GM's high-tech heat pump for 10 percent more range

General Motors uses sophisticated technology to give Ultium platform electric cars more range. It uses waste heat and moisture – also from the occupants.

The age of electric mobility is beginning at the General Motors Group - across almost all brands. The GMC Hummer EV is just launching in the US, the Cadillac Lyriq will follow soon, and the EV version of the Chevrolet Silverado (see slideshow), one of the US's best-selling pick-up models, has already been unveiled . What they have in common: They all use the sophisticated Ultium platform, which is something like GM's equivalent of Volkswagen's MEB.

The more electric models that are presented, the more details General Motors reveals about the Ultium kit. For example, with a standard heat pump that can do a little more than the systems usually found in electric cars. It not only uses and stores the waste heat from the battery, power electronics and other drive components to increase the range. But also other heat and moisture inside and outside the car - including that generated by the occupants.

More range or more power

Of course, technology cannot convert heat and moisture directly into electricity and then immediately store it in the battery. Rather, it uses the energy to heat the interior faster in cold weather. Conversely, this means that the air conditioning system, which uses significantly more energy when it has to warm up on its own, draws less power from the battery. This can also be warmed up more efficiently in this way before it is charged. In the maximum case, the system should tease out up to ten percent extra range from the Ultium platform.

But this type of energy recovery, the functionality of which General Motors has protected with eleven patents, is also helpful in the other direction. Namely when it cools the battery pack before it is to be subjected to heavy loads. This is the only way the GMC Hummer EV can accelerate from zero to 60 mph (96.6 km/h) in about three seconds with its "Watts-to-Freedom" function.


In order to optimize the range of electric cars, supposedly small things are also important. In return, the low-waste and therefore particularly efficient e-drive has always had a problem of efficiently air-conditioning the interior and assemblies. In this respect, new developments such as the high-tech heat pump from GM also make their contribution to increasing the suitability for everyday use and thus the acceptance of the drive concept.


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