The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has tapped GM Defense [GM] to develop a battery back prototype that can be used for tactical military vehicles, the company said Thursday.

GM Defense said its work on the DIU program will leverage its Ultium battery technology, which it described as a “combined electric vehicle (EV) battery architecture and propulsion system that can deliver power, range, and scale beyond any previous GM hybrid or extended range EV technology.”

Each General Motors Ultium battery module contains 24 battery cells. Each GM Ultium Platform – which will be used in future vehicles such as the GMC HUMMER EV Pickup and SUV and Cadillac LYRIQ – contains between six and 24 battery modules. Photo: GM Defense.

“This award is a critical enabler for non-traditional defense businesses like GM Defense to deliver commercial technologies that support our customers’ transition to a more electric, autonomous and connected future,” Steve duMont, president of GM Defense, said in a statement.

GM Defense said the DIU program aims to develop a battery pack with a scalable design for tactical vehicles, noting its Ultium technology “uses different chemistries and cell form factors” to offer an adaptable solution and allows for new technology insertions.

“Commercial battery electric technologies continue to mature. GM Defense offers a unique advantage with our ability to leverage proven commercial capabilities and the billions in GM investments in electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle technologies in order to help provide our customers with the most advanced capabilities the commercial market can offer,” duMont said.

In July, the Army selected GM Defense as one of two companies that will provide an electric vehicle for demonstration, with the goal of informing the service’s planned Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (eLRV) program (Defense Daily, July 26). 

GM Defense is providing the GMC Hummer EV, which it has noted features a 24-module, double-stacked Ultium battery pack.

Advanced mobility startup Canoo [GOEV] was the other firm selected for the effort, with testing set to begin this fall as the Army assesses the potential for current electrically-powered commercial platforms to meet military operational requirements.

GM Defense is also currently providing the Army’s new Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) and previously showcased an all-electric version of the platform that functions as a concept demonstrator for exploring advanced battery technologies for potential future applications (Defense Daily, May 4).