In the age of long-lasting, energy-efficient LED lighting, wind farms, and power-saving home appliances, it’s far from just new passenger cars that are driving the growing demand for green technology. That spells opportunity for automakers like GM, whose Ultium EV battery technology could have numerous applications beyond powering the next generation of Chevrolet- and Cadillac-branded battery-electric vehicles.
Get ready to see GM’s Ultium EV technology make its way into plenty of unexpected places.
This month, General Motors announced a push to begin introducing an array of electrified systems and components to a diverse set of commercial customers, from marine propulsion brands to manufacturers of airport ground support equipment. Imagine having a pure-electric motor boat that shares its Ultium battery cells with your new Chevrolet Silverado EV, or boarding a plane loaded by a baggage tractor with an Ultium powertrain not entirely dissimilar from that in the GMC Hummer EV. That’s the sort of future GM is envisioning.
And for good reason: by 2030, GM estimates that the total market for electrification components could reach nearly $20 billion. The automaker is getting a jumpstart on capturing its slice of the market by working with Powertrain Control Solutions to introduce GM EV tech to Textron Ground Support Equipment’s line of baggage tractors, cargo tractors, and belt loaders, used at countless airports globally. Additionally, GM is working with its existing marine propulsion customers to support a switch to electric boat propulsion, and has even invested in Seattle-based Pure Watercraft to develop and market battery-electric watercraft. Meanwhile, GM Powered Solutions is working to launch tailored electric propulsion component sets for use in marine, on-highway, off-highway, and industrial applications.
Naturally, GM’s push to open up its Ultium EV technology to more applications also includes some ambitious plans when it comes to Chevrolet Performance. The upcoming Electric Connect & Cruise eCrate Package announced in October of 2020 will provide collectors and enthusiasts with everything they need to convert their classic performance vehicles over to a pure-electric powertrain, with the chance to have all the hard work done by GM’s Electric Specialty Vehicle Modifier (eSVM) network of qualified installers. General Motors has already introduced us to some tantalizing proof-of-concept vehicles, like its electric-converted E-10 pickup, the K-5 Blazer-E, eCOPO Camaro, and the Project X 1957 Chevy. Well-known and trusted GM performance tuner Lingenfelter Performance Engineering later carried out the first independent install of the eCrate package on a 1972 Chevrolet El Camino SS, first shown at the 2021 Performance Racing Industry Show in October, ahead of the program’s launch next year.
“As companies across many industries look to reduce their environmental impact, GM is uniquely positioned to serve as a leader not only through exciting new EVs across our brands, but through additional technology applications, and we look forward to bringing customers – existing and new – along with us on our zero-emissions journey,” said GM’s Vice President of Electric Vehicle Growth Operations, Travis Hester, in a release. “Our customers will benefit from GM’s vast network of resources, support and experience as an innovator in the electrification space.”