The Hummer is back. The brash, military-inspired outsized SU — which was a symbol of excess in the first decade of the 2000s only to disappear along with much of the U.S. economy in early 2009 — will hit the road again, reborn as the Hummer EV, in late 2021.
Whether or not you think the world needs to see the return of such a vehicle is a matter of opinion, but it’s not the Hummer of old, and it will return with a more environmentally friendly touch.
The Hummer this time around is all-electric and is the second electric vehicle from General Motors (GM) to be revealed this year, following the Cadillac Lyriq, with the company’s next-generation EV platform. It also represents another step toward GM’s promised all-electric future, which will span across all of the company’s brands and market segments over the next five years.
Resurrecting the Hummer under the GMC marque, General Motors has retained all the looks and the heft of the original but has ditched the gas-guzzling internal combustion engine in favor of a three-motor electric powertrain for the “Edition 1” version of the new Hummer.
Revealed online via a brief video stream on Oct. 20, the Hummer promises to be an extremely capable off-road vehicle, packing a performance punch that stacks up well against future rivals such as Tesla’s Cybertruck. Unlike Tesla, however, GMC is eschewing a futuristic look and, instead, its form harkens back to the more familiar.
Though unmistakably a Hummer, under the skin it’s all new. As with the Cadillac Lyric, the Hummer EV will use the next generation Ultium modular-battery technology GM has developed in partnership with South Korea’s LG Chem. The reveal did not detail the size of the battery in the new Hummer, but it has to be pretty massive to meet the performance numbers GM is promising.
The Edition 1 will boast a drivetrain putting out 1,000 horsepower and 11,500 pound-feet of torque, which will be capable of launching the vehicle from zero to 60 miles per hour in approximately three seconds. In addition, GMC expects the Hummer EV to travel 350-plus miles on a single charge. 800V DC fast charging will allow drivers to add a claimed 100 miles of driving range in as few as 10 minutes, making this a serious vehicle for covering useful distances.
The performance is impressive, and the range is certainly very respectable. But considering the company is claiming the Hummer EV to be “The World’s First All Electric Super Truck,” one has to stack up the specs against the Tesla, which pulled the covers off the Cybertruck a while back and also promises a fall 2021 delivery for its tri-motor variant. On paper, the Cybertruck bests the Hummer with a claimed 2.9 seconds to 60 miles per hour and a significantly higher 500 miles of range.
So, can the Hummer EV truly carry the mantle as the world's first all-electric super truck?
Well, those claims are always subjective, but GM has detailed a few other attributes which certainly go beyond just power, range and drag strip times. Indeed, we get more of an idea of other areas where GM might compete favorably.
For example, the Hummer will come with the option of four-wheel steering and, along with that, a neat trick GM is calling the “crab walk” — literally, this allows the vehicle to move diagonally. Not something, perhaps, that anyone needs to do on a daily basis, but it's a feature which allows the vehicle to navigate around rocks on a narrow off-road trail and, who knows, maybe gets you out of a tight spot at the shopping mall parking lot.
Air ride suspension permits the driver to jack up the truck an additional six inches so the armor-plated underside is further protected from bottoming out on rocky terrain. Conversely, drivers can lower the vehicle by two inches for better aerodynamics on the freeway. Piloting the vehicle on tricky ground is aided by 18 cameras located all over the vehicle, including two beneath it, providing real-time visuals and presumably eliminating any possible blind spots that a driver is ever likely to encounter.
The Hummer EV is to be outfitted with removable glass roof panels — called the infinity roof — converting the cabin to an open-top experience, and drivers will benefit from GM’s Supercruise driver assist package featuring auto lane-changing capability. The cargo space is a traditional pick-up truck style.
If you want one, you can go onto GMC’s website now and reserve your very own, but you’re going to need a robust bank balance.
The Edition 1, available in fall 2021, starts at a shade over $112,500. We can assume GM is looking at this as somewhat of a halo car to showcase the automaker’s EV technology, as opposed to something it plans to sell in large volumes.
To spend under 100,000 — though only by five bucks — you’ll have to wait another year for a lower specification model, the EV3X version, which still comes with an impressive 800 horsepower tri-motor powertrain. A third option comes a year after that. The fourth and cheapest variant, the EV2, available in the fall of 2024, is a dual motor offering yet sacrifices some range to around 250 miles between charging, for just under $80,000.
The Hummer EV2, with a range of 250 miles, is comparable with the Cybertruck’s base model, but since the lowest-priced Cybertruck is priced from $39,900, the Tesla comes in a lot cheaper and will be available two years sooner. That has to be hard to overlook.
Still, the Hummer has some brand cache in this segment, looks like a traditional truck — doubtless important to many — and certainly GM is revealing at the outset more details of the Hummer’s off-road bona fides, an area where Tesla remains untested. But will all that be enough to guarantee its success?
Image credits: GMC
Phil Covington holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. In the past, he spent 16 years in the freight transportation and logistics industry. Today, Phil's writing focuses on transportation, forestry, technology and matters of sustainability in business.