GM has started testing its Ultium battery system, which is going to power its next generation of electric vehicles, for the Cruise Origin autonomous electric vehicle.
Earlier this year, GM Cruise, General Motors’ autonomous driving subsidiary, unveiled its self-driving electric car designed for ridesharing.
The vehicle was technically the first vehicle to get GM’s new Ultium battery system.
This week, Ken Morris, General Motors’ VP of AV and EV programs, sent an update to GM employees about the program:
“Despite the pandemic, we haven’t missed a beat. Our EV and AV programs remain on track. In fact, from 2020 until 2025, we will allocate more than $20 billion of capital/engineering resources to our EV/AV programs, which equates to more than $3 billion annually.”
Cruise has been testing its autonomous driving system in specially outfitted Chevy Bolt EVs, but they stopped testing the vehicles during the pandemic and instead use the fleet to help local food banks.
As the pandemic began to spread in the U.S., Cruise stopped the testing of their Chevrolet Bolt EV-derived Cruise AV fleet as San Francisco shut down. Seeing a means to serve its community, Cruise volunteered its support to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and SF New Deal, a San Francisco based nonprofit, dedicated to keeping small businesses working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the Cruise AVs, the Cruise team has made almost 100,000 contactless deliveries and counting, allowing them to continue to capture real world data, and continue to meet their intended milestones.
GM confirmed that they started testing the Cruise Origin with the Ultium battery system at a test track:
“The Cruise Origin will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant – our first plant dedicated entirely to electric vehicles, and will be powered by our Ultium battery system. We already have a test vehicle powered by the battery system on the track at Milford, with preproduction vehicles coming next year.”
Here’s an image of the Cruise Origin:
There is no steering wheel in the Cruise Origin as it is meant as a completely autonomous vehicle for ridesharing.
GM says that the Ultium battery system in the vehicle will last for 1 million miles.
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