Why Are We Getting a Hummer EV Nobody Asked For?

Many auto manufacturers are preparing for an electric vehicle future, including General Motors, which talks about its all-electric future on its website. The company plans for Cadillac to roll out its new battery electric vehicle architecture first before it is implemented in other GM brands. Included in the plan are GMC’s trucks, and the first to be released is likely the upcoming GMC Hummer EV.

Hummer EV Super Bowl LIV commercial

General Motors unveiled a commercial for the new Hummer EV during Super Bowl LIV. Featuring LeBron James, the ad and its teasers that previewed in advance emphasized the silence that is expected to come from an electric vehicle, calling it a “quiet revolution.”

The commercial also revealed that the new truck will have 1,000 hp and generate 11,500 lb-ft of torque. It will be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds and also have zero emissions. It will be revealed on May 20, 2020, and is expected to go on sale in Fall 2021. Notable in the commercial is that the new pickup truck is not under the Hummer brand. Instead, it is a Hummer model under the GMC brand, though the GMC badging is deemphasized.

The new GMC Hummer EV

According to GM Authority, the new Hummer EV will be more powerful than the Tesla Cybertruck, which gets 800 hp and generates 1,000 lb-ft of torque. The Cybertruck is estimated to go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and is expected to go 500 miles before needing to be recharged. The new EV is expected to be able to drive for about 400 miles before needing to be recharged.

The Hummer EV is going to be built on the BT1 platform, which is similar to the body-on-frame GM T1 platform used in Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks and SUVs. The truck will be produced at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which will also manufacture other electric GM pickup trucks.

The gasoline Hummer

The new Hummer is displayed at the 2015 New York International Auto Show in New York, USA
A Hummer model | Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Hummer EV picks up on the strength and power aspects of the legacy of the old gasoline Hummer brand. In the late ’80s, the U.S. military used High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) called Humvees. In 1992, a consumer-focused version went on sale to the general public. The giant truck weighed 10,000 pounds and had terrible fuel economy, getting 10 miles per gallon. At the time, gas prices were low and the Hummer became popular with celebrities.

At the end of 1999, General Motors bought the rights to the Hummer brand from AM General. GM then released the lighter Hummer H2 in 2002. The Hummer came to represent American’s love of excess and disregard for the environment. The Hummer H3 was released in 2005, getting 16 to 20 MPG, and production of the first model ended in 2006. Sales of Hummers dropped by 2008 as gas prices rose and a recession affected vehicle sales. GM filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and the last Hummer was manufactured in 2010.

The popularity of EVs

GM’s new electric pickup trucks will join new offerings from other manufacturers. With the popularity of trucks and SUVs combining with the growing issue of emissions (and accompanying regulations), there has been great interest in the development of electric trucks and SUVs. Several companies are targeting 2021 as a release date, and Tesla, Rivian, Bollinger Motors, Ford, Nissan, and General Motors all have electric trucks in development.

It remains to be seen whether the transition of the Hummer from a gas guzzler to an electric vehicle can rehabilitate its old reputation and entice new buyers.