GM's Ultium EV "heat pump" improves range, charging and acceleration

General Motors announces its plans to include heat-pump technology in all of its current and upcoming Ultium-platform electric vehicles. 

That includes the Hummer EV now being delivered and the soon-arriving Cadillac Lyriq, plus many more to arrive in the next several years. In them, the tech will help recover low-level waste heat in ways that can add up in meaningful ways - bringing them quicker acceleration, faster charging, and a longer range 

The system is based around an automotive-grade heat pump that captures and recoups that waste heat. Like the systems other automakers like Tesla use or Toyota, the one in GM EVs employs a compressor-and-evaporator component system and a specially chosen refrigerant that undergoes a phase change. A physical reaction pays off in the release of energy as it goes from gas to liquid—to in effect amplify whatever energy it can scavenge along the way. 

GM executive vice president for Global Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain Doug Parks, says: “Having a ground-up EV architecture gives us the freedom to build in standard features like Ultium’s energy recovery capabilities. This helps us squeeze more efficiency, performance and overall customer benefit out of our EVs.”

Interestingly, GM notes that the origin of the energy recovery feature can be traced all the way back to the company's EV1, which was its first electric car. The EV1 used a heat pump that was developed by GM engineers at the time. The automaker says the feature is available on all current Ultium EVs, and will also be standard in all upcoming Ultium models.