How could the hyped-up, electrified GMC Hummer EV be bad for the environment? Other than trouncing all over the wilderness, could this electric truck produce more carbon dioxide than some gas-powered vehicles? Are we being duped into believing all EVs are better for the environment than traditional internal combustion vehicles?
What does the Hummer EV research tell us?
The nonprofit organization American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) provides insights into how the GMC electric truck is worse for the environment than some gas-powered vehicles.
Even though electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, their impact on greenhouse gas emissions isn’t zero. The power to charge and refuel these vehicles comes from the electric grid. In the United States, nearly 60% of that power comes from burning fossil fuels.
While it’s not the GMC Hummer EV that is truly the problem, it’s the electric grid. We can look a little deeper to learn how great an impact this truck has on the environment.
How much carbon dioxide per mile does the GMC Hummer EV produce?
In most cases, EVs produce far fewer grams of carbon dioxide per mile than gasoline or diesel-powered models. For example, the Chevy Bolt EV produces about 92 grams per mile which is pretty good compared to a Chevy Malibu at 320 grams per mile.
We can’t assume all electric vehicles deliver the same impact on the environment across the board. The Hummer EV has a much larger battery pack than the Bolt, which means it takes a lot more energy to fully charge those batteries every time it’s plugged in. This big and impressive electric pickup produces about 341 grams of carbon dioxide per mile.
While this demonstrates some EVs are worse for the environment, if we compare the electric Hummer to the original Hummer H1, which we can all agree was a poster child for gas-guzzling, we see a serious reduction in the environmental impact. The H1 Hummer was responsible for 889 grams of carbon dioxide per mile.
What did you expect from a 9,000-pound vehicle?
The GMC Hummer EV tips the scales at 9,000 pounds, making it one of the heaviest personal vehicles on the road. We can look at this comparison in two different ways:
The electric Hummer isn’t as environmentally friendly as a midsize four-door sedan with a four-cylinder gasoline engine.
The Hummer EV is much more eco-friendly than the original version of itself.
Could the second way of looking at the environmental impact be the right way to go? Maybe.
Could a GMC Hummer EV become a zero-impact vehicle?
Some will argue it’s impossible for this big electric Hummer to become a zero-impact vehicle, but once on the road, it’s possible. This truck could achieve this with an owner that uses solar panels to power their home and always charges the Hummer EV at home. Unfortunately, this would be a bit too restrictive for more drivers and not likely to occur.
It’s not the fault of the GMC electric Hummer that it has an environmental impact. Once the electric grid becomes free of fossil fuels, this truck, and all other EVs, will no longer impact the environment once they’re on the road. Until then, it seems we should consider the comparison of apples to apples, or in this case Hummer EV to Hummer H1, instead of an across-the-board comparison.