Arnold Schwarzenegger once famously said, “I’ll be back” and then proceeded to drive a truck into a police station. Just like the Terminator, the GMC Hummer is back, and it seems unstoppable and indestructible. One item of the biggest automotive news of this year has been the announcement from GMC that it is bringing back the Hummer, so fans of GMC SUVs should get excited.
However, the news gets better as the Hummer will be the first all-electric supertruck in automobile history. This means that for the 2021 model year, fans of GMC SUVs will have the opportunity to buy one of the most iconic vehicles ever made, but this time one that won’t kill you at the gas pump. The Hummer EV is poised to join GMC’s fantastic lineup of SUVs. This includes the crossover Terrain, the three-row Acadia that seats up to 7 passengers, the full-size Yukon with seating for up to 9 passengers, and the supersized Yukon XL. Each of these is built with the strength and power one expects from GMC, and features the Denali trim that is the ultimate in luxury and performance for an SUV in its class.
The concept of the civilian Hummer supertruck came out of the Humvee all-purpose infantry vehicle employed by the US Armed Forces in Operation Desert Storm back in 1991. AM General owned the rights and introduced the first Hummer for the 1996 model year. These came with four body types: an open-top for convertible buffs, a two-door hardtop, a four-door hardtop with a larger back seat, and a wagon with an expanded open payload. While these first Hummers were powerful, they had terrible fuel economy and were sluggish, taking a full 16 seconds to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour.
General Motors acquired the Hummer brand from AM General in 1999 and continued to produce the original model under the name Hummer H1. These first generation Hummers were built for off-roading with full-time all-wheel drive, a ground clearance of 16 inches, 36-inch tires on 17-inch aluminum wheels, and a fully independent suspension. The Hummer H1 utilized a 6.5-liter diesel engine with a 4-speed transmission to produce a surprisingly low 195 horsepower. General Motors continued producing Hummer H1s until the 2006 model year.
Looking to expand the market, General Motors introduced the Hummer H2 in time for the 2002 model year. The only design initially offered was a four-door with a large hatchback trunk. GM added one with a pickup payload for 2005 designated as the Hummer H2 SUT for sport utility truck. The H2 utilized a smaller 6.0-liter engine that produced more horsepower than the engine on the H1, a full 316 horsepower that was increased in subsequent model years to 393 horsepower. This allowed the H2 to 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds. These continued to be produced until the 2009 model year.
The final generation of the Hummer was the Hummer H3, introduced in time for the 2006 model year. This had a smaller profile than the H1 and H2, utilizing a lighter engine as well, a 3.5-liter inline-5 with a 4-speed automatic transmission. This engine produced 220 horsepower and 225 pounds-feet of torque. As a result of the smaller engine and lighter vehicle, the Hummer H3 featured improved fuel economy over the two prior generations, with 16 miles per gallon.
However, performance continued to be a problem with the H3 only able to go 0 to 60 miles per hour in 11 seconds. Still, the Hummer H3 continued the off-road tradition for the model, featuring 9.1-inches of ground clearance, skid plates to protect critical parts of the undercarriage, full-time four-wheel drive, and 32-inch all-terrain tires. An off-road suspension package was also offered with larger 33-inch tires, a locking rear differential, and a different transfer case to improve traction.
Despite all of this history, General Motors decided to discontinue the production of the Hummer in the 2010 model year. Gas prices had spiked, and the 2008 economic recession had put a squeeze on sales of large vehicles in general and the Hummer in particular. At the time, it seemed like we had seen the last of the Hummer, not unlike all the times the Terminator, but alas, the model is back again.
A New Hummer for a New Generation
People today seem more concerned about environmentalism, sustainability, and fuel economy than folks did over a decade ago. Maybe we are all just more environmentally conscious or simply more cautious now. Whatever reason it may be, drivers are increasingly interested in alternative energy vehicles. This explains why it seems that every automaker is coming out with electric vehicles, hybrid engine options on existing vehicles, and trucks that have a diesel option. GMC is no different.
The engineers at GMC understand the need to provide trucks and SUVs that meet the desires of their customers for large vehicles that can accommodate large numbers of passengers while carrying and towing heavy cargo, and the needs of those same drivers for better performance and enhanced fuel economy. This is probably why the decision was made to make the 2021 Hummer an electric vehicle rather than just trying to boost fuel economy on a gas engine.
The days of electric vehicles being only cramped subcompacts or undersized sports cars are long over. Today, GMC has shown that it can take a large SUV and make it fully electric. This is where the 2021 Hummer EV comes back. The Hummer EV will be the first all-electric supertruck with zero emissions. One of the biggest knocks on the original Hummers was that they were gas-guzzling beasts that polluted the environment. This is not the case with the Hummer EV.
The other big knock on the three original generations of the Hummer was engine performance. The Hummer H2 was the only model that could go 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds. Those days are over. The all-new Hummer EV will be able to do that in an estimated 3 seconds. This is better than most so-called sports cars. How can a monster SUV with this much size beat a performance coupe off the red light? Two ways.
First, the Hummer EV’s electric powertrain produces an estimated 1,000 horsepower. Keep in mind that the GMC Sierra 3500HD with the optional 6.6-liter V8 Turbo-Diesel engine produces 445 horsepower representing the largest number in the current GMC vehicle lineup. That means that the Hummer EV has more than double the horsepower of any vehicle currently manufactured by GMC. This is why this super truck can power off the light in the blink of an eye.
Second, the Hummer EV is estimated to produce up to 11,500 pounds-feet of torque. Again, the GMC Sierra 3500HD is currently the top torque producer in the entire GMC lineup with the ability to produce up to 910 pounds-feet of torque. If the figures prove out, the GMC Hummer EV will provide over twelve times as much torque as the next vehicle available from GMC. That should allow the Hummer EV to tackle any off-road trail with ease, give you incredible towing power, and allow for an all-wheel drive with incomparable traction.
Even with an all-electric motor, the Hummer EV will still harken back to the original open-top Hummer models built by AM General, showing real attention to tradition. The design will feature an open-air design allowing you to easily remove the four side panels and front T-bar, making the Hummer EV the biggest open-air vehicle on the road when it makes its debut in the fall of 2021.
Some of the most iconic things in life never seem to go away. The Terminator came back, and so has the Hummer. Just like the Terminator that led to the superior sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the original three generations of Hummer have led to the incredible Hummer EV, soon to come crashing into a GMC dealership near you.