What GM’s idea for an EV with two charging ports says about the car market



You could fill a pot a great deal quicker with two taps, you know.

That may possibly not sound like a fantastic engineering perception that revolutionizes transportation in The us. But it may possibly be the start off of a thing.

General Motors
has submitted a patent software with an unbelievably straightforward notion, but one that is illustrative of the way autos are transforming.

It’s an EV with two plugs.

Lasers, conveyor belts, and tear gasoline: vehicle organizations and their patents

Initial, a speedy note on patents: Automakers are some of the most intense users of America’s patent process. They routinely file for patents they could hardly ever use.

not kidding you listed here, retains a patent for a laser windshield cleansing procedure. Toyota
holds a patent for an in-motor vehicle fragrance program that can also dispense tear gasoline for self-defense. Ford
retains a patent for a conveyor belt that delivers goods from the trunk to the entrance seat.

Even corporations that only believe about building cars maintain patents for them. Google
retains a patent for a hood sticky sufficient to immobilize a human currently being. It is intended as a security device – if you hit a pedestrian with your motor vehicle, they’d stick to the hood alternatively of bouncing off and receiving a next set of injuries from hitting the street. But think about washing it immediately after a travel through Louisiana in bug year.

An notion does not have to be superior to earn a patent. It just has to be novel. And automobile makers routinely patent ideas they under no circumstances execute.

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GM’s batteries are by now two batteries

GM’s new era of electric automobiles, like the GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq, is built on a platform the automaker calls Ultium. Ultium is a one, skateboard-like unit of batteries, motors, and suspension that fits beneath a car’s cabin.

Engineers can scale it up or down to build autos as huge as the Chevy Silverado EV and as small as (probably even smaller sized than) the Chevy Blazer EV. The layout will underlay an full era of GM vehicles. It is successful adequate that even Honda options to use it for its 1st devoted EV, the upcoming Honda

The way GM scales the battery up for larger sized vehicles is, basically, to wire two of them together. The Hummer and Silverado equally use a two-layer battery. So why not cost them individually?

EV voltage

Some electric vehicles, these types of as Tesla merchandise, use a 400-volt architecture. Some, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, use an 800-volt setup. Electrical charging is difficult and not as very simple as 800-volt batteries charging 2 times as fast as 400-volt batteries. But the 800-volt devices at present on the market place do demand speedier than 400-volt EVs.

What would be even faster? Utilizing both equally.

GM’s patent would let users cost the total battery from a single 800-volt port, the complete battery from one particular 400-volt port, or 50 % of it from one particular of each. The ports are bidirectional, so they could also be used to ability other EVs or equipment in the discipline.

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Electrical engineers are the new garage tinkerers

The patent might never ever turn into a functioning procedure. Many automaker patents never ever do. This could be just one more drawing of a sticky hood.

But it illustrates some thing new about the motor vehicle marketplace.

Engineers learned to tease as considerably effectiveness as possible from the interior combustion motor through a century of tinkering and making an attempt wacky factors with fireplace.

A pair of charging cords (and a driver utilizing two charging stations at when whilst autos line up for their flip) may well not be the innovation that would make EVs simpler for Us citizens to reside with working day-to-working day. But electrical engineers are the new artistic thinkers who will reshape what our autos charge and do for us.

This story originally ran on KBB.com. 


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