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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interesting write-up about GM's decision in 2017 to go all BEV, get aggressive with autonomous vehicles. The resulting Ultium system of modular battery architecture, drive motors and related software will underpin over 30 new EV's.
  • The modular Ultium battery pack can provide up to 450 miles range on a charge at quarter of the weight and 40% of the cost of GM's previous battery design (the Volt's pack).
  • The modular Ultium Drive front, rear and all wheel electric motors are also part of the new system. Like the Ultium battery, they will be shared across all GM EV's. Ultium Drive debute
  • The modular Ultium Ultifi software is scalable, allowing engineers to apply tweaks for different applications, rather than re-engineering the software from the ground up every time, thus reducing the cost even further.

Jul 24, 2022 “Our time will come,” Barra said during an interview early this year at Detroit’s historic Fox Theater. At the time, GM was unveiling an electric version of its popular Chevrolet Silverado.

The pickup truck is slated to roll out next year, along with electric versions of the Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Blazer. As the company’s first mainstream EVs designed with the Ultium platform, their sales performance will be key in signaling the company’s fate in coming years.

GM executives say the company’s fleet of EVs could position it to overtake Tesla by 2025. So far, the company has announced about half of its 30 EVs planned by then. Nearly all are based on the Ultium platform, and many trace their roots back to the models displayed in the company’s design dome in 2017.

At 5:06 the video discusses how the Ultium Cell will address the concerns about battery availability and replacement both during and after warranty:


 

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"Bet the company" is exactly the way I would describe it. If Ultimum works as the hype claims, GM should do quite well. Then again, it would not take very many bad recall events on batteries, high voltage modules, etc to wipe out the savings from commonality across models.

One again, either the engineers will be heroes or zeroes, marketing will spin it either way, and exec bonuses will go up no matter what.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One again, either the engineers will be heroes or zeroes, marketing will spin it either way, and exec bonuses will go up no matter what.
Not sure what your source is for that.
What I've seen is exec pay is being tied to the EV sales. If they don't sell enough EV's—for whatever reason—exec pay will suffer.
  • General Motors will begin tying a “significant part” of its long-term executive compensation with the company’s electric vehicle goals, CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday.
  • Barra said the compensation targets will include volumes of EVs in North America as well as launch timing and quality for such vehicles.
  • Barra said the new compensation benchmarks are meant to underscore the company’s commitment to EVs.
DETROIT – General Motors will begin tying a “significant part” of its long-term executive compensation with the company’s electric vehicle goals, CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday. Starting this year (2022), Barra said the compensation targets will include volumes of EVs in North America as well as launch timing and quality for such vehicles.

 
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I had forgotten about that announcement. But I don't think I've ever seen any definition of what a "significant part" is, nor whether the compensation plan is set in stone. My guess is if the targets aren't met, they get revised downwards, chucked out, etc. I've seen moves like that before at other companies I've worked for.

Bottom line is if execs aren't getting their pound of flesh where they are, they tend to walk to other places that will line their pockets instead.
 

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I had forgotten about that announcement. But I don't think I've ever seen any definition of what a "significant part" is, nor whether the compensation plan is set in stone. My guess is if the targets aren't met, they get revised downwards, chucked out, etc. I've seen moves like that before at other companies I've worked for.

Bottom line is if execs aren't getting their pound of flesh where they are, they tend to walk to other places that will line their pockets instead.
In this case Mary Barra might be the right person to bring GM into the EV era. Executives who drag their feet will be shunted off to the likes of Toyota, Honda, and Stellantis where gas still reigns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
From another thread:
we're looking at Ultium as a second iteration of that learning. I think other manufacturers will be doing the same kinds of things as Ultium ... in 2028 or something.
On another EV site the writer was saying Ultium is nothing new, others have been doing it before GM. They claim GM is just getting a lot more press because of their marketing. You can't fight GM's marketing prowess, lol.

The only one I can find with something similar is VW's BEV platform.

But what I don't see VW talking about is future maintenance in terms of replacing the bricks, nor the ability to easily swap in bricks based on new battery chemistry. Also, GM is using Ultium across their entire brand portfolio from premium Cadillac to entry Chevy's to BrightDrop commercial vehicles. VW is not making the same claim, indeed, Porsche will not be using MEB. Instead, Porche, Audi and Bentley will use it's own Premium Platform Electric (PPE). Audi will also use MEB for some EV's. So no across the board VW group standardization, though SEAT, Škoda and Volkswagen will use it. Again, no word on whether all EV's from these brands will use MEB or just some.

Then there is the fact that VW is replacing the MEB (Modular Electric Drive Matrix) platform with the SSP (Scalable Systems Platform) starting 2026. VW expects the SSP to be used in 80% of it's EV's by 2030. Why not 100% like GM? IDK.

GM seems to have learned something about taking longer term maintenance and upgradeability into account based on it's Volt experience. VW doesn't seem to be talking about it as much. Maybe they are just not as good at marketing...

 

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And MEB is a common platform of motor(s) and controller modules. Which is great. And it does use modules. But ID.3 and ID.4 already use different modules. Same KWH, but different configurations of cells and thus different voltages and they're not interchangeable.
 

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when all the tesla batteries go bad and there is no way of fixing it cheap, is when gm and their replaceable system will move ahead, that will feed the secondhand group of people and part sales
This assumes GM does this right and ensures ultium batteries can be replaced in modules.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This assumes GM does this right and ensures ultium batteries can be replaced in modules.
? Even though the battery pack was designed specifically to enable this, somehow the bricks won't be replaceable because
a) the dealer won't have a 10mm wrench or
b) the bricks won't fit because the plants are cranking them out at the wrong size?

I'm just not sure what would make the bricks not replaceable.
:)
 
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Steverino,

I agree, If history has taught us anything the only accurate prediction is that the future will be somewhat unpredictable today. Things are changing so fast it's really hard to say in a hundred years that we will still be driving personal cars or own single family residences, who knows for sure.

Stephen

? Even though the battery pack was designed specifically to enable this, somehow the bricks won't be replaceable because
a) the dealer won't have a 10mm wrench or
b) the bricks won't fit because the plants are cranking them out at the wrong size?

I'm just not sure what would make the bricks not replaceable.
:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Steverino,

I agree, If history has taught us anything the only accurate prediction is that the future will be somewhat unpredictable today. Things are changing so fast it's really hard to say in a hundred years that we will still be driving personal cars or own single family residences, who knows for sure.

Stephen
Of course the Ultium battery's are not a far out future conjecture. The first Ultium vehicles started shipping late last year. The first of 4 Ultium megafactories is open and producing Ultium bricks. So I don't understand the doubt/concern about whether the bricks are replaceable.
 

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Of course the Ultium battery's are not a far out future conjecture. The first Ultium vehicles started shipping late last year. The first of 4 Ultium megafactories is open and producing Ultium bricks. So I don't understand the doubt/concern about whether the bricks are replaceable.
I really think this will be dependent on the vehicle design. It may be that the vehicle design is such that you can't easily replace a single battery module. Based on what Sandy Monroe has published about the Tesla "structural battery pack", I'm hoping GM doesn't go this route.
 

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Of course the Ultium batteries are not a far out future conjecture. The first Ultium vehicles started shipping late last year. The first of 4 Ultium megafactories is open and producing Ultium bricks. So I don't understand the doubt/concern about whether the bricks are replaceable.
I'm a big fan of everything I've heard about Ultium, but I'm a skeptical type. Marketing is important and what I've seen of GM's Ultium marketing has been good. The proof is in the implementation though. Apologies for stating the obvious, as proof is always in the implementation. However, it seems to me that we won't really see whether the implementation of Ultium is successful from the customer's standpoint until we see affordable out-of-warranty battery repairs/upgrades. Maybe we'll have a chance to see this within a few years, from those who attempt to rebuild wrecked Ultium EV's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I really think this will be dependent on the vehicle design. It may be that the vehicle design is such that you can't easily replace a single battery module. Based on what Monroe has published about the Tesla "structural battery pack", I'm hoping GM doesn't go this route.
The design is a box that holds all the battery bricks. You put the car on a lift, unbolt and lower the battery pack, take off the cover, remove the brick, install a new brick, etc.

The battery pack "box" size may change from vehicle to vehicle but the process is the same whether dropping the pack from a Volt, Bolt, Hummer, Equinox, Blazer, Cadillac, etc. That seems standard for most if not all EV's out there or soon to be released. IOW, there is nothing in the way (drive axle, etc.) of lowering the pack. The Ultium's frame/box/enclosure is also structural, but not like Tesla's approach where the entire pack is essentially sealed, no replaceable parts. For Tesla, the smallest replaceable component is the entire battery pack.

Hummer EV pack example
Wood Rectangle Gas Sky Automotive exterior


Cover removed
Rectangle Bumper Automotive exterior Gas Automotive wheel system


Replaceable brick
Gas Rectangle Composite material Engineering Roof
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
divide that by 24, works out to 900.00 per module more or less
Plus labor. One member just paid a dealer $1260/hr to replace the 12V battery.
 
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Plus labor. One member just paid a dealer $1260/hr to replace the 12V battery.
It will be interesting to see what the labor charge will be to drop the battery and change a module. Seems likely that, at least early-on, service will be dealership only. For Ultium to really pay of on the consumer end, we'll need the possibility of independent and even DIY service. [insert standard electrocution warning here]
 
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