What General Motors’ idea of ​​an electric car with two charging ports says about the car market

You can fill a bowl much faster with two taps, you know.

This may not sound like a great engineering vision that is revolutionizing transportation in America. But it could be the start of something.

General Motors General Motors,
+ 0.29%
He filed a patent application with an idea that’s incredibly simple, but one that illustrates the way cars change.

It’s an EV with two plugs.

Lasers, conveyors, and tear gas: car companies and their patents

First, a quick note about patents: Automakers are some of the most aggressive users of America’s patent system. They routinely apply for patents that they may never use.

Tesla, TSLA,
Not kidding you here, patented laser windshield cleaning system. Toyota TM,
Patented in-car fragrance system that can also dispense tear gas for self-defense. Ford F
+ 0.37%
Patented conveyor belt that moves items from the trunk to the front seat.

Even companies that think only of the automobile industry hold patents for them. google google,
+ 1.29%
Patented hood is sticky enough to immobilize a human. It is intended as a safety device – if you hit a pedestrian’s car, it will stick to the hood instead of bouncing off and getting a second set of injuries from hitting the road. But imagine washing it up after a trip through Louisiana in bug season.

The idea doesn’t have to be Good to earn a patent. It just has to be new. And automakers routinely patent ideas they never implement.

paying off: Here are the 10 fastest electric cars (and how much they cost)

General Motors batteries are actually two batteries

General Motors’ new generation of electric vehicles, such as the GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq, are built on a platform the automaker calls Ultium. The Ultium is a skateboard-like single unit of batteries, motors and suspension that is mounted under the vehicle’s cabin.

Engineers can scale it up or down to build cars as big as the Chevy Silverado EV and as small (possibly smaller than) the Chevy Blazer EV. The design will form the basis for an entire generation of General Motors vehicles. It’s successful enough that Honda plans to use it in its first dedicated electric vehicle, the upcoming Honda HMC,
an introduction.

The way GM extends the battery range for larger vehicles is, essentially, by connecting two of them together. Both Hummer and Silverado use a two-layer battery. So why not ship them separately?

Voltage EV

Some electric vehicles, such as Tesla products, use 400-volt engineering. Some, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, use the 800-volt setting. Electrical charging is complex and not as simple as 800V batteries that charge twice as fast as 400V batteries. But the 800-volt systems currently on the market charge faster than 400-volt EVs.

What will be faster? using both.

A GM patent will allow users to charge the entire battery from a single 800-volt outlet, the entire battery from a single 400-volt outlet, or half of it from a single port. The ports are bi-directional, so they can also be used to power other electric vehicles or equipment in the field.

As demand for electric vehicles grows, mining for the minerals needed to make them may create additional challenges for the environment, society, and governance. Here’s what investors should know.

Electrical engineers are the new garage fixers

A patent may never become a working system. Many patents for the auto industry never do this. This might just be another graphic for the sticky cover.

But it shows something new in the car market.

Engineers learned to harness as much performance as possible from the internal combustion engine through a century of fiddling and trying strange things with fire.

A pair of charging cords (and a driver using two charging stations simultaneously while cars line up for their turn) may not be the innovation that makes it easier for Americans to live with electric vehicles every day. But electrical engineers are the new creative thinkers who will reshape the cost of our cars and what they do for us.

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

Leave a Comment