PLEASANT VALLEY, Ariz.—Headlines border on the ridiculous: One Thousand Horsepower. A curb weight so heavy that you would need a special license to drive it in some countries. A lithium-ion battery that’s nearly double the capacity of anything else on the road. A zero to 60 mph time of just three seconds. And despite the worst efficiency of any EV we’ve driven to date, it still has over 300 miles of range.
If this all sounds like overkill, or if you already think electric vehicles are a good idea, you’re not the target audience for GMC’s new Hummer EV.
Instead, GMC is positioning the Hummer EV as “an all-electric super truck with zero emissions and zero limits” (except maybe road weight rating). It is intended to convert the electro-curious of gasoline or diesel into electrons. So think “the rival off-road recreation Rivian R1T” rather than the “Ford F-150 Lightning blue-collar fighter.”
Talk of a possible new Hummer began to resurface in 2014 with the idea of dusting off the tooling of the old vehicle. But it wasn’t until the advent of General Motors’ new Ultium battery platform that the resurrection of the problematic nameplate became possible. This battery platform, coupled with a new family of Ultium Drive electric motors, likely helped GMC reduce the usual new vehicle development cycle to just two years – first deliveries of the Hummer EV Edition 1 have already begun. .
At the heart of the Hummer EV is its battery, which sits under the cabin and between the axles. At 2,923 lbs (1,325 kg), the battery is almost a third of the Hummer EV’s substantial 9,063 lb (4,110 kg) mass, and it consists of 24 Ultium modules, which are stacked to provide a net capacity of 212.7 kWh. The pack is protected by a heavy structural frame bolted to the body of the Hummer EV (there is no traditional ladder frame like older Hummers). And since the truck is supposed to be able to drive itself off-road, there are shear panels and skid plates to keep all that lithium-ion safe on the trails.
Every corner of the Hummer EV has independent suspension and air springs. The standard suspension height gives the truck 10.1 inches (257 mm) of ground clearance, which increases to 11.9 inches (302 mm) in Terrain mode or 15.9 inches (404 mm) in Extraction mode, at use if you put the truck on the high side of an obstacle or need to ford a stream. Terrain mode gives the Hummer EV an approach angle of 44.3 degrees, a departure angle of 33.7 degrees and a rollover angle of 25.4 degrees. The maximum fording depth is 28 inches (711 mm). Yes, you can cross waterways in an electric vehicle and water must not enter the battery.
The $112,595 Hummer EV Launch Edition, plus the $99,995 Hummer EV3X, slated for this fall, uses a three-motor configuration: a single front-wheel-drive unit with a locking differential and a motor for each rear wheel, with an electronic locking function for that axle. Together, the three engines represent a combined output of 1,000 hp (745 kW) and approximately 1,000 lb-ft (1,355 Nm).