Archive for the ‘General Motors’ Category

Will Ferrell and GM want to prank Norway with pizza, but why?

February 11th, 2021
GM and Will Ferrell took a Cadillac Lyriq EV to Sweden to highlight the fact that Norway buys more electric vehicles per capita than the US.

Enlarge / GM and Will Ferrell took a Cadillac Lyriq EV to Sweden to highlight the fact that Norway buys more electric vehicles per capita than the US. (credit: General Motors)

Although a bunch of automakers chose to sit out 2021, General Motors still saw value in advertising during this year's Super Bowl. The automaker used the event to promote its electric vehicle aspirations, which include plans to have an all-electric lineup by 2035.

This project will be propelled by a new platform called Ultium and will start with next year's Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV. But you wouldn't know that from the ad campaign—at least not at first. Instead, we learn that Will Ferrell is really angry with Norway, and he wants to prank the nation of more than five million by sending them all anchovy pizzas.

The cause of this rage? Norway is doing better at EV adoption than the US. Much better, in fact, as 54 percent of all new vehicles sold in the Scandinavian country in 2020 were electric. Here in the US, plug-in vehicles accounted for a mere 2.2 percent of the 14.6 million new cars and trucks sold last year (although in absolute numbers, the US still bought about three times as many EVs as Norway).

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Posted in Audi, cars, climate change, Electric vehicles, EVs, Ford, General Motors, Norway, plug-ins, Super Bowl | Comments (0)

A silicon chip shortage is causing automakers to idle their factories

February 4th, 2021
A silicon chip shortage is causing automakers to idle their factories

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

You may have noticed that it's difficult to get a hold of new high-end graphics cards and game consoles these days. In large part, that's due to an ongoing global shortage affecting semiconductor foundries. As it turns out, the problem is even more pronounced in the auto industry. In fact, it's getting so bad that a number of OEMs, including Ford and General Motors, have had to go as far as idling shifts and even entire factories.

Ford had to stop production in Kentucky in December of 2020, and in January, it ordered a month-long pause at a German factory. Stellantis (the new company formed by a merger between Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot) reduced output at factories in the US, Mexico, and Canada around the same time. As did Audi, which had to idle 10,000 employees in Germany, CEO Markus Duesmann telling the Financial Times that the problem involved "a very long chain with different supply levels on the components that we are short." Subaru's Gunma factory in Japan has been affected. Production of Toyota's Texas-produced Tundra has, too.

This week, more hits keep coming. Mazda just announced it might have to cut output by 34,000 units this year due to a lack of chips. Nissan's truck factory in Mississippi has reduced its hours. And on Wednesday, GM said it will halt production at factories in Kansas, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea. In many cases, the automakers are trying to prioritize their more in-demand products, but as some of those closures show, that isn't always possible.

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Posted in Audi, auto industry, BMW, cars, chip shortage, Ford, foundries, General Motors, mazda, semiconductors, Stellantis, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

General Motors’ new climate policy says EVs-only by 2035—we think

January 28th, 2021
General Motors’ new climate policy says EVs-only by 2035—we think

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Around the world, governments are starting to discuss, or even schedule, banning the sale of new vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Here in the United States, as is often the case, we may well have to wait for private industry to move first, thanks to the sclerotic nature of US politics, particularly when it comes to climate change. This week, such a move happened, and from an unlikely source.

On Thursday, General Motors Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra announced a new climate pledge. The nation's largest automaker says it will become carbon neutral across its global operations by 2040, which it will achieve through "science-based targets." GM has also now signed a pledge by businesses to try to keep global warming to 1.5˚C. That's a remarkable change for an automaker that until very recently supported the previous administration's plan to make US market cars less fuel efficient.

Making this happen will require GM to transition its vehicle portfolio to battery electric vehicles, as well as other hydrogen fuel cell EVs. In fact, the company says it has "an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035."

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Posted in cars, climate change, Electric vehicles, General Motors | Comments (0)

FedEx will be the first customer for GM’s new electric delivery van

January 12th, 2021

On Tuesday morning, General Motors Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra announced a new business for the company during her keynote speech at this year's all-virtual CES. It's called BrightDrop, and the goal is to provide a range of electrified products for the logistics and delivery industries.

"We are building on our significant expertise in electrification, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, with a new one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to move goods in a better, more sustainable way," Barra said.

BrightDrop's first product is called the EP1, and it's a pallet with an electric propulsion assist meant to transport things short distances, such as from a delivery van to the customer's door, at speeds of up to 3mph (5km/h). The EP1 can carry up to 200lbs (91kg) and about 23 cubic feet (651L) of cargo, with adjustable shelves and lockable cabinet doors. GM says the EP1 will be available early this year.

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Posted in BrightDrop, cars, CES 2021, electric pallet, electric van, EP1, EV600, General Motors | Comments (0)

This is GM’s new series of Ultium Drive electric motors

September 17th, 2020

It might be too early to say that the auto industry is undergoing a great electrification. But more and more automakers are headed in that direction as product pipelines swell, with new battery-electric vehicles arriving over the next few years. Take General Motors—it plans to bring 22 new BEVs to market between now and 2023, starting with a reborn GMC Hummer to be debuted later this September. To make matters simpler, GM is standardizing the components it will use to build what promises to be a wide variety of vehicles.

We already learned a little about GM's modular Ultium battery packs, which it claims will break the $100/kWh barrier "early in the platform's life." As the reveal of the Hummer approaches, the company is opening up about other aspects of its new BEV brigade. And this week it was time for motors to take to the stage. GM has developed a new family of modular drive units called Ultium Drive that it will mix and match in cars, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks.

In total, there are five drive units, each of which integrates the power electronics as well as the electric motors. There are drive units for front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and an assist all-wheel drive unit, and then a pair of drive units for trucks. One of these can be used for the front or rear axle, while the other is a dual motor drive unit for rear axles. And inside each drive unit is one of three electric motors in the Ultium Drive family: a permanent magnet primary front-wheel drive motor, a permanent magnet primary drive motor that's happy in either front- or rear-wheel drive configurations, and a smaller induction magnet assist motor.

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Posted in battery electric vehicle, cars, electric motor, General Motors, Ultium | Comments (0)

General Motors will engineer and build Nikola’s hydrogen pickup

September 8th, 2020
The Nikola Badger.

Enlarge / The Nikola Badger. (credit: Nikola Motors)

On Tuesday morning, General Motors announced that it was entering into a partnership with Nikola Motor Company, the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) startup. For its part, Nikola is bringing $2 billion to the table in the form of newly issued stock, an 11 percent share in the company. In return, it appears GM will do pretty much everything else—engineering, homologating, validating, and manufacturing battery EV and FCEV variants of the Nikola Badger pickup truck.

"This strategic partnership with Nikola, an industry leading disrupter, continues the broader deployment of General Motors’ all-new Ultium battery and Hydrotec fuel cell systems. We are growing our presence in multiple high-volume EV segments while building scale to lower battery and fuel cell costs and increase profitability," said General Motors chairperson and CEO Mary Barra in a statement.

"Nikola is one of the most innovative companies in the world. General Motors is one of the top engineering and manufacturing companies in the world. You couldn’t dream of a better partnership than this,” said Trevor Milton, founder and CEO of Nikola.

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Posted in cars, FCEV, General Motors, GM, hydrogen fuel cell, Nikola, Nikola Corporation, Ultium | Comments (0)

Cadillac reveals the Lyriq, its new long-range electric SUV

August 6th, 2020

On Thursday night, Cadillac unveiled a new SUV, the Lyriq. It's the brand's first battery electric vehicle, and the first vehicle to use General Motors' new BEV3 platform and Ultium battery technology, which is set to spawn 22 new BEVs across the company's range of brands between now and 2023. Cadillac isn't spilling all the beans about the Lyriq just yet, but it did share some info with Ars ahead of the livestream launch. The headline figures are a range of "beyond 300 miles" (482km) on a single charge, DC fast charging at "over 150kW", and the fact that it will come in rear- and all-wheel drive configurations.

Additionally, it's going to feature a massive 33-inch display on the dashboard that combines the main instrument panel and the infotainment system, a dual-plane augmented reality heads-up display (that features information like vehicle speed on a close plane, and navigation directions on a far plane), and advanced driver assistance systems including the latest version of Super Cruise and the ability to remotely park itself.

Recently, I spoke with Michael Harpster, global chief engineer for electric and hybrid propulsion systems at GM, to find out a bit more about the new BEV3 platform and the lessons that GM has learned from its previous vehicles like the EV1 and Chevrolet Bolt EV. "We were doing the math, and you know, we've got 25 years of production EV experience, going back to the EV1. So, there's a huge history of General Motors and electric vehicles," he told me, adding that his team at GM still includes a couple of engineers who worked directly on the EV1, which was in production between 1996 and 1999.

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Posted in BEV3, cadillac, Cadillac Lyriq, Cadillac Super Cruise, cars, General Motors, Ultium | Comments (0)

GM teams up with EVgo to deploy more than 2,700 new DC fast chargers

July 31st, 2020
Two masked, socially distanced people charge their electric cars.

Enlarge / The new EVgo stations will be available to drivers starting in early 2021 and located in cities and suburbs. The chargers will be powered 100 percent by renewable energy and located in highly visible areas. (credit: General Motors)

On Friday, General Motors and the electric vehicle charging company EVgo announced they are partnering to beef up the nation's DC fast charging infrastructure. The plan is to deploy more than 2,700 DC fast chargers, capable of charging at 100-350kW, with at least four chargers per station. The rollout will begin in 2021 and should be complete by 2025.

GM is about to put into production a new battery EV architecture called BEV3 and a new battery pack design called Ultium. The company also has plans for multiple new BEVs built on these flexible underpinnings.

The first of these will be an SUV, the Cadillac Lyriq, which is being officially unveiled on August 7; next after that should be an electric GMC Hummer, which may well pack a 200kWh battery and an 800V architecture (which would therefore benefit from a 350kW charger).

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Posted in cars, DC fast charging, EV charging, EVgo, General Motors | Comments (0)

GM makes cars; how did it quickly pivot to face shields and ventilators?

June 18th, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us work, and that is certainly true for General Motors. The nation's largest automaker might not be selling nearly as many cars as it hoped and has even pushed back some of its product releases (like a refreshed Bolt EV), but it's been plenty busy. The company has switched gears and is using its resources and expertise to build ventilators and personal protective equipment like face shields to supply the healthcare sector. As it turns out, General Motors' investment in additive manufacturing—3D printing to you and me—has played a big role in getting that effort up and running quickly.

GM is no stranger to 3D printing, having first dipped a toe into the world of additive manufacturing back in the late 1980s. These days, as the technology has matured, GM mostly uses it for rapid prototyping and testing new parts. But it has also been invaluable in making medical supplies.

"The ventilators maybe got a lot of the headlines here," explained Kevin Quinn, GM's director of additive design and manufacturing. But there was also Project O, "as in 'other,' like everything else, right? What else could we do to help support the frontline and support the healthcare workers as they were really battling this tooth and nail every day? And that was where the face shields, the ear savers, some of these other projects were born," he told me.

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Posted in 3D printing, additive manufacturing, cars, COVID-19, General Motors, Medical Equipment, NI, ventilators | Comments (0)

These streamliners are the world’s most aerodynamic cars

May 8th, 2020

With no car launches to work on thanks to COVID-19, some automakers' press offices are filling the gap by digging into the archives to share interesting stuff with the rest of us. On Thursday, Volkswagen North America reached out to tell us about the company's most aerodynamic car ever. It was called the Aerodynamic Research Volkswagen, and it was built in 1980 as a demonstration of how to make a vehicle as slippery as possible, with a drag coefficient (Cd) of just 0.15. Powered by a 177hp (132kW) 2.4L inline-six cylinder engine, the ARVW reached a speed of 225mph (362km/h) at the Nardo test track in southern Italy. But the ARVW isn't the lowest-drag vehicle ever built, just the lowest-drag VW. So what is the most aerodynamic car of all time?

Production cars

When Tesla revealed its Model 3 sedan a few years ago, it was justifiably proud of the car's Cd of 0.23, which bettered the Models S and X by 0.01. Tesla didn't optimize the Model 3's aerodynamics just for bragging rights. The lower a car's drag, the further it can go per unit of energy because it doesn't have to work as hard to push its way through the air. However, a Model 3 is only this slippery through the air when the car's 18-inch wheels are fitted with the aero wheel covers, something Car and Driver put to the test late last year. (If you're a Model 3 owner and into hypermiling, you can cut your car's drag—and thereby boost its range—even further by fitting aftermarket front- and rear spoilers.)

But the Model 3 isn't the lowest-drag car to have gone into production. Porsche's Taycan battery EV bested Tesla's best when it went on sale last year. Both the Taycan Turbo and Taycan 4S manage a Cd of 0.22, although again, only with the most aerodynamic wheels fitted. The Taycan Turbo S uses a different design and in the wind tunnel, that adds 0.03 to the Cd.

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Posted in aerodynamics, BMW, cars, Delft, drag coefficient, Eco-car, Ford, General Motors, JCB Dieselmax, Lightyear, Mercedes-Benz, Panhard, porsche, Porsche Taycan, Streamlined cars, Tesla, tesla model 3, Volkswagen | Comments (0)