Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2022 GMC Hummer EV.
The Hummer departed the automotive landscape twelve years ago as a pariah. It had become the target of all right-thinking eco-warriors and sympathizers of the time. What sweet revenge, then, for the nameplate to return in a guise that’s now of its time, one propelled by electricity. But when you think about it, there are still elements of the old Hummer to be found here. It's still as big as ever, it’s still a guaranteed attention-grabber, and it consumes electricity as quickly as its predecessor did gasoline. And, it may be just as popular with big-vehicle fans as before.
A format tailored to Americans’ tastes
In the United States, for many, the size of a person's wealth should be reflected in the size of the vehicle they own. The idea, for those many, is to always look to get the largest vehicle possible for the dollar invested. That helps explain why over 65,000 consumers have already left a $100 deposit to buy the pickup version of the new Hummer that is already arriving in the United States at $110,000 each for the Edition1.
In Canada, we'll have to wait until December 2022 before we see the first pickups, and the price (which has not yet been announced) will likely fall somewhere between $125,000 and $140,000. An SUV version will follow in the spring of 2023. And yes, there will be more affordable versions down the road, which will start around $90,000 CAD. “More affordable” being very relative here, of course…
Imposing in every way
The 4,082-kg weight of the Hummer EV is a bracing number right off the bat. The battery pack alone weighs in at 1,326 kg. That's like sticking a Corolla under the floor of a Suburban. Our tester is rated at 1,000 hp with over 1,250 lb-ft of torque. It has removable roof panels, an adjustable air suspension and a four-wheel steering function that allows it to move in a "crab" fashion, that is to say sideways.
In a vehicle that’s 5.5 meters long, 2.2 meters wide and 2 meters high, safe to say that space is not a problem. To give you an idea, let's say that the GMC Sierra has a little more room to move around in in the front, while the Hummer EV has a little more legroom in the back.
You also have, in the Edition1 model, four removable roof panels that make the vehicle a convertible model, especially handy for those living in, say, Florida, California or Arizona. We're worried these panels could freeze up in the winter here in Canada, though. Barring that, they can be removed in a jiffy and stored in specially designed cases in the front trunk.
Behind the wheel, the Hummer is much more manageable and drives “smaller” than its size would suggest. To that end, GMC came up with a great trick: 4-wheel steering. At low speeds, this system allows the rear and front wheels to turn. The movement ranges from 1 turn in the front to a maximum of 1.2 turns in the rear, allowing for diagonal and side-to-side movements that give this big truck a turning radius equivalent to that of a Chevrolet Sonic.
You also have the "Crabwalk" mode which allows a lateral movement of the vehicle; frankly it’s as cool and as practical as it sounds.
Among the options is a pull mode that uses the standard air suspension to raise the suspension height about 6 inches (149 mm) above the regular maximum height to help the Hummer EV negotiate extreme off-road situations such as rock climbing or fording. That air suspension, by the way, does great work making for a very comfortable ride overall. Also doing their part are the seats, which are firm but supportive, despite the fact that they are quite wide.
On the minus side, shorter people will find it difficult to get on board. The footboard becomes a necessity as does the handle inside to help slide into the cabin.
Also, the roof panels may be nice, but they're noisy once you get above 90 km/h and the 35-inch tires make their presence felt in the cabin a little too loudly, especially since there's no gas engine to muffle the noise coming from outside.
Passenger space is very ample, as are the numerous storage compartments of all kinds.
A good level of technology
GM includes its Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system as standard equipment. You also get lane keeping assist and blind spot monitoring, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode.
There are also no fewer than 18 cameras sprinkled all over and under the vehicle that give you a view all around the vehicle. This is very useful when you're off-roading to see obstacles ahead of you or rocks under the vehicle. There are even wash nozzles to clean the cameras that get filled with dust.
Inside, you have a 13.4-inch screen that serves as an infotainment display, and there's also a 12.3-inch digital dashboard. GMC enlisted the help of Epic Games, creator of the popular Fortnite video game, to produce the graphics for the infotainment interface. A host of connectivity features are standard, including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, an internet zone and GM's OnStar telematics system.
Three electric motors
The Hummer EV Edition1 has three electric motors, one in front and two in back, delivering 333 hp in the front, and 666 hp in the rear for about 1,000 hp.
Charging is both simple and complicated. It is possible to recharge on 350-kW terminals. The battery, which operates on 400 V (in two stages), is divided into two groups operating in parallel. But for charging, they can be switched to series, bringing the voltage to 800 V. You can then recover up to 160 km of range by staying connected for 12 minutes. At 400 V, going from 30 to 90 percent would take 45 minutes, suggesting a charging power of at least 150 kW.
On a Level 2 socket (240-60) GMC claims range recovery of 25.75 km per hour, or 16 km per hour on a 240-40 socket. If you don't have an outlet at home and are on 110 volts, our sympathies: GM has estimated that it will take eight days and six hours to charge your Hummer EV.
Long live free electrons
With 1,000 horses under your right foot, don’t expect to be bored. There will be less-powerful Hummer configurations in future editions, but for Edition1, Hummer went all out. You have 24 cells stacked on two 12-cell “floors” that make up the vehicle's platform.
Result? The thrust from a standstill will blow your hair back every time. Thanks to the Watts to Freedom mode, which unleashes all available power, you can move the 9,000 lb of this beast from a stop to 100 km/h in just three seconds. At first glance, it's hard to believe that such a large vehicle is so powerful and maneuverable.
As mentioned, on the road, you feel like you're driving a vehicle half its size. In off-road mode, you're able to navigate narrow trails with a large vehicle. And don't forget the air suspension, which adapts to all driving modes. It drops 50 mm when you're on the highway and offers no fewer than three cruise heights in off-road mode, plus an optional pull mode (which raises ground clearance to a total of 16 inches) to get you out of the worst situations.
The high driving position gives drivers excellent peripheral vision, and the 18 cameras in off-road mode delivers views of every corner of the road, including obstacles under the vehicle and over blind passes.
Just as the gas-powered Hummer indulged in shameless guzzling, the electric model is just as gluttonous with the electricity in its battery pack. EPA estimates are 44.6 kWh/100 km on average, with 41.1 kWh/100 km in the city and 48.7 kWh/100 km on the highway! Models like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 use almost half as much energy to sprint around.
It’s not surprising then that you need a 246.8-kWh battery (212.7 usable) to get the 530 km GMC claims as range for the Hummer EV. Mercedes' EQS model offers a similar range with a 107-kWh battery, to give you another comparison.
When you think about it, the electric Hummer is no more relevant to most drivers than its gasoline ancestor was. Just as it did in its previous life, it will still be bought mainly by people who like the statement it makes and the attention it guarantees. Yes, its off-road prowess is remarkable, but is anyone really going to mess with this 100-grand SUV on impassable trails?
Exceptional off-road capabilities
Large occupant space
Very clear graphics on the multimedia screen
Easy to drive for such a big truck
We like less
The mammoth weight of the thing
An awkward clutter
It uses electricity like there’s no tomorrow