to optimize battery energy storage and layout in each vehicle design.

“Our team accepted the challenge to transform product development at GM and position our company for an all-electric future,” GM Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra said in a release. “What we have done is build a multi-brand, multi-segment EV strategy with economies of scale that rival our full-size truck business with much less complexity and even more flexibility.”

“Thousands of GM scientists, engineers and designers are working to execute an historic reinvention of the company,” GM President Mark Reuss said. “They are on the cusp of delivering a profitable EV business that can satisfy millions of customers.”

According to GM, Ultium energy options range from 50-200 kWh, which could enable a GM-estimated range up to 400 miles or more on a full charge and a 0-60 acceleration in as low as three seconds. They will also support motors designed in the company to support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and performance all-wheel drive.

Most batteries will also have 400-volt battery packs and up to 200Kw fast-charging capability.

GM's family of brands – including Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick – will all be launching new EVs this year. The next Chevrolet Bolt EV will launch in late 2020, followed by the 2022 Bolt EUV launching in summer 2021. It will be the first vehicle outside of Cadillac to feature Super Cruise, the hands-free technology.

The Cruise Origin unveiled in January in San Francisco will use GM's third-gen EV platform and Ultium batteries. Then, the Cadillac Lyriq luxury SUV will debut in April and the unveiling of the GMC Hummer EV on May 20.

Production is expected to begin in Fall 2021 at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, the first GM plant 100 percent dedicated to EV production.