GM (along with subsidiary Chevrolet) showed up in Las Vegas this week with a few big announcements around what it’s calling the “Ultium Effect”. But picking up right where it left off at CES last year, GM came out with a flying car concept as part of this whole Ultium Effect thing.
“Ultium Effect”. That’s a nice phrase – but what does it mean?
Well, it’s a catch-all message that GM is using to talk about its move from being an automaker to a platform innovator. This involves the shift to electric cars, but also a few other cool concept cars, one of which flies.
Yep, GM is thinking of flying cars with Cadillac’s InnerSpace Halo Autonomous concept, again. It’s a very Blade Runner-looking car, with a second concept car revealed to offer a luxury autonomous driving experience without the flying capabilities. Spacey, but just remember these are still just concepts. The idea is to avoid congestion and traffic, which is a humble idea, but, you know.
“We are witnessing what’s possible when innovators and problem solvers embrace the opportunity to change the world, knowing they have the tools and technology to do precisely that,” says Deborah Wahl, GM’s global chief marketing officer.
“GM is redefining how people and goods are moved. Our commitment to a vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion has positioned us to lead. As we implement our growth strategy, we have an opportunity and, frankly, an obligation to create a better future for generations to come. That’s the Ultium Effect.”
GM’s CES 2022 presentation revolved around the Ultium battery platform, which is set to power GM’s EVs for years to come. This battery platform supports front, rear and all-wheel drive vehicles, with energy ranging from 50 kWh to more than 200 kWh. GM says some vehicles could reach up to 482 kilometres on a full charge at 0 to 95 kmh in as little as three seconds. That’s fast.
For now though, GM has made official a range of electric cars, set to hit the road over the next three years. These include the Chevrolet Silverado, the Chevrolet Equinox EV and the Chevrolet Blazer EV. These giant cars are set to jump-start GM’s shift into the electric car market. Let’s start with the Chevrolet Silverado EV.
The Chevrolet Silverado EV
The Chevrolet Silverado EV is packed with an expected 643 kilometres of range, bumping up to be one of the most high-range EVs on the market. It’s a huge car, following American pickup truck designs more than anything else, expected to release alongside other vehicles in the Silverado line and not replace them just yet. This GM car doesn’t fly, but it is an impressive ute.
The Chevrolet Silverado EV looks the part, with LED lights across the front of the vehicle, illuminating the Chevvy badge. Internally, it features a completely different platform to more traditional Silverado’s, including battery packs across the bottom of the vehicle (under the floor). It also features 780 pound-feet of torque and up to 664 horsepower, capable of towing up to 4535 kilograms and up to 589 kilograms of cargo.
Supposedly more versions of the Chevrolet Silverado EV with greater power will be available in the future, but we’ll just have to wait and see. The Silverado EV is expected to release in 2024, with Australian availability to be confirmed. Pricing for the initial “World Truck” model (intended for fleet customers) is currently expected to start at $US40,000, so about $55,390 in Australia, plus Australia tax, ofc. The full Silverado EV version is expected to cost over $100,000 in any currency.
The Chevrolet Equinox EV
Next up is the Chevrolet Equinox EV, a compact SUV that looks more like a Hyundai IoniQ than a traditional Chevrolet vehicle. Like with the Silverado, GM’s Ultimum battery platform will be used in this vehicle, although battery capacity and range hasn’t been confirmed.
It’s safe to assume at a $US30,000 price point ($41,500, at least, for Aussies), the Equinox would reach around at least 200 kilometres and would become one of the cheaper EVs in Australia, but we’ll have to wait and see.
The Equinox EV is expected to release in 2024, going on sale in late 2023. Accompanying it will be a Chevrolet Blazer EV (a slightly larger SUV from Chevvy), although we didn’t actually hear all that much about this car.
GM and the “Ultium Effect”
GM’s Ultium Effect move is set to ramp up over the coming years. Not only does the company now have a solid battery platform that it’s putting in upcoming EVs, but the company is now working on autonomous mobility, with the aim to release an autonomous vehicle as soon as the mid-decade.
GM also wants to tackle hands-free door-to-door delivery driving with its Ultium focus. These autonomous vehicle projects will be power din part by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride platform, for assisted driving.
Finally, GM also gave us some ideas on what the car can do for people in the future, by offering user-focused features like “Max Power Mode”, which makes EVs operate faster as if they were overclocked, “Choose Your Own Adventure Mode”, which gamifies finding shops and landmarks in your area and “Plaetarium Mode”, which, in the words of GM, “Uses a vehicle’s GPS to project nearby constellations onto vehicle screens”.
Love your work, GM.