Can you imagine an automotive lineup that’s carbon neutral? GM can and plans to accomplish exactly that with the introduction of 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025. In addition to retooling their Detroit-Hamtramck facility into the EV-focused Factory ZERO, GM is gaining a competitive advantage in the market with its exclusive Ultium batteries that are meant to lower the cost of EVs around the world. It’s this technology that will power the all-new 2023 GMC Hummer EV SUV.
An electric Hummer… isn’t that an enigma of sorts? The Hummer’s gas-guzzling reputation is a challenge that GM is willing to tackle right out of the gate. A successful transformation of the fuel-dependent road warrior into a svelte and wildly capable EV will set the stage for GM’s ability to bring their vision of an all-electric future to life. But at what cost to the Hummer’s capability and performance? If everything goes according to GM’s plan, there’s no cost at all.
Under the Hood: GM’s Ultium Platform
The heartbeat of the Hummer EV SUV is GM’s Ultium platform that offers three different motors with a wide range of power and torque. At the top of the spectrum, you can expect the Hummer SUV to deliver 830 horsepower and up to 11,500 lb-ft of instantaneous torque that makes the SUV one of the most powerful and responsive SUVs to take the road. Just imagine a 3.5-second launch from 0 to 60 mph in a road warrior that was once known for being cumbersome to accelerate and, even then, guzzled fuel like it was parched in the middle of a desert.
What’s the secret to this power? GM’s Ultium platform is the first of its kind in the industry and is the result of GM’s joint venture with LG Energy Solution to develop innovative, mass-produced battery cells that cost less. GM’s goal is to make EVs more affordable to own and maintain long-term, which leads to their latest projection that Ultium batteries will soon cost 60 percent less than the current EV batteries on the road. The Ultium batteries are also modular and stackable, which means they can be outfitted in a variety of configurations and vehicles, from smaller sedans and crossovers to full-size SUVs like the Hummer.
There are plenty of reasons to question the Hummer EV SUV’s capability since it’s running off a battery pack, and the idea of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery isn’t the most thrilling adventure. So, what’s the Hummer’s battery range? What can you expect from its four-wheel drive system? Is it just as capable as a gas-powered off-road rig?
The SUV’s 20-module, double-stacked Ultium battery is projected to deliver a 300+ mile range on a full charge. However, this is without the Extreme Off-Road Package that adds various off-road components like underbody armor and rock sliders, a front eLocker and rear virtual lockers, heavy-duty ball-spline half shafts, the UltraVision underbody camera system, and the 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires. These modifications can certainly impact the SUV’s range.
Another factor to consider is that the projected 300-mile range doesn’t take into account the use of the Power Station Generator or towing a heavy load. The generator allows you to externally power equipment and accessories as well as jump charge another EV. These are great conveniences when you’re on the trail, but there’s a balance between these conveniences and having enough power to get back to civilization and to a charging station.
Features like Regen on Demand, One Pedal Driving, and Terrain Mode will likely help the Hummer conserve its battery by optimizing energy use. For example, Regen on Demand can slow the Hummer to a stop without using the brake pedal to conserve energy. One Pedal Driving maximizes energy efficiency by combining the function of the accelerator and brake pedal into one, while the Terrain Mode works behind the scenes to integrate the brake system for better control of the vehicle on rocky or other types of off-road terrain.
The real question is if an electric Hummer can deliver the same four-wheel drive capability as a fuel-powered rig. For GM, the answer is yes, and that’s because the Hummer EV SUV isn’t limited by a traditional engine, drive axles, or propulsion system. Instead, the Hummer relies on the Ultium drive system that channels power to the wheel or wheels that need it most. This makes the electric SUV more capable than ever.
This capability is heightened when you add the available Extreme Off-Road Package and features like 4-Wheel Steer with CrabWalk and the Adaptive Air Suspension with Extract Mode. CrabWalk is a revolutionary tool that off-road enthusiasts will love because it allows the Hummer EV SUV to drive diagonally, which means the SUV can squeeze in and out of tighter areas. The exclusive 4-Wheel Steer reduces the turning radius of the rear tires to 10 degrees in either direction. This means the Hummer is easier to maneuver in narrow areas and can diagonally crabwalk out of an area even at low speeds.
When you find yourself stuck in a tough spot in the Hummer EV SUV, there’s no need to hook up to the wench or bring out the shovels to dig the tires out of a muddy or dicey situation. Thanks to the Adaptive Air Ride Suspension, you can engage Extract Mode that lifts the SUV up to 6 inches to help you cross the obstacle standing in the way of your next adventure. This means even more terrain is passable, whether that means crossing boulders or fording deeper streams.
Another feature that many people disregard when it comes to four-wheel drive capability is your view of the terrain and the obstacles around the vehicle. GM adds to the Hummer’s capability by equipping the SUV with an UltraVision camera that offers 17 unique views around and under the vehicle. The underbody cameras are waterproof, with many of the cameras offering a washer function with replaceable lens protectors that keep your view clear at all times. This improves the EV’s capability because it eliminates the need for an external spotter since you can see around the EV and the trail ahead at multiple angles, even when traveling at low speeds.
Built for Adventure
Is the upcoming Hummer EV SUV built for adventure? Will it revolutionize the industry and prove that an EV can be incredibly powerful and capable as well as good for the environment? GM certainly thinks so, and the specs seem to point in that direction.
There’s no question that the Hummer EV SUV will be a far cry from its gas-guzzling predecessor not only in terms of its new electric setup but also in terms of how that electric power impacts its capability and performance. It’s hard to ignore having 11,500 lb-ft of instantaneous torque and 830 horsepower at your fingertips. It’s also hard to imagine that this level of power doesn’t run on fuel.
While its power is impressive, there are still a few other factors to consider concerning the Hummer EV SUVs range. When you’re driving in town or on the highway, the 300-mile range is enough to instill confidence since there’s a greater abundance of charging stations. However, this range can seem fairly small when you’re out on the trail or towing a heavy load where charging stations are few and far between. How will GM address these questions? Only time and technology will tell.