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.

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