I used to hate Hummers. I thought of them as the monsters of the car world with their overly aggressive exterior, noxious fuel economy, and frightening lack of side airbags and child seat tethers. I couldn’t understand the Hummer’s mass appeal. I rode in one, once. A friend’s dad rented an H1 and took us for a drive so we could see what all the hullabaloo was about. I sat alone in the dim backseat, feeling oddly far away from everyone else. Everything about the Hummer seemed cold and oversized, and every bump we hit made my head bobble. I couldn’t see a thing and captured only bits and pieces of the conversation being had up front. By the end of the drive, I was unimpressed and have since held firmly to the belief that the Hummer is the most overrated SUV of all time. Until recently, that belief has been unshaken, but the new 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup might just be impressive enough to change my attitude.
A Brief History of HUMMER
If you’re looking for someone to blame for the woeful Hummer, blame Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently, he was so enamored with the Humvees he saw in a military procession that he reached out to AM General in order to get his hands on one. Thus, the Hummer was born.
The Hummer’s place of birth is an assembly plant in Mishawaka, IN, where AM General manufactures military and commercial vehicles. The Hummer was created as a civilian version of AM General’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee), which began production in 1984 and is still made today. In 1992, AM General began production for the Hummer and in 1998, GM bought the rights to the Hummer name. GM’s take on the Hummer included the H1 (AM General’s design), H2, and H3. The H2 is a larger Hummer offered in SUV and pickup body styles. The H3 is a more compact version.
The Hummer became famous, partly due to several celebrity endorsements and partly due to its sheer hugeness. It was hard not to take note of the vehicle. Its sales steadily grew for years, but in the early 2000s, inflating gas prices called into question the practicality of such a vehicle. By 2007, the Great Recession was in full swing, and the verdict was out: the Hummer was definitely not a practical vehicle, and maybe we overestimated how cool it was in the first place. In 2010, the love officially ran out, and the Hummer line was discontinued. It took its place in car history as a joke. The best a Hummer could hope for was being stretched into a pink limousine, with no purpose other than toting around bands of drunk wedding parties.
The original Hummer had its fair share of flaws, but perhaps most damaging was its notoriously poor fuel efficiency. Per the EPA, an early 2000s Hummer’s combined city and highway fuel economy is a meager 15 MPG. Combine that with soaring gas prices and increasing public awareness of climate change, and the Hummer was losing favor even faster than it ran out of gas.
The Hummer EV addresses this issue by ditching gas altogether for a good, clean, electrically-powered Ultium battery. What’s more, its range is actually good, too. According to GM, the 2022 Hummer EV Pickup gets up to 350+ miles on a full charge. Adding to the practicality is the fact that 800v DC fast charging is an available option, meaning the pickup can get around 100 miles worth of juice in 10 minutes. GM also scrapped the overtly-militaristic aesthetic. While the Hummer H1 looked eerily similar to Humvees, the Hummer EV pickup has a friendlier style. Its edges are softer, and the overall look is cleaner. The light bar that displays the charging level is a nice touch of electric sophistication, too. It’s plenty brawny without being over the top, making for a Hummer that feels more mature than its predecessor.
A few things about the Hummer haven’t changed. It still takes up an incredible amount of space with massive proportions; the wheelbase for the 2022 Hummer EV Pickup is 135.6 inches and the total length is 216.8 inches. Both the Hummer H1 and the new Hummer EV have off-roading chops, although the latter is much improved in that arena. For off-roading, the best of what the original Hummer had to offer was powered by a turbodiesel Duramax V8. At its height, it got 300 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque, power enough to handle unfriendly terrain.
However, the Hummer EV pickup makes these numbers look like child’s play, especially when operated in “Watts to Freedom” mode, designed to maximize acceleration from a stop. According to GM, the process goes something like this: when engaged, the vehicle will lower 2 inches, and a g-force meter pops up on the display. I imagine this feeling is something like the drop in your stomach right as the rollercoaster crests a hill. Then, the driver smashes the accelerator, and the Hummer EV pickup soars from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds with the help of 1000 hp and a pavement-ripping 11,500 lb-ft of torque.
That’s not the only trick the new Hummer has up its sleeve. CrabWalk and Extract Mode are likely to get the vehicle out of a sticky situation or two. When in Extract Mode, the Hummer’s air suspension will rise 6 inches, allowing it to cross over large obstacles. When CrabWalk is engaged, all four tires can turn, enabling the vehicle to drive diagonally. It’s odd to see and use at first, but useful. The full underbody armor and 35-inch tires are the frosting on top of the cake.
Tantalizing Technology and Futuristic Features
Technology is the focus of the 2022 Hummer EV pickup, placing it amongst the ranks of EVs that feel like vehicles with a little bit of spaceship mixed in. Even the interior has moon-themed color schemes, and two huge screens complimented by high-def graphics will greet passengers as they climb aboard. For its debut model year, all Hummer EVs will come equipped with GM’s premium features like Super Cruise, a Multipro Tailgate, and Ultravision. It will also have Regen on Demand and One-Pedal Driving available, in which drivers use just the acceleration pedal to start and stop, maximizing regenerative braking. Additionally, there are all-new features that are unique to Hummer EV, like the aforementioned Watts to Freedom, CrabWalk, and Extraction modes and the infinity roof with transparent, removable panels that offer varying levels of exposure to the elements.
The New Hummer: A Pillar of Progressiveness?
The last vehicle that you ever thought would get electrified has taken the EV market by storm, and the results are impressive to behold. The new Hummer EV has more to offer than just its size, and in the wake of a rapidly changing market, it’s an exciting example of what the future of vehicular travel will look like. Even though the Hummer EVs have yet to be delivered, it’s safe to say I’ve been won over. After all, if the Ozone Layer can heal, the rift between me and the Hummer probably can too.