See Jay Leno Off-Roading The GMC Hummer EV

Jay Leno has restored some of the world’s largest gas-guzzling engines. Surprisingly, the world’s most famous car collector is also an early electric vehicle adaptor. Jay Leno has been commuting in an electric car for over a decade. When given a chance to test-drive the GMC Hummer EV, Leno headed for the hills to get the 4×4 dirty. He was so impressed by the reinvention of the Hummer that he concluded, “engineers will change the world.”

The Hummer EV is ‘packed with power and technology’

This is a photo of the GMC Hummer EV during tests in Michigan. The Edition 1 was recently tested by electric pickup enthusiast Jay Leno.
The GMC Hummer EV kicking up dirt | Steve Fecht via GMC

Jay Leno has been a fan of General Motors’ electric vehicles since he bought one of the first Chevrolet Volts for his daily commute. Though Leno owns 286 vehicles, he found himself reaching for his Volt’s keys again and again. In one year, he clocked 11,000 miles in his plug-in hybrid.

Leno loved his Volt’s practicality, but he is also a fan of big performance numbers. He actually set the production car 1/4-mile world record in a Tesla Model S Plaid. Before he even laid eyes on the GMC Hummer EV, he could list its impressive specifications. Leno was eager to get to driving the 4×4. 

Everything about the upcoming electric Hummer is oversized, from its 18 onboard cameras to its removable full-length glass infinity roof. Here’s the new pickup as outlined GMC’s claimed numbers:

  • Weight: 9,046 pounds
  • Horsepower: 1,000
  • Torque: 11,500 lb-ft
  • Zero-60 time: 3 seconds
  • Range: 350 miles
  • Ground clearance: 15.9 inches
  • Water fording: 32 inches
  • Suspension travel: 13 inches
  • Launch edition price: $108,700

Leno called the Hummer EV ‘a technological marvel’

This is the GMC Hummer EV off-roading at an angle during General Motors' testing. Jay Leno called the electric truck a "technological marvel" | Steve Fecht via GMC
GMC Hummer EV may be heavy, but has a low center of gravity and gobs of torque | Steve Fecht via GMC

When GMC gave Jay Leno a chance to drive the Hummer EV, the retired Tonight Show host honed in on one spec: the torque.

Some reviewers criticized General Motors for measuring torque at the axle, not the tire, to arrive at the reported 11,500 lb-ft measurements. But no one argues that electric vehicles make a lot of torque, and all of it is available from zero RPMs. Moreover, with three electric motors, the Hummer EV Edition 1 is an off-road beast.

After doing some wheeling in the truck, Leno said, “The torque of this is what really makes me smile. It’s just so incredibly powerful.”

In addition, Leno loved the available rear-wheel-steering. As he wound around tight, hairpin turns, he said, “It’s amazing how effortless it feels.”

Leno was giddy over one feature made possible by the steering rear wheels. He said, “The coolest feature has to be the crabwalk.”

When enabled, Hummer crabwalk mode turns all four wheels up to 10 degrees in the same direction. This means the colossal truck can glide diagonally around an obstacle. Leno concluded, “I’m pretty impressed.”

Jay Leno says the electric pickup represents ‘the next generation’

This is a photo of the GMC Hummer EV navigating a trail during off-road testing. Jay Leno test-drove the truck as well and was impressed. | Steve Fecht via GMC
With 1,000 hp and a crabwalk mode, the GMC Hummer EV feels “effortless” on the trail | Steve Fecht via GMC

Even after the Chevy Bolt fires, Jay Leno insisted that electric cars are here to stay. Then, once he had test-driven the GMC Hummer EV, Leno doubled down on this position. He decided the engineers at GMC had taken the old Hummer, fixed everything wrong with it, and improved on everything cool about it.

Leno said of the reinvented Hummer, “It’s faster, it has more horsepower, it’s quieter. There’s no place where the gas vehicle beats it.” 

While silently navigating off-road trails, the comedian mused about the Hummer. “It just makes some big old diesel thing just seem obsolete.”

Leno seemed to have a great time test driving the new Hummer EV. He told General Motors he might not have driven it so hard if he owned it, but was impressed. He said, “This wins on all points…It really is the next generation.”


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