Dual charge port electric trucks can allow a lot of power flexibility

General Motors recently filed a patent application for a dual charge port setup that could help the automaker get the most out of the Altium battery system in its electric pickup truck.

GM has developed a double-layer battery pack that is already being used on the GMC Hummer EV and is scheduled for the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV. The proposed setup may provide more flexibility in how these two levels are charged.

Using a series of controllers and switches, as well as the ability to act as two different packs in the pack’s built-in power series or in parallel, the application describes different charging situations for dual-level vehicles.

GM Patent Filing - Dual Charge Port

GM Patent Filing – Dual Charge Port

For reference, the GMC Hummer EV12 battery modules are wired in series to create a layer, which is effectively a separate battery pack. That layer is connected in parallel with another identical layer with the same number of modules. In the Hummer EV, it adds more than 100 kwh of battery power, to take advantage of faster 350-kw DC fast-charging hardware with 800-volt charging.

GM outlines that one charging port can be configured to charge at 800 volts or 400 volts, the other port will be connected to the second level of the pack and will be limited to 400V. The system can connect them in series, charging both the upper and lower levels simultaneously at 800V using only the first port. Or it can connect both layers in parallel and charge at 400 volts.

A third configuration would separate the two layers, charging them at once, GM noted. Alternatively, the second port can be used to charge accessories at 400 volts while the car continues to be charged at 800 volts. It may allow GM trucks to have power tools or other equipment while charging. Ford advertises its F-150 Lightning as a mobile power source, but it only has one charge port and so can’t do it.

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV

GM added that with the addition of another switch, it would be possible to upgrade the second charge port to 800 volts. An image submitted with the patent application shows both ports side by side — a layout that is probably more understandable for fleet vehicles charged in the company’s garage than private vehicles, which will probably benefit each port.

It’s not clear if GM will actually put a dual charge port into production, but more trucks are on the way, including a dual-layer battery pack. Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV are both expected to hit the market in 2023 as 2024 models.

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