Hummer gets smarter
Heat pump tech helps eHummer go further
General Motors will use its proprietary technology to extend the range of its new electric Hummer, demonstrating the benefit of starting from scratch in EV platform design.
While other manufacturers and even other GM brands go with a ‘right now’ approach and adapt existing vehicles to accept electric drive systems, Hummer has opted for the more expensive and timeconsuming approach of creating its new vehicle from a bespoke EV platform called Ultium.
This, the company says, means it can take advantage of many engineering freedoms in the ongoing development of eHummers.
The new heat pump array captures waste heat from the powertrain, ambient humidity in and around the vehicle and even the occupants themselves to make their vehicles go farther on one charge.
“Having the Ultium architecture gives us the freedom to build in standard features like energy recovery,” said Doug Parks, GM executive vice president for global product development, purchasing, and supply chain.
“This helps us squeeze more efficiency, performance and overall customer benefit out of our EVs.”
The Ultium platform can recover the heat generated by the power electronics and other propulsion components to make the vehicle go farther. It can even capture and reuse humidity from both inside and outside the vehicle, as well as body heat from passengers to this end.
The latter is used more to make the cabin heating system more efficient than it is in traditional vehicles but does reduce the load on the electronics in the vehicle. That enables it to go as much as 10 percent further per charge. It can also allow the vehicle to charge faster by preconditioning the battery. The energy recovery system helps precool the propulsion system and enables the massive vehicle to hit 100 km/h in just three seconds.
The functions are covered by 11 patents and four publications that actually trace their history to the earliest days of modern EVs, when the company developed its first EV heat pump. These efficiency systems are available on all current Ultium vehicles and will be available on future vehicles based on the platform including the Chevrolet Silverado EV.