The GMC Hummer EV Weighs More Than 3 Honda Civics
The GMC Hummer EV hasn’t been around for very long, but it’s already proving controversial. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of truck. Some love the radical styling, the insane performance, and the sheer bigness of the new Hummer. Nay-sayers don’t like the high price tag, the relative inefficiency for an EV, or the excess of the whole thing.
One thing about the GMC Hummer EV that’s indisputable is that the weight is a safety concern.
The GMC Hummer EV weighs almost five tons
The GMC Hummer EV SUT with the tri-motor powertrain has a curb weight of 9,640 pounds. The SUV variant doesn’t have an official curb weight yet, but it will likely still tip the scales at around 9,000 pounds.
EVs, in general, weigh more than their gas-powered counterparts. For example, the electric Nissan Ariya can weigh up to 5,057 pounds, while the heaviest Nissan Rogue is only 3,741 pounds. This is primarily because of heavy battery packs, and automakers are putting big batteries into EVs to hit desirable range estimates.
Even with this in mind, the Hummer EV is an insanely heavy truck by anyone’s standards. The Hummer EV is so heavy that GM recommends GMC dealers have special lifting equipment to accommodate the extreme width and weight of the truck.
Why weight is a safety issue for the GMC Hummer EV
Excessive weight is a safety issue in a collision because of basic physics. You may remember learning in school that momentum is mass times velocity. Say a Honda Civic is cruising on an undivided road at a velocity of 35 mph, and a Hummer EV is traveling in oncoming traffic at an identical velocity. Since the mass of the Hummer is approximately triple that of a Civic, which weighs between 2,877-3,102 pounds depending on the configuration, it’s going to be like the momentum of three Civics is hitting the Civic in the event of a head-on collision.
Although the Civic gets stellar safety ratings, that hypothetical crash will result in a bad outcome for the occupant(s) of the humble economy car versus the hulking Hummer.
The IIHS and other safety watchdogs have raised a red flag over the monstrous weight of large EVs, namely the GMC Hummer EV. In an article penned by IIHS Vice President Raul Arbelaez, he expresses a practical concern – can the Institute’s crash testing equipment handle a vehicle that weighs nearly five tons?
“To find out,” Arbelaez writes, “we got some old junkers, loaded them with steel plates and a concrete block to get the weight up to about 9,500 pounds. Then we sent them down the runways. Everything worked; all we needed was a little extra charging time for the hydraulic system and a bit more clamping force on our tow cable to keep the vehicle in place.”
Possible solutions to the GMC Hummer EV’s weight issues
We’re grateful that the IIHS proposes solutions rather than fear-mongering. “For one thing,” Arbalaez writes, “as a society, we should consider how much mass individuals should be driving around for the daily commute and around town.” In other words, don’t forget that compact, relatively lightweight EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Kia Niro EV are on the market.
Arbalaez goes on to ask the reader if we really need a 400-mile range every day or the rapid acceleration of heavier, more expensive EVs. The question of wants versus needs in an EV is a different discussion, but Arbalaez makes a valid point worth considering.
He also encourages automakers to compensate for the extra weight of bigger EVs with additional crush space in the front end, but that could interfere with the futuristic designs that lure in new EV drivers. Arbalaez is also “hopeful that expected improvements in battery technology will help by allowing smaller batteries to store more energy and that an expanding network of fast public chargers will take away some of the need for long ranges.”
Extra weight – and its safety implications – is just one of the many items on the master pros and cons list of electric vehicles like the GMC Hummer EV.