GM announced today their new family of EV motors, The Ultium Drive family.
The Ultium Drive family is made up of five interchangeable drive units and three motors. This will help transition the current portfolio of auto's to fully electric lineup. Performance, scale, speed to market and manufacturing efficiencies will provide GM significant advantages over past EV auto's. GM is leading the way with industry class leading drive units that use an electric motor and single-speed transmissions to apply power best in class horsepower and torque. Ultium Drives will be more responsive than internal combustion motors with precision torque control of the motors and smooth performance. The design and development of the Ultium Drive modular architecture allows us to offer industry-leading torque with power density across a wide spectrum of different vehicles types.
GM has applied their 25 years of EV experience in creating the Ultium Drive family with lighter and more efficient designs. The Ultium Drive family integrates the power electronics into the drive units assemblies allowing for a 50% reduction in electronics over previous auto's thus saving cost and packaging space while increasing capability by 25 percent.
To Quote GM press release:
“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.”
Detroit Free Press covered the annual GM Analysts call this week and with the second quarter results it showed that GM has lost $800 million in the quarter but over all North American Earnings were breakeven and this was with 8 weeks of shutdown. Over all the Stock beat wall streets estimates and yet still sold off in large numbers during the pandemic closure.
Analysts had plenty of questions for GM with a major question of will GM consider spinning off their technology arm which would include electric vehicles operations into a stand alone company?
The idea of a stand alone GM Tech company is to recognize the advanced tech GM has over other auto companies and to unlock what Analysts see as considerable shareholder value. This new entity would allow access to cheap new capital to keep the old GM going till the new GM would replace it as a cutting edge tech auto company with what is seen as future strong growth.
GM has reinforced it's future of all electric auto's, self driving auto's and what it expects to become a zero emission company with 20 new EV auto's on the market by 2023, the first being out in Q1 of 2021.
The group of Analysts has suggested the new company be called Ultium based on GM's new battery tech.
The CEO responded that GM is evaluating many scenarios for the future of GM. She had nothing further to say other than the board and executive team will consider all options for what is best for driving long-term shareholder value. Quote: "Nothing is off the table."
Analysts have since added notes to their research suggesting that GM could already be considering this since so many start ups are valued more than GM such as Tesla, Nikola, Rivian, etc. The Billions of cheap dollars that could help drive GM long term into the future is hard to ignore.
Some analysts say that to split the company would kill off the baby, meaning the EV side would die after the money was harvested from the stock sale as you only have the Chevrolet Bolt and the new company would have to follow Tesla in going back to the market for more and more money. This is based on what some analysts see as only a US/Canada interest in EVs compared to the rest of the world needing ICE.
That being said it does show a clear line between those Analysts that see Europe and China leading in new tech with a change to EV's versus those Analysts that are more inline with the oil industry and imply that there is little to no interest in EV's.
End result is WHAT WILL GM DO?
I suspect GM will stay the course of using ICE auto's to fund the change to an all EV world. 50 years from now, people will be wondering why it took so long to dump ICE auto's in favor of EV's.
What are your thoughts on this?
Today July 31st 2020 GM and EVgo anounced their partnership to grow the EVgo fast charging network in growing nationally fast chargers. 2,700 fast chargers will be paid for and added to the EVgo network of fast chargers nationally by 2025.
EVgo currently has 800 fast chargers that allows EV's to fully charge battery packs from 15 to 30 mins. In support of GM's drive to be 100% renewable power, all EVgo chargers use renewable energy now and will continue for the additional 2,700 stations that are to be added to the network.
To Quote the News Release:
This EV charging announcement continues GM’s commitment to an all-electric future.
The heart of GM’s strategy is a modular propulsion system and a highly flexible global EV platform powered by proprietary Ultium batteries, allowing the company to compete for nearly every customer in the market today, whether they are looking for affordable transportation, a luxury experience, work trucks or a high-performance machine.
On Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, Cadillac will reveal the luxury brand’s first fully electric vehicle, the Cadillac LYRIQ.
Earlier this year, GM announced that the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant will be GM’s first plant that is 100 percent devoted to electric vehicles and in fall 2021, will start building the new GMC HUMMER EV.
GM was the first automaker to launch a long-range, affordable EV in 2017 with the Chevrolet Bolt EV and will expand on the Bolt EV’s foundation with the introduction of the Bolt EUV in 2021.
In March 2020, GM announced plans to greatly expand employee workplace charging with the addition of 3,500 new plugs at GM facilities in the U.S. and Canada.
In 2019, GM announced the creation of Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture with LG Chem to mass-produce battery cells in Ohio for future battery-electric vehicles, and that GM is working with Qmerit to create a more accessible at-home charging solution.
1 Actual charge times will vary based on battery condition, output of charger, vehicle settings and outside temperature.
While the focus on the electric vehicles have been on the ultra plush and quick models from the likes of Tesla, Audi, and Jaguar, there is a lot of work being done for electric delivery vans. The combination of reduced maintenance, low fuel costs, and an abundance of torque to deal with heavy loads make them a perfect to do deliveries in urban areas. Rivian is the most-well known player here with plans to build out a fleet of electric vans for Amazon. Another player is ready to join the fight.
Reuters reported yesterday that General Motors is working on a electric van for the commercial market. Five sources reveal that the van - codenamed BV1 - is expected to go into production late next year. It is expected to use Ultium battery technology that GM first talked about back in March. Utilizing this could solve one of the big issues with EVs, price. By switching Cobalt (expensive) for Aluminum (less expensive), GM says it will drop the cost of a battery to $100 per kilowatt-hour - making it around the same cost as regular gas powered van. Analysis done last year put the kilowatt-hour cost of a battery at $159.
One item still being debated internally is whether the van will be sold as Chevrolet, GMC, or a new brand.
When asked by Reuters, GM said it is “committed to an all-electric future and is implementing a multi-segment, scalable EV strategy to get there. At this time, we do not have any announcements to make regarding electric commercial vehicles.”
GM isn't the only company getting on the electric van train. Ford has announced plans for an electric version of the Transit to launch in 2022, and British startup Arrival which has the backing of Hyundai, currently has an order of 10,000 vans from UPS.