These days, the year 2010 seems lightyears in the past, not a mere decade ago, as does the demise of the Hummer brand. In its final year, General Motors desperately offered $6,000 cash rebates to anyone willing to drive a brand new H3, the burly SUV’s smaller third iteration, off of a dealer’s lot. Amidst a recessed economy and climbing fuel prices, Hummer’s death seemed entirely reasonable and completely necessary. After all, no one needs a Hummer; sales were in the tank. But that mattered little to those devoted to Hummer’s ethos of brute masculinity, patriotism, and unapologetic excess. For the faithful, Hummer’s demise was enough to make even its most macho fans, Arnold Schwarzenegger among them, shed a few tears.
Then, last year we began hearing rumblings of a Hummer revival as part of GM’s effort to bring nearly a dozen brand new electric vehicles to market in the near term. GM reps are convinced electric vehicles represent the larger company’s future, going so far as to reportedly skip a historically expected Grand Sport version of its eighth-generation Chevy Corvette in favor of a gas-electric e-Ray hybrid version instead. The Hummer EV, the Hummer name now a sub-brand of GMC, was fast tracked, with a dramatically shortened product-development schedule that was compressed to just two years from concept to production—a highly unlikely timeframe even in the best of times. Alas, these are not the best of times. Slated for a spring 2020 debut, the Hummer EV launch was postponed after lengthy GM labor strikes and that whole pandemic thing, which saw most of the Hummer EV development team working from home. But now, the wait is over, and we’ve got our first look at the 2022 GMC Hummer EV which is still on schedule to be released to dealer showrooms in fall 2021.
2022 Hummer EV: A “Supertruck” With 11,500 lb-ft of Electric Torque
What do you get when you turn over production of an electric-powered truck to long-time and highly regarded Chevrolet Camaro chief Al Oppenheiser and a team of GM performance engineers? You get Project O (“O” standing for Obtainium), or the origins of what Oppenheiser would tell us is ” …the very first electric supertruck to ever hit the market.” A supertruck? Yes, the first Hummer EV is a sport-utility truck based on GM’s new Ultium Drive architecture which sandwiches varying numbers of Ultium lithium-ion battery modules in a highly versatile “skateboard”-style platform. In a departure from form, this Hummer won’t be a body-on-frame job, as that chassis style does not having the necessary packaging for the ample battery power the 2022 Hummer EV needs.
Speaking of batteries, while various configurations will be available later, at launch the 2022 Hummer EV Edition 1 will feature GM’s 3M24 24-module battery pack powering two rear-mounted inboard electric motors with internal gear reduction, and a single front-mounted electric motor for what GM calls e4WD. The motors directly drive what Oppenheiser calls “the biggest half-shafts you’ve ever seen,” and total output from this setup is said to be roughly 1,100 horsepower and a simply staggering 11,500 lb-ft of torque (combined) at the wheels. Towing and payload figures are still being determined and aren’t expected to be issued until the Hummer EV is just about ready to launch.
Of course, Hummers aren’t known to be small, lightweight vehicles, and certainly the 2022 GMC Hummer EV will need a healthy dose of grunt just to get itself backed out of the driveway. But while GM is coy about the newest Hummer’s curb weight, the performance numbers it estimates are still impressive. How’s a 3.0-second 0-60-mph sprint sound to you? More than that, Oppenheiser says a 350-mile range is expected from the 2022 Hummer EV which will be able to take advantage of the fastest 350-kW DC chargers in operation by switching its batteries from parallel to series mode during charging. According to GM, 100 miles of range should be available in just 10 minutes of charge time. That said, home-based, plug-in Stage 2 240-volt chargers will take somewhere less than 30 hours to bring the Hummer EV from 20 percent charge to full capacity. There will also be a MyHummer app which will allow users to schedule charging at desired spots along their daily routines—the gym, grocery store, etc.—which GM hopes will eliminate down time in waiting to charge.
2022 Hummer EV: Extract, Watts-to-Freedom, and Crab Modes Explained
As is the norm these days, the 2022 Hummer EV will have drive modes for seemingly every situation. The Hummer EV’s four primary modes are Tour, Tow/Haul, Off-Road, and Terrain, the latter of which raises air suspension height by 2.0 inches. Building on that, a special Extract mode will be available for programming shortly after the truck’s launch and has the ability to lift the Hummer EV 6.0 inches on its air suspension to clear the most demanding off-road obstacles. This mode will be available only at low speeds and is designed to be used in extreme situations. Crab mode allows the Hummer EV to dial in up to 10 degrees of rear steer (from the more typical three or four degrees available with a QuadraSteer-type system) in the same direction as the front wheels, which along with torque vectoring gives a lateral “crab walk” type movement to navigate tricky rock sections or climb sideways out of soft ruts. (The Hummer EV’s four-wheel steering is also said to make parking the large-sized vehicle far easier, with an 37.07-foot turning circle.)
Remember that 3.0-second 0-60-mph time we gave you earlier? That’s only available in Watts-to-Freedom (yes, that’s WTF) mode, which drops the Hummer EV’s ride height to its lowest setting and activates a launch-control function. It comes complete with special graphics on the center display, EV sounds, roller coaster-style music, and haptic rumbling in the seats for a very theatrical experience. “It gets you ready as if you’re sitting in the capsule of a rocket ship,” Oppenheiser tells us. In other modes, GM pins acceleration at about 4.0 seconds to 60 mph. No word yet on top speed.
2022 GMC Hummer EV: Of Course It’s Off-Road Ready
Don’t let those on-road performance numbers fool you, the 2022 Hummer EV is certainly all about off-road prowess. Front and rear suspension are both independent with unequal length A-arms and air damping that is essentially a modified version of that found on the new 2021 Cadillac Escalade, with about 4.0 inches of standard adjustable travel (or up to 6.0 inches with the aforementioned Extract mode). Some 13 inches of total travel are available at all four corners, and 35-inch, 305-width Goodyear Wrangler tires are fitted, along with plenty of steel underbody skid panels for protection of batteries and motors. Oppenheiser says water crossings up to 2.5-feet deep and vertical scaling of up to 18 inches should be no trouble. In Extract mode, the 2022 Hummer EV’s approach angle increases to 60 degrees from the 44 degrees it boasts in Terrain mode. An electronic differential up front and virtual differential in the rear can be locked on demand.
The 2022 GMC Hummer EV has plenty of techy tricks as well. A package of 18 cameras dubbed UltraVision helps with all-around visibility, and a Virtual Spotter program deploys four underbody cameras—two front, two rear—to give a view of all four wheels in real time, along with a protective lens and washer system to keep a clear view in dirt or mud. Various other features give a visual impression of what the Hummer EV is doing, with the ability to display pitch and roll angles, torque-vectoring status, differential-locker engagement, torque output, tire pressure, and drift angle.
2022 Hummer EV: Upscale Design Inside and Out
Capability alone isn’t enough to sell new vehicles these days, especially electric halo models like the 2022 Hummer EV. You need a huge dollop of flash to go with the ability, and Hummer doesn’t disappoint. A stylish front end with plenty of LED lighting performs nifty welcome and departure light shows, while the vehicle’s state of charge can also be shown at the Hummer EV’s front in ice blue lighting tones, and no, those H-pattern headlights are no coincidence. A standard Infinity Roof features transparent polycarbonate Sky Panels that, together with their magnesium support structures, are removable and stowable in so-called “Pizza Boxes” in the front trunk. Combined with a rear window that lowers fully, the 2022 Hummer EV SUT becomes a full convertible, with enough rigidity built into the platform to allow it. Over 200 official accessories are said to be planned for the Hummer EV.
The design team is especially proud of the 2022 Hummer EV’s interior, which according to Oppenheiser was styled to wow people who are used to lesser GM cabins. Not only are premium vegan materials promised (no animal products here), engineers worked to upgrade the interior infotainment experience significantly with a partnership from established software powerhouse Epic Games and its Unreal Engine used for designing many of today’s most popular video games. These graphics are shown on large, high-resolution displays: There is a 13.4-inch center display and a 12.3-inch instrument panel, both suspended slightly from the dashboard. Moreover, buttons are digital and can be user-programed, -named, and even -illustrated for various extra functions (such as activating a user-owned GoPro camera). Oppenheiser calls the Hummer EV a “moon shot” vehicle, the term inspiring plenty of interior Easter eggs including floor covering that resembles a moon surface and the impression of the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility with Neil Armstrong’s boot prints found on the speaker grilles.
2022 Hummer EV: Convincing the Doubters While Keeping the Loyalists
Oppenheiser isn’t shy about unpopular perceptions of both the Hummer brand name and electric vehicles. “If you go back to 2009, the Hummer name was pretty polarizing,” Oppenheiser tells us. “You had people that either loved it or they hated it.” Detractors complained about excessive emissions, low fuel economy, and the vehicle’s military background. Hummer fans, meanwhile, were enamored with its off-road capability. GM’s plan now is to bring more potential customers into the fold.
“So, we said let’s take the name and we’ll make a believer out of everybody,” Oppenheiser recalls. “We’ll take the people who didn’t like the fuel economy and make it electric. We’ll take the people who loved the off-road capability and we’ll make it the best off-road vehicle we’ve ever done.”
As a car guy that ate, breathed, and dreamed of combustion engines, Oppenheiser was also highly aware of the challenges of marketing an electric performance vehicle to enthusiasts. “I’ve got petrol in my veins,” he says. “If I can convince myself this is something I would do, I think I represent a lot of people who are waiting to see what electric performance is all about.”
2022 Hummer EV: Production Plans
This week, the first three 2022 Hummer EV SUTs are scheduled to roll off the assembly line and immediately enter pre-production testing. Oppenheiser mentions the first will be sent for winter testing (“We only get one winter season before production,”) and the remaining two will be crawling rocks and scampering across the desert around Yuma, Arizona.
Production 2022 Hummer EV Edition 1 SUTs are slated to hit showrooms in fall 2021, roughly a year from today. GM confirms an SUV variant is also forthcoming, which we expect to launch in mid- to late 2022 as a 2023 model, though no timing has been confirmed. Production will occur at GM’s Hamtramck, Michigan, plant, which has been revamped to focus on EV production. GM will announce 2022 GMC Hummer EV pricing details closer to the production version’s launch date.
2022 GMC Hummer EV Highlights
- SUT “supertruck” body style with SUV variant to arrive later
- Edition 1 launch models to receive three-motor, 1,100-hp, 11,500-lb-ft configuration with 0-60-mph times of 3.0 seconds
- Development led by Chevrolet Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser, with many team members from Camaro and Corvette performance programs
- All-electric power with expected 350-mile range
- 100 miles worth of charge can be implemented in just 10 minutes with 350-kW fast chargers
- Special Crab, Watts-to-Freedom, and Extract drive modes add performance and capability
- Infinity Roof design transitions the 2022 Hummer EV into a full convertible
- Digital interior buttons and touchscreens with Unreal Engine graphics
- 13.0 inches of suspension travel, 35-inch tires, lockable e- and virtual-differentials
- Four-wheel steering with up to 10 degrees of rear steer in Crab Mode
- Hummer EVs expected to arrive in dealerships in fall 2021
Photo credit: Povi Pullinen