General Motors will be investing over $3 billion in its Hamtramck assembly plant to begin manufacturing the “BT1” electric truck/SUV. This has been made public with the release of the details in the United Auto Workers’ new contract. But sources for Reuters say part of this BT1 development includes bringing the Hummer brand back.
You remember Hummer, right? The brand launched under GM ownership in 1998 producing its massive Humvee, H1, H2, and H3 models. During GM’s bankruptcy, it retained the brand rather than liquidating it to try and find a buyer. A Chinese company was announced as the new owner but backed out in 2010. At that point, GM began shutting down Hummer for good. But, not so fast.
The BT1 program will provide an electric truck for GMC and electric SUV for Cadillac. Remember that Cadillac is going to be remade as GM’s premier electric brand. These will hit the showrooms in 2023. But before this, a low-volume pickup is set to launch “under a different brand” in 2021.
Codename “Project O”
The different brand is rumored to be Hummer with a codename of “Project O.” Sources say a performance version would follow in 2022.
Hummer is known for building rugged utility and off-road vehicles, some for the US military, with aggressive styling but poor economy numbers. The idea of starting up Hummer one more time is thought to be a good one because the brand is still so recognizable. Marketing recognition is high making a relaunch easier.
The BT1 platform is an EV “skateboard” chassis exclusively developed for trucks and SUVs. The speculation is that the pickup will sell for around $90,000 with the performance variant over $100,000. The skateboard concept allows for manufacturers to develop a variety of bodies in different configurations and styles that attach to the common chassis. It will have the flexibility to be front-, rear-, or all-wheel-drive.
New GM Battery Plant Supports Hummer
A battery plant is also part of the mix. GM will partner with another company to make batteries at a plant near its Lordstown, Ohio, facility. Over $1 billion is earmarked for investment in this venture by GM. It has already announced it wants to launch 20 EVs by 2023.
While not giving details GM did say, “GM believes in an all-electric future and we are making great progress in that area. We have announced that a pickup truck will be part of our future portfolio, but have no additional information to provide.”
Before initiating its own development GM was in talks with Rivian to use its EV chassis for GM-branded SUV and truck EVs. But Rivian ended up going with Ford, which will make its own electric truck on the Rivian chassis by 2022. Ford has invested over $500 million in Rivian, seeing its investment as a way to jumpstart its truck and SUV EV programs.
All of the truck and SUV manufacturers are scrambling to hop onto the truck and SUV EV train. They all see it as another offshoot of the giant truck market while helping to hit emissions targets set by the government. Expect much more EV truck news in the future.