Engineers in New Zealand were happy to report the chassis, suspension, and drivetrain have surpassed all expectations, so now it's time to dial-in the rest to meet their deadline of production-ready for Spring 2022.
Aside from the new Corvette Z06, GM is burning candles at both ends to give us an electric future. A fleet of upcoming Cadillac Lyriqs are being tested to destruction at several spots around the world. Because cold weather stresses all types of batteries, a team in New Zealand made use of their Winter Weather in August to push the limits of all systems. Now that we’re getting cooler, development teams in the U.S. have realized 80% of the production model.
President Biden was recently on-hand to celebrate the opening of Factory Zero in Detroit. One of GM’s oldest plants was razed and rebuilt to foster innovation while exclusively building the new Ultium chassis. This modular approach makes use of one to three electric motors and a dozen battery units arranged like building blocks. Nothing can be left to chance, and that is why our first Ultium models will be the flagship of their brand. For GMC it will be the return of the Hummer with pickup and SUV body styles. Chevrolet will have an electric Silverado on the same chassis, while Cadillac aims to begin production on the Lyriq by the end of Q1.
The first examples will be the Debut Edition. Packing all the luxury and safety features as standard equipment, it will offer a range of 300 miles from a 100.4 kWh battery. Strictly RWD, it will offer 340 horsepower and 325 lb-ft (441 Nm) of torque to a competent chassis. Both front and rear suspensions are 5-link designs that offer ample room for wide rubber and rear-steering. By mounting the battery modules as low as possible, it will also be fun in the corners.
Now that cold weather testing has met all objectives, the engineers are on the downhill stretch. This means developing infotainment and controls that are worthy of changing the world. GM hasn’t had the best fit & finish inside since before color television. That’s why Executive Chief Engineer Jamie Brewer said, “we are remaining true to our brand promise by placing high priority on meticulous craftsmanship and intuitive integrated technologies.”
This places great value on building a comprehensive experience for the driver and passengers. Tuning the interactions and feedback from every system is being done in-car and in the virtual realm. Engineers are working behind locked doors to flush out any quirks or software glitches while the batteries send power to a dyno. Working the entire car in stressful conditions no longer needs to be done in the real world.
While this might seem to be overkill to engineer a new luxury crossover, one must realize that Ultium is the foundation for everything in GM’s immediate future. Their goal is still to have 30 new global electric models by the end of 2025, so this is how it will be done: Choose from Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac or GMC. Choose from one, two, or three electric motors. How much battery do you need? Do you want air suspension, coil springs, magnetic ride control, or rear steering? Would you like Super Cruise or Ultra Cruise for hands-free driving? This matrix of possibilities offers them the ability to package systems in hefty option packages to placate the dealers.
Perhaps one of the best takaways from this press release is their charging abilities. When you have access to high-voltage DC, these new GM models make use of 190 kW onboard chargers. This translates to 76 miles of range in 10 minutes, or just enough time to ponder cooking vs fast food. A round of applause for engineers who won’t rest until we get our hands on a new Lyriq. Until then, stay with us for all your EV news.