GM looks to evade battery quality issues (fires) seen in the Chevy Bolt before launch of the all-new GMC Hummer EV and other future Ultium-powered vehicles that are in the works.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV, the only electric vehicle from General Motors since the GM EV1 and Chevrolet S-10 EV from the late 1900s, was championed as a game-changing mode of transportation when it first went on sale for the 2016 model year. Fast forward to 2021, and the Bolt has proven to be a headache due to some costly battery malfunctions, so much so that it has had to recall every single one of them since 2016, having to replace or repair the battery in each.
Those recalls are expected to cost the company close to $2 billion USD according to CNBC. Observing this nightmare of a situation, GM looks to do everything it can to sidestep this quality disaster as it promises to go full-electric in the coming years, ushered by the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq SUV.
It’s imperative to distinguish that the upcoming GMC Hummer EV pickup truck and SUV batteries have little to nothing in common with the battery packs of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, but they do share the same battery supplier in LG Chem.
Not Looking To Repeat Mistakes
GM CFO Paul Jacobson has mentioned the company is going outside their own realm to ensure everything is being done right to provide safety and optimal operation of their new power system. They have established quality control over the manufacturing process in an effort to clean things up as well as constructing a new U.S. based battery cell plant in Ohio called Ultium Cells in Lordstown, Ohio. This new facility stands as a collaborative effort with the battery manufacturer LG Chem (based out of South Korea). This plant will be the first of many to come to the United States from the strategic partnership.
“We work every day to make sure that what we’re doing is validated and tested,” CEO of GM Mary Barra said in an interview on CNBC. Ultium is a new power system and as a customer every precaution is expected to be taken. In addition to quality control refinements and moving factories to the U.S. GM is also establishing wireless monitoring systems to alert GM of potential issues 24/7 and will be able to correct those issues sooner, hopefully without the pitfalls seen in the Chevy Bolt. The Battery monitoring will be standard on all of General Motors electric vehicles in the future, including the Hummer EV.
The 2022 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 is expected to begin production at the end of 2021 at the GM Factory Zero plant in Detroit, Michigan.