Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

GM shares more secrets of its Ultium battery technology

The automaker is integrating something called a wireless battery management system into packs and this will provide a host of benefits.

Craig Cole Former reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Craig Cole
2 min read
GM Ultium Wireless Battery Management

Wireless management reduces the number 


GM is sharing more information about its upcoming Ultium battery system, a potentially transformative technology that underpins the automaker's future electric vehicles. On Wednesday, GM announced a new wireless battery management system (WBMS), which should improve scalability and simplify manufacturing, among many other things.

Working with a company ironically called Analog Devices, Inc., GM has essentially figured out how to fit its battery packs with Wi-Fi. WBMS allows individual modules in the system to communicate through a wireless network instead of traditional cables. This reduces the amount of wiring needed in battery assemblies by up to 90%, which reduces weight, cost and results in cleaner, easier-to-build batteries. But that's not all.

WBMS is designed to help balance battery chemistry right down to individual cell groups for improved performance. Periodic health checks of the pack can also be conducted in real time as well, things that should improve the working lifespan of batteries. And once their usefulness in automotive applications is over, they can be reused, combined with other compatible battery packs to provide power to homes or other facilities.

GM Ultium Wireless Battery Management

Beyond that, WBMS will provide greater scalability, making it easier for GM to offer a broad range of electric vehicles, everything from high-performance sports cars to family-friendly crossovers to heavy-duty trucks. And that's exactly what the automaker plans to do. Shared battery components make it far simpler to bring vehicles to market since engineers don't have to develop specific components for every make and model or put together new wiring systems for each vehicle application.

Aside from enhanced scalability and reduced complexity, WBMS makes it easy to add new features as they become available in the future, something enabled via over-the-air updates. And if you're worried about hackers accessing your future vehicle's Ultium battery, don't lose any sleep over this. Cybersecurity measures are baked right into GM's latest automotive electrical architecture, called the Vehicle Intelligence Platform.

Ultium is the future of GM and WBMS will be standard in every one of its vehicles that use this battery technology. When it launches, this should be the first nearly wireless battery management system used in production cars and trucks. 

The Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV is ushering in a new era at GM

See all photos
Watch this: GMC Hummer EV: I've got an opinion