Flat, Stackable EV Batteries are the Winning Formula

Four Ways Our Flat Ultium Battery Technology is Powering Our Vision of an All-Electric Future

GM’s commitment to an all-electric future has not skipped a beat, despite the global disruption of COVID-19. We’ve continued to innovate through the pandemic at a rapid pace, already announcing an update to our Ultium battery system just eight months after its reveal. Advancements will include more energy density, lowered projected costs and increased range. Production for products such as the Cruise Origin, GMC HUMMER EV and Cadillac LYRIQ, as well as site prep for our new battery cell assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, also remain on track and are progressing quickly.

This steadfast dedication to electric vehicle development remains important because we understand that EVs are paving the way for more than just a sustainable future. Offering cutting-edge performance technology and lower maintenance costs, they’re also exhilarating to drive and practical to own.

But not all EVs are created equal – it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Which is why we meticulously designed the Ultium battery to power our all-electric future. Sitting beneath the floor of our next-generation EVs, this battery module is made up of flat cell pouches that can be stacked to meet the unique needs of every driver – all while improving efficiency, power and range.

Looking to learn more about what’s inside an electric vehicle? Before you get behind the wheel, here are four things you need to know about our revolutionary battery technology.

Battery Design1

FACT: Unlike traditional cylindrical battery cells, our high-energy pouch cells have a flat shape.

Does shape really matter? Yes! Ultium’s flat cell pouches waste less space and can stack on top of each other like pancakes or vertically like slices of toast. This simple modular design makes it easy for engineers to optimize energy density and vehicle layout, which translates to more miles on a single charge for less cost.

Tell me more:

  • Our Ultium cells pack a punch! It would take 20 small cylindrical can cells (the ones our competitors use) to produce the power of one Ultium large-format 100 amp-hour cell. Our Ultium cells are so robust, they can electrically and physically support EVs of every shape and size.

  • Our battery options scale from 50 kilowatt hours to over 200 kWh, which will enable a GM-estimated range of 400 miles or more on a full charge.

Stackable Batteries2

FACT: Stacking battery pouch cells enables flexible engineering…and a more comfortable ride!

More details please!

  • We’ll engineer some of America’s most popular vehicles (think trucks, SUVs and crossovers) with vertically-stacked cells – like toast, whereas performance vehicles, which are deeply embedded in our DNA, may include horizontally-stacked cells – like pancakes. Thanks to Ultium’s flat pouch cell design, we will easily accommodate a wide range of EVs, no matter what size or capability.

  • To save even more space, the battery’s electronic components will be embedded within the modules, eliminating 80 percent of the battery pack wiring compared to today’s batteries.

  • We reduced the height of the battery module underneath the second row, which will not only give second-row passengers a more comfortable ride, but also adds 22 kWh of energy storage in this space.

Chemical Makeup3

FACT: GM is committed to making economical and ethical investments in batteries to power EVs you love to drive.

Please explain:

  • Our Ultium battery cells feature a state-of-the-art Nickel Cobalt Manganese Aluminum (NCMA) chemistry, which was designed to reduce the cobalt content in our batteries by more than 70 percent.

  • We’re continuing to push the limits of ethical sourcing of high-quality raw materials, while also reducing cost, focusing on sourcing as much material as possible from North America.

  • As part of our joint venture, we’re working with LG Chem to combine manufacturing and electrochemical expertise to manufacture Ultium pouch cells at a new plant in Ohio, Ultium Cells LLC. Since May 2020, ground has been broken, steel construction has begun, and the site prep is on target for completion. At the facility, we will have 30 gigawatt hours of capacity and will allow in-house battery manufacturing, which will be critical to making EVs more affordable for every driver.

Future of Electric Vehicles4

FACT: Thanks to flexible battery technology, you can own and drive an EV that’s tailored to fit your needs.

How so?

  • Ultium packs are flexible enough to contain multiple combinations of modules to custom-tailor energy and range requirements, allowing us to deliver EV models for Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC products.

  • Our battery packs can house six, eight, 10, 12 or up to 24 modules depending on what the vehicle type requires.

  • This ultimately allows for more freedom in the product design process. With fewer moving parts and no need to design around gas tanks, engines, radiators or exhaust pipes, our Ultium battery packs can be arranged to optimize height and length of the vehicle for aerodynamics, aesthetics, comfort, drive feel and storage.
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