There’s been a lot of buzz lately around the reinvented GMC Hummer EV. It’s a pickup truck and an SUV fit with four-wheel drive and plenty of towing capacity. It’s been getting attention for one other reason, too — it has more than triple the battery capacity of other electric vehicles.
In this article, we’ll look at what EV battery capacity means overall and how the GMC Hummer EV’s specs stack up to the competition.
EV batteries: an overview
Before we get into the GMC Hummer EV’s specs, let’s talk about EV batteries. EV batteries are not the same as regular vehicle batteries.
Instead, they can be analogized to a fuel tank in a gas-powered vehicle. As you drive, you’ll deplete the battery’s energy. Once it runs low, you’ll need to head to a charging station to recharge it, usually your home charger or a dedicated charging hub.
Batteries are measured in terms of battery capacity: kilowatt-hours (kWh). The more kWh a battery has, the more range it has — at least in theory. Other factors affect the range as well. According to MY EV, larger vehicles eat up the battery faster than smaller ones.
Other factors that can affect it include:
- How many miles the car has driven
- Extreme temperatures
- Driving at higher speeds
- Using the AC
- Added cargo/towing weight
The battery capacity has a direct effect on the range of the vehicle. Beyond those limiting factors, the higher the battery capacity, the higher the range.
The 2022 GMC Hummer EV has triple the battery capacity of comparable vehicles
According to Edmunds, the 2022 GMC Hummer EV has a battery capacity of 200 kWh. For reference, this is triple or more the battery capacity of other EVs. For example, the Nissan Leaf has a battery capacity of 62 kWh. That one is a smaller car, so that would make sense.
Well, except for the fact that the much larger Hyundai Ioniq 5 also has a smaller battery capacity of 77.4 kWh. So, what’s going on here? Why does the GMC Hummer EV have a disproportionately large battery capacity?
According to Car and Driver, the GMC Hummer EV has a fuel economy equivalent of just 47 MPGe. This is well below other EVs — the Ioniq 5 gets 114 MPGe. Even though they’re both bigger vehicles, the GMC Hummer EV needs a significantly higher battery capacity to get a decent range.
Is higher battery capacity a trend?
Based on other vehicles we’ve seen, the GMC Hummer EV’s higher battery capacity isn’t an isolated incident. Edmunds states that the Ford F-150 Lightning has a capacity of 131 kWh. Edmunds also says that the Rivian R1T has a capacity of 135 kWh. These are all larger and heavier vehicles, so a high battery capacity is needed to get a decent range. Any lower capacity would cause them to have terrible ranges, which is both inconvenient and anxiety-inducing when behind the wheel.
Beyond that, they also need enough capacity for special features like four-wheel drive and to tow/haul materials around. As mentioned earlier, vehicles with lower MPGe need a higher battery capacity to compensate.
While the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T have a higher MPGe rating than the GMC Hummer EV, they’re still lower than most. The Ford F-150 Lightning gets 66 MPGe while the Rivian R1T gets 70 MPGe. The increased battery capacity makes sense considering that other EVs get over 100 MPGe.
Does there have to be a tradeoff?
Based on the mentioned specs, you may wonder whether EVs can simultaneously have a high battery capacity and MPGe rating. The answer is yes, but only if you can afford it.
Currently, only some electric hypercars have high battery capacities and fuel economy equivalents, and hypercars like the Rimac Nevera cost millions. As technology advances, we may see some high-powered specs hit the market for standard electric trucks and cars.