GM Defense Introduces Battery Electric Technology for Future Military Vehicles

GM Defense, a subsidiary of General Motors, is collaborating with the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) Pulsed Power and Energy Laboratory (PPEL) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) to provide commercial battery electric technology. This initiative, titled “Evaluation of Electric Vehicle Batteries to Enable Directed Energy (EEVBEDE),” is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Operational Energy Innovation office through the Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund (OECIF). UTA PPEL will assess the capabilities of commercial automotive batteries under dynamic discharge and charge scenarios. This evaluation will pave the way for domestically sourced energy storage solutions for future military applications.

GM Defense is utilizing GM’s Ultium Platform propulsion architecture for testing and evaluation. The Ultium Platform offers superior power, range, and scalability compared to previous GM hybrid or extended-range EV technologies. Its modular and scalable design can accommodate different chemistries and cell formats, making it adaptable to evolving needs and new technological advancements. By leveraging GM’s battery technologies, GM Defense aims to address the DoD’s energy storage challenges. This effort will provide insights into the performance and design considerations for batteries in dynamic, high-power operations, which are more demanding than typical applications. Support from OECIF is crucial in developing advanced power and energy technologies that enhance the DoD’s capabilities and prevent power and energy constraints.

Steve duMont, president of GM Defense, stated, “The Department of Defense can benefit from billions of dollars in GM investments to develop and manufacture transformative battery technologies. These technologies offer significant potential to enhance operational capability, whether at the tactical edge or on installations throughout the world. GM Defense welcomes the opportunity to support this important project and to help transition our global defense and government customers.”

David Wetz, a professor of electrical engineering at UTA and director of the PPEL, added, “We are excited to work with GM Defense to test the Ultium Platform to determine its potential for future warfighting applications. PPEL has a longstanding relationship with the DoD and the Office of Naval Research for testing the limits of batteries used in high-power applications. We are uniquely positioned to evaluate this technology and make recommendations for future use cases.”

Peter Crouch, dean of UTA’s College of Engineering, commented, “As a Carnegie R-1 university, UTA is committed to working with industry to develop and understand new technology’s potential. This collaboration between PPEL, GM Defense, and the DoD will not only improve our nation’s military capabilities but also contribute to workforce development by training next-generation engineers to solve complex problems.”

Previously, GM Defense announced its participation in the Defense Innovation Unit’s Jumpstart for Advanced Battery Standardization (JABS) project, which, like EEVBEDE, aims to evaluate and test high-voltage battery systems to optimize commercial technologies. For the JABS project, GM Defense provided a prototype battery system based on GM’s Ultium Platform and demonstrated mission power capabilities by integrating a high-voltage battery pack into a light tactical utility vehicle. Insights gained from JABS will inform the integration requirements for future battery-electric defense solutions.

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