GM says it will lead design, development and manufacturing of next-generation EV drive units and motors
Ultium Drive combines electric motors and single-speed transmissions and will lead the design and development of a modular architecture. GM says it will save on vehicle design and production costs by developing Ultium Drive alongside its next generation of EVs, leveraging internal expertise to improve efficiency and fit drive units and motors into future vehicles.
“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.”
Most of the Ultium Drive components, including castings, gears and assemblies, will be built with globally sourced parts at the OEM’s existing global propulsion facilities on shared, flexible assembly lines, allowing the company to more quickly ramp up its EV production, achieve economies of scale and adjust its production mix to match market demand.
Ken Morris, GM vice president, Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Programs noted “Making motors, transmissions, driveline components and systems are among GM’s best-known competencies, and our manufacturing expertise is proving not only transferable but advantageous as we make the transition to EVs.”
The Ultium Drive family will cover front and rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive propulsion combinations, including high-performance and off-road capabilities. These drive units will help GM migrate high-output segments like pickup trucks and performance vehicles to all-electric propulsion, and along with the company’s wireless battery management system, this consolidation of parts and features will make it easier to scale Ultium Drive across its future EV lineup.