General Motors recently filed a patent application for a dual-port setup that could help get the most out of the Ultium battery system on the automaker’s electric pickups.
GM has developed a dual-layer battery pack that has been used in GMC Hummer EVand is slated for the upcoming part Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV. The proposed setup could provide more flexibility in how those two layers are charged.
Utilizing a range of controllers and switches, as well as the package’s built-in ability to function as two different packages in series or parallel, the application describes different charging scenarios for dual-layer vehicles.
Registered GM patent – dual charging port
For reference, in GMC Hummer EV 12 battery modules are connected in series to form a layer, which functions as a separate battery pack. That layer is connected in parallel to another identical layer with the same number of modules. In the Hummer EV, the battery capacity goes up to more than 100 kwh, with 800 volt charging to take advantage of the faster 350 kw DC fast charging hardware.
GM outlines that one charging port can be configured to charge at 800 volts or 400 volts, while the other will be connected to the second layer of the pack and be limited to 400V. The system can connect them in series, charging both the upper and lower layers simultaneously at 800V using only the first port. Or it can charge both layers at 400 volts by connecting them in parallel.
GM notes that the third configuration isolates the two layers, charging them once. Alternatively, the second port can be used to charge accessories at 400 volts while the vehicle continues to charge at 800 volts. That could allow GM trucks to power other tools or equipment while they’re charging. Ford advertised F-150 Lightning as a portable power source, but it has only one charging port and therefore cannot do that.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
GM also notes that, with the addition of another switch, it’s possible to upgrade the second charging port to 800 volts. An illustration submitted with the patent application shows both gates side by side – a layout that is perhaps more sensible for fleet vehicles being charged at the company’s garage. company rather than a personal vehicle, would likely benefit from a portal on each side.
It’s not clear if GM will actually put the dual charging port into production, but more and more trucks are coming with dual-layer battery packs. Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV are both expected to hit the market in 2023 as the model year 2024.