GM likes to give us tidbits about its Ultium platform from time to time, and today it’s telling us about the platform’s ability to capture waste heat from the propulsion system. In addition to capturing from the propulsion system, it can also capture humidity from both inside and outside the vehicle and even from passengers’ body heat. Yes, you, your family and/or your friends are a usable heat source as far as GM EVs are concerned. It then deploys the heat in an advantageous way. If at this point, you’re screaming, “Heat pump!” you’d be right. We’re talking about an elaborate heat pump system that GM is using for its Ultium-based vehicles.
Every Ultium-based GM vehicle gets this system that is covered by 11 patents and four publications. The waste heat it collects is used in a number of ways, but its primary use is to heat the cabin quickly and efficiently. GM claims it can heat the cabin of its Ultium-based vehicles quicker than vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines. Plus, when put to use, GM claims that using the heat pump provides its EVs with up to 10% more range than they’d have without.
Beyond heating the cabin, the heat pump is capable of putting waste heat to use by preheating the battery prior to charging so that you can charge quicker. The system can even cool the propulsion system in preparation for Watts to Freedom (WTF) launch control starts. GM says this was vital in helping the Hummer EV achieve its bonkers 0-60 mph time of about 3 seconds.
“Having a ground-up EV architecture gives us the freedom to build in standard features like Ultium’s energy recovery capabilities,” said Doug Parks, GM executive VP of global product development, purchasing and supply chain. “This helps us squeeze more efficiency, performance and overall customer benefit out of our EVs.”
GM says it’s been developing heat pump technology since the EV1 and its heat pump. This is the modern evolution of that technology, and GM says it’s going to be implemented in every Ultium-based vehicle as a standard feature.