Lordstown and Lithium. A New GM Constellation is Rising

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Lordstown and Ultium batteries

The first steel goes up during construction at the new Ultium battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio. Ultium Cells, a General Motors joint venture with LG Chem, will mass-produce battery cells for electric vehicles. Click to Enlarge.

General Motors says that workers are now hanging steel at the all-new Ultium battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio. Ultium Cells is a joint venture with LG Chem that will mass-produce Ultium battery cells for electric vehicles and create more than 1,100 new jobs in Northeast Ohio. Since May 2020, ground has been broken and concrete footings have been poured at the facility. Steel construction at Ultium Cells will continue into fall 2020. (Don’t Hold Your Breathe Waiting for the New Hummer EV)

Back in March GM revealed a third-generation global EV platform powered by proprietary “Ultium” batteries. GM claimed it will allow the company to compete for almost every customer in the market today, whether they are looking for affordable transportation, a luxury experience, work trucks or a high-performance machine. A space that is largely occupied by Tesla, which caught all global automakers napping. Covid 19 has complicated launch plans across the industry and timing on such projects is unstable.

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GM says its new Ultium batteries are unique in the industry because the large-format, pouch-style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. This allows engineers to optimize battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design.

Ultium energy options range from 50 to 200 kWh, which could enable a GM-estimated range up to 400 miles or more on a full charge with 0 to 60 mph acceleration as low as 3 seconds. Designed in-house, the new platform will support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and performance all-wheel drive models.

Ultium-powered EVs are designed for Level 2 and DC fast charging. Most will have 400-volt battery packs and up to 200 kW fast-charging capability while the truck platform will have 800-volt battery packs and 350 kW fast-charging capability.

Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick will be launching new EVs starting this year. The next new Chevrolet EV will be a new version of the Bolt EV, launching in late 2020, followed by the 2022 Bolt EUV, launching Summer 2021. The Bolt EUV will be the first vehicle outside of the Cadillac brand to feature Super Cruise, the industry’s first real hands-free driving technology for the highway, which GM will expand to 22 vehicles by 2023, including 10 by next year.

The Cruise Origin, a self-driving, electric shared vehicle, shown to the public in January 2020 in San Francisco, was the first product shown using GM’s third generation EV platform and – marketing babble alert – Ultium batteries. Next will be the Cadillac Lyriq luxury SUV production now 2022. The reveal of the Ultium-powered GMC HUMMER EV will  eventually follow. Production is expected to begin in Fall 2021 at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, GM’s first assembly plant 100% dedicated to EV production.

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