A Hummer battery that pushes the envelope


General Motors’ proprietary Ultium battery will raise the stakes for electric vehicle driving range when it begins appearing on the planned GMC Hummer EV. The new design, to be manufactured through a $2.3 billion joint venture with LG Chem, will allow for a range of up to 400 miles on a full charge — about 50 percent more than the 259-mile range for the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt.

The Hummer, expected to go into production in fall 2021, will be the first vehicle to use the new technology. Ultium has 60 percent more power than the batteries in the current Bolt, GM said.

The batteries have large-format, stackable pouch-style cells for more flexibility and optimal battery energy storage. They are made of a traditional nickel-cobalt-manganese combination, but GM also added aluminum, which allowed it to reduce the amount of costly cobalt by 70 percent.

“By having a stake in the entire process, we can optimize everything from the chemistry and the manufacturing of the cells up to how we put it into modules, packs and vehicles,” said Andy Oury, lead architect and strategy manager for GM’s high-voltage battery packs. “We will beat the $100-per-kilowatt-hour cost target. We are nowhere near the bottom of the battery cost curve.”

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