GMC flew Electrek out to Scottsdale, Arizona, last month to test-drive the new Hummer EV on proving grounds, backroads, highways, and desert trails. After a few days with this beast, it is clear that this thing has all the bells and whistles – but with a huge 200+ kWh battery, is the Hummer brand still a little excessive?
GMC Hummer EV background
The original AMG Hummer was a consumer derivative of the military Humvee, which itself was an informal derivation of the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). General Motors bought the Hummer brand in late 1999, though AMG continued to manufacture the civilian vehicles through to the H2 model. GM then built the H3 alongside its other pickup trucks out of Louisiana. In the 2008 implosion when GM went into bankruptcy, the Hummer brand was shopped around but never found a home. GM shut down the Hummer business in 2010 and the brand with it.
That was a shame because GM had some interesting ideas for the Hummer including the Hummer HX convertible, which turned into a 60-mile convertible EV and is still somehow sold as crazy golf carts. Whoops.
Hummer = excess
Since its demise, the Hummer name had come to represent “excess” for better or worse. Sure, rappers, athletes, and celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger loved the Hummer. But especially with the H2 and H3 models that weren’t great off-road, got abysmal gas mileage, and frankly looked a little tired, the brand went out of style in the 2010s.
GMC Hummer EV announced
Fast-forward to 2020. GM decided its Chevy Bolt compact wasn’t the right way to approach the electric vehicle market, at least not yet. The leadership under CEO Mary Barra decided its high-end vehicles now made the most sense to electrify. Along with the Cadillac Lyriq, GM in 2020, right before the pandemic, announced the Hummer EV with 1000hp, three-second 0-60, and 11,500 lb.-ft. of torque. All of these are absurd numbers, even today, and it was thought that this was GM drawing a line in the sand against the new EVs coming from Rivian and Tesla Cybertruck along with Ford’s F-150 Lightning. NBA Basketball star LeBron James was the anointed spokesman. James famously got his first Hummer in high school.
We actually got a quick look at the prototype in March 2020 but weren’t allowed to take pictures. At the time the interior was fully fleshed out and it certainly had a squared-off desert interior motif that evoked memories of the original Humvee. If GM hadn’t taken my camera prior to viewing, I would have had a hard time not snapping some pictures. It was just so unique and cool. At the time I said you absolutely knew it was a Hummer EV, even though it looked a lot different than the Hummers from a decade ago.
Since then and through the pandemic, GM has dripped dropped new information about the absurd vehicle. Probably the most important was the four-wheel steering and admittedly gimmicky “crab mode” diagonal drive. Since this was announced, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the upcoming Cybertruck would also allow for four-wheel steering.
GMC Hummer pricing
In October 2020, GM announced that the Hummer would start at $80,000, but that model wouldn’t be available until 2024 at the earliest. The launch version called “Edition 1” price was a little bit steeper.
The 2022 HUMMER EV Edition 1 will have a starting MSRP of $112,595, including destination, leading a range of additional trims to be introduced in future model years. Standard equipment on all, including Edition 1, includes Super Cruise capability with three years of service, UltraVision with High Definition Surround Vision, Digital Key, 35-inch-OD tires, Infinity Roof, power rear drop glass, six-function MultiPro Tailgate, and more.
The price and delivery matrix follows:
|HUMMER EV2 (available spring 2024)||HUMMER EV2X (available spring 2023)||HUMMER EV3X (available fall 2022)|
|MSRP: $79,995||MSRP: $89,995||MSRP: $99,995|
|250+ miles of range and 625 HP||300+ miles of range and 625 HP||300+ miles of range and 800HP|
|Includes standard equipment|
Two-motor drive system
|Includes HUMMER EV2 standard equipment, plus: Adaptive Air RideExtract Mode2|
4 Wheel Steer with CrabWalk
|Includes HUMMER EV2X equipment, plus: Three-motor drive system|
Watts to Freedom
GM opened the ordering for the first year of production and sold out within an hour – actually about 10 minutes. We since learned that this wasn’t a high volume at around 10,000 reservations or 1000/minute, which is impressive nonetheless for a $113,000 vehicle sight unseen.
Just about a year ago, GMC also announced an SUV version of the vehicle, which will go into production next year. It got a similar price point matrix, below:
HUMMER EV SUV Specifications
|HUMMER EV2 SUV||HUMMER EV2X SUV||HUMMER EV3X SUV||HUMMER EV SUV|
|HUMMER EV SUV|
Edition 1 with available
Extreme Off-Road Package
|Starting at MSRP (w/DFC)||$79,995||$89,995||$99,995||$105,595||$110,595|
|Availability||Spring 2024||Spring 2023||Spring 2023||Early 2023||Early 2023|
|Horsepower||Up to 625||Up to 625||Up to 830||Up to 830||Up to 830|
|Torque (lb-ft)||Up to 7,400||Up to 7,400||Up to 11,500||Up to 11,500||Up to 11,500|
w/ 20-module battery
|Extreme Off-Road Package||Extreme Off-Road Package|
We also found out that GM Defense was building a Hummer EV for possible military usage, bringing the vehicle full circle back to its military heritage.
Somehow GM managed to meet their original “Fall 2021” production schedule by delivering one Hummer, a $2.5M raffle winner, to a GMC dealership owner near the end of fall 2021. Ashton Kutcher’s and LeBron James’s vehicles along with a few hundred others have been delivered at the beginning of 2022.
2022 GMC Hummer EV review
After a busy two years since the announcement, we finally got to drive the GMC Hummer EV at the end of March near Scottsdale. And, just like our Rivian R1T drive, this was no BS walk in the park.
Day 1: After an afternoon learning to do the crab walk, trying the simply insane “Watts to Freedom” (WTF) launch control 0-60 in three seconds, we got to dive deep into the vehicle. Different experts showed us the different drive modes, using cameras to see over the hood and getting walkthroughs of the various components. We got to speak with Bose, which not only designed the speaker system but also the sounds that the vehicle makes to replace the motor. The Bose Centerpoint surround signal processing and 14 high-performance speakers with “Electric Vehicle Sound Enhancement uses Bose Active Sound Management capabilities, combining sound enhancement with noise masking to optimize the vehicle’s cabin acoustic environment.”
Day 2: We got to put all of that information to the test with an hour on surface streets, the highway, back country road and a few hours off roading and then another hour back to the hotel.
GMC Hummer EV 4-wheel steering
The biggest differentiator with the HummerEV vs. every truck that has come before it is the four-wheel steering. The front wheels turn like normal, but the rear wheels can either turn with the front wheels for the aforementioned crab walk or the opposite direction to make the truck steer much sharper.
While I think the crab walk is mostly just a party trick or gimmick (and that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t cool or won’t get used), the four-wheel steering changed the game. In tight parking lots, the Hummer EV behaves like a much smaller car. Out on the trails, however, is where four-wheel steering really shines. Turning hard almost makes the back of the vehicle feel like it is drifting. It is such a satisfying sensation that it is hard to describe. It makes getting around tight turns impossibly easy. Below is a little on/off road with the top off.
GMC Hummer EV is beast-beautiful inside and out
I don’t think there is much disagreement on the looks of the Hummer EV. While you certainly looks “like a Hummer,” it is also modern and ruggedly handsome. I think it looks even better with the top off and bounding through the dirt (as above).
And the Hummer EV still cleans up nicely as well. As I drove through town and on the highway, I was turning a ton of heads.
Something interesting to note is that there are 2x 100kWh battery packs there, and basically the whole black lower side part of the vehicle is battery space. That means it has a deceptively low ground clearance. That said, the air suspension can raise that a bunch, and it handled like a much lighter vehicle in the dirt.
GMC Hummer EV charging
No charging was planned by the organizers of the event, which is a pet peeve of mine in all EV drive events, not just this one. Fast charging is a huge part of the experience for better or worse, and it is important to be able to gauge the performance of the charging. Not just top speed but also the charge curve.
I was able to take the Hummer EV to an Electrify America charging station with less than half of a full charge remaining, so I was hoping to be able to get a 300+kW charge. Unfortunately there were only 150kW chargers available. I was told by GM that they’ve seen over 300kW in tests and with that can add 100 miles of range in 10 minutes of charging.
I can say for sure the Hummer charges quickly with its 800V 205kWh battery. But the size of the battery means that even a fast charge won’t fill this thing up as quickly as a more efficient vehicle with a smaller battery and the same range.
Say you stop at one of the still popular 50kW EVgo stations. It would take about four hours to fill up that 200+kWh pack at 50kW.
Stopping this 9,000-pound vehicle is no joke, but luckily with electric vehicles, you can recharge the batteries with that momentum rather than turning it to friction heat and brake dust.
The Hummer EV’s back-of-the-steering-wheel activated regen is the most powerful I’ve ever tried, and I even saw the gauge go up and beyond 300+kw of regeneration.
There are three levels of regen, and obviously one is almost no recuperation like you’d expect in a hybrid. The middle tier of regen is similar to a Tesla or a Volkswagen ID.4 – a little bit light but enough to come to a complete stop. The third flick of the regen paddle on the back of the steering wheel puts you in one-pedal driving mode, which will slow the Hummer down in a hurry.
Taken a step further (or too far in my book), Terrain Mode uniquely integrates the brake system with One-Pedal Driving, giving the driver precise control while off-roading.
Hummer EV SuperCruise
The Hummer isn’t just great for off-roading, but it is a very capable highway car and that includes GM’s class-leading hands-off SuperCruise autonomy. I activated it for about 15 minutes on the highway. While it didn’t initiate any of the advertised lane changes, it was happy just going 70+ mph to the point of boredom.
Hummer EV road noise
I think it is pretty safe to say this is the quietest Hummer ever, both inside and outside. As I previously mentioned Bose has added some artificial road noise, and at the same time used its noise cancelling tech to make the massive amounts of air this thing is pushing and huge tires much quieter.
Hummer is a T-Tops convertible!
Eat your heart out Smokey and the Bandit! Each of the four glass panels above each passenger is removable with two latches, and within three minutes, a single person can have a full-on convertible. You can remove the center bar as well (with four bolts) and a rear window lowering button that will also lower the drag and give the driver a real feeling of openness. I will say that on the highway, where traffic was going 80 mph, this was a bit much wind and noise. On the 60-mile-per-hour back roads? Perfection!
You can even put those panels in the frunk in a case system that GM developed… or more likely leave them in the garage all summer. As far as security for valuables with the top down, there’s the frunk but also a safe in the center console for your valuables.
Hummer EV frunk
The Hummer EV’s frunk is quite large but not as large as the F-150 Lightning’s. It has powered up and down and straps inside and powered outlets.
Hummer EV towing
GM rates Hummer EV at 7,500 lbs. of towing and 1,300 lbs. of carrying. I’m certain it could do 10 times that if it needed to. With the huge battery, I’d be willing to bet this is going to be able to pull big loads farther than a Ford or Rivian EVs as well.
The Hummer EV also has huge towing hooks on the front and back, which I can’t imagine will get used often but they look badass.
I’m still on the fence when it comes to the GMC Hummer EV. On one hand, it is a lust-worthy, adventure vehicle that will turn heads, accelerate to 60 mph like a sports car, go off-road with the best of them, and cradle the driver in the lap of luxury. There’s no shortage of neat things at every turn. The four-wheel steering is a game-changer for off-roading and tight parking alike. Driving with the convertible top off is just so friggin’ cool. You can even go off-roading topless if you don’t mind huge dust boogers.
But on the other hand, the Hummer EV is still so much excess. Its 200+kWh battery is enough for four small EVs. It is so big that it is hard to see pedestrians and bikers over the hood down below. You are hauling around 9,000 lbs. of car, again as much as 4 Chevy Sparks. It is a supertruck but also a super-sized truck, and each one sold takes four $30,000 Equinox EVs off the road.
As one of the GMC people put it, the Hummer EV isn’t for simple granola folks. It is for people who would otherwise be buying a Cadillac Escalade or other huge gas/diesel monstrosity. They aren’t worried about the planet or taking or using more than their fair share. The battery bit is because electric is faster/stronger/quieter/better, not because the Hummer EV is sustainable in any way – though I imagine Hummer EV owners will put that green feather in their cap.
Here’s why I love the Hummer EV. It is THE electric halo car. Just like the 620-mile, 0-60 in under two seconds Tesla Roadster was supposed to be, this is a battery electric vehicle that destroys all of the gas competition to the point that there’s no longer any question if gas should survive.
And the best part? GM is actually making (a few) of them.
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