This article was originally published by Michael Coates on Clean Fleet Report, a publication that gives its readers the information they need to move to cars and trucks with best fuel economy, including electric cars, fuel cells, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and advanced diesel and gasoline engines.
A little theater has always been a part of new model reveals at auto shows. So what does the industry do if there are no auto shows? Buy advertising spots on the World Series and promote a remote reveal that consisted of a combo of Mad Max and a monster truck rally where the truck bounds over every obstacle in sight.
Welcome to the GMC Hummer EV Edition 1—combining an aggressive, in-your-face attitude carried over from the last generation of this quasi-military vehicle with the most advanced technology one of the world’s largest auto companies has to offer. Somehow, all of the massive power and impressive technology is squared with the eco-friendly nature of an electric vehicle as General Motors introduces and takes orders for a truck it will not be producing for more than a year.
But it’s one thing to see a vehicle cavorting for the camera; Clean Fleet Report had a chance to see the Edition 1 (aptly named so far since GM says there is only one in existence). Two editors were able to sit in the model, see some of the functional features and get a sense of what the rebirth of the Hummer brand is all about. Our initial takeaways:
- The truck is striking in its black-and-white décor.
- The truck doesn’t appear to be quite as massive as its image (and some of the other half-ton trucks on the market) although running boards are a welcome way to get into this beast due to the 35-inch tires. Because of its short bed and front end, it could be imagined as Colorado on steroids as easily as a Silverado or Sierra.
- Angles are everywhere both inside and out; it’s as if Brutalist architecture were applied to an automobile.
- The large center screen on the dash appears to be floating without direction toward an intended user.
- For such a radical departure, it really fits neatly in the current trend of massive pickups.
- The $112,000 price for the Edition 1 is steep, but not a big leap; we’ve been in $75,000 half-ton pickups that didn’t have any more features and weren’t as stylish—and of course were not three-motor electric vehicles.
The mad rush to get one
As Tesla has experienced with all of its new models and Ford saw with the Mach-E, a well-designed and featured EV can attract attention—and orders. GM won’t say how many Edition 1 models it will produce (rumor set the number at 1,000), but said the allotment is fully reserved. The follow-up models are also gathering some reservations. Here are the details on them and their launch schedule:
- The 2022 Hummer EV Edition 1—Starting MSRP is $112,595, includes three-motor e4WD propulsion system with torque vectoring (1000 horsepower, 11,500 pound-feet of torque), 350-mile range, 800-volt DC fast-charging capability, destination, Super Cruise, UltraVision, 35-inch tires, Infinity Room (four panels that can be removed and stored in the frunk), power rear drop class, six-function MultiPro tailgate and more. Production begins in fall 2021.
- The Hummer EV3X will follow in fall 2022 for $99,995. Like the First Edition, it also features a three-motor system with torque vectoring and Watts to Freedom, GM’s version of Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode, designed to deliver 0-to-60 acceleration in the three-second range.
- The Hummer EV2X comes in spring 2023 at $89,995 with adaptive air suspension with Extract Mode (which can raise the suspension six inches) and CrabWalk, its four-wheel steering system.
- Finally, the Hummer EV2 arrives in spring 2024 for $79,995 with a two-motor drive system.
GM said half of its Buick-GMC dealers have signed up to carry the Hummer brand, which will eventually expand to other configurations like an SUV. Dealers have to add tools to work on the Hummer and install DC fast-charging stations. According to GM president Mark Reuss those dealers also have agreed to follow no-haggle prices on the Hummer.
The Hummer EV will be built at GM’s revamped Hamtramck plant, which is now dedicated to building EVs and has been renamed Factory Zero after a $2.2 billion investment. In addition to the Hummer, the Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle will be the initial vehicle built there.
The exploding electric truck market
When the Hummer arrives late next year it will be joining a growing contingent of electric pickups. GM’s Chevrolet Division has an electric version of its Silverado pickup due next year as well. Similarly, Ford will have a fully electric F-150 that year.
Those conventional pickups will be challenged by at least two newcomers—the Rivian R1T and the Tesla Cybertruck, both of which have promised to be on the market in 2021. The Lordstown Endurance is also expected to appear around the same time.
Hummer doesn’t have a lock on the muscle truck part of the market, either, as Ford’s already show a prototype of its electric pickup towing a train, Tesla’s bragged about its three-motor system’s prowess and Rivian has put out extensive videos of its pickup tearing up off-road trails.
All of these manufacturers will be carving up a market segment that currently exists only as reservations, although the cumulative number of those is impressive (in the 100,000s).
More Hummer EV details
The Hummer will break a lot of ground for GM as it will be the first EV to use the new Ultium batteries in a 24-module double-stacked skateboard chassis. The cabin is dominated by two screens—a 12.3-inch one in front of the driver and the 13.4-inch center display. The “frunk,” a storage compartment in the front of the pickup where a conventional model’s engine would be, is designed to easily carry the four removable glass roof panels.
While 35-inch tires are standard, the wheelwells are designed to accommodate 37-inch tires without modifications. The underbody has steel plates designed to protect the battery pack. Off-road “widgets” will display vehicle functions and terrain status, including torque output, differential locker engagement, tire pressure, pitch and roll angles (including maximum values), a drift gauge (with maximum values), friction circle, torque vectoring and more.
So when Led Zepplin sing that the hammer of the gods is coming, GM engineers and designers clearly want you to interpret that as the Hummer of the gods. They’re aiming this pickup be the overlord mentioned in the song, capable of conquering any obstacle placed in its path. Their ambition is not just earth-bound as the Hummer has several Easter eggs hinting that mere terrestrial objects are just the starting point. The dead pedal is a replica of Neil Armstrong’s first footprint on the moon and a map of the Seat of Tranquility. I guess you can interpret this that either the Hummer EV is GM’s moonshot—or just that they think the truck is “out of this world.”
We’ll find out more next year when they build a few and let us get behind the wheel.
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Published November 8, 2020 — 14:00 UTC