A faded voice crackles over the stereo. “Countdown to launch in T-minus 10, 9, 8…” it begins, as the immortal words of Neil Armstrong echo in your mind. “7, 6, 5, 4…” it continues, while your eyes scan around amidst the tension and you see the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility all around you. “3, 2, 1, launch!” the voice declares, and you thank yourself for pulling up this fun little audio track and timing it up with the launch control feature on your brand-new GMC Hummer EV as you’re thrust back in your seat, blazing through 60 mph in under 4 seconds. “Have a nice flight, Commander,” the crackling voice says before the old Apollo launch recording ends. You smile to yourself as you settle into cruising speed; up ahead, up above, and all around, the cloudless sky is filled with endless stars. Are you going to the movies or headed for the Moon? In the GMC Hummer EV SUV and GMC Hummer EV Pickup, it feels like you could do either.
Hummer to the Moon
The all-new GMC Hummer EV is not the world’s first electric pickup truck, but it does lay claim to the title of “first electric supertruck.” With huge power, long-range, ground-breaking tech and capability, plus quality to warrant the six-figure starting price, the 2022 Hummer EV Pickup is a revelation poised to dominate the upcoming wave of electric trucks from Tesla, Rivian, and even Ford. Internally, the engineering team – led by Al Oppenheiser, also responsible for the current Camaro ZL1 1LE – viewed the zero-emissions vehicle project as a “moonshot.”
Interior and graphics designers took this association and ran with it. The two-tone interior design themes, named “Lunar Horizon” and “Lunar Shadow,” feature the GM staple Jet Black color as a base and fascinating Tech Bronze accents, which recall the design of lunar landers and rovers. “Horizon” is highlighted by a Light Gray that’s a perfect color match to the full moon, while the Taupe of “Shadow” takes a more subtle approach, achieving a two-tone style without being flashy about it. Graphics on the massive digital dashboard screens feature lunar rover themes as well, and the signature Watts to Freedom launch control mode features audio built around a pre-launch countdown theme (unrelated to the scenario portrayed at the start of this post).
The lunar theme of the Hummer EV doesn’t even end there! Take a closer look at the speakers to observe a topographical map of the Moon’s famous Sea of Tranquility, a map that you’ll also find on the cargo floor in the rear of the SUV! The more you look around, the more Moon-related Easter eggs you’ll find, which brings an incredibly refreshing spirit of fun to the new supertruck.
A Long-Term Release Plan
It’s no surprise that GM wants to hype their huge new high-performance electric off-roader. But the SUV version has been announced as a 2024 model – that’s two years away as of the time of writing! Not only that, the Pickup that has been released as a 2022 model is currently limited to its top trim, with the full lineup only rolling out over the next two years as well. What gives?
Well, for starters, it’s because the Hummer EV is being built in Factory Zero, a repurposed Detroit-Hamtramck plant that’s been dedicated for EV production. It’s also related to the use of the Ultium battery system, introduced on the Cadillac LYRIQ and Chevy Bolt EUV, and an all-new platform built around this powerplant. Rather than spending a decade developing every last iota of the supply chain before releasing the car a la Toyota, GM would prefer to get at least a few Hummers out there now to spread the news and build up hype at the same time that they work on their capacity.
The result is a very limited run of 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickups in top Edition 1 trim, released in Fall 2021. It features every bell, every whistle – or at least it will, as some features like the signature Extract Mode are apparently destined to be included in over-the-air software updates – and is powered by the most bonkers version of the Ultium powertrain that GM has planned, a three-motor, 1,000 hp, 11,500 lb-ft of torque system capable of a 3.0 second 0-60 time and a 350-mile range. Those in the know have deduced that this insane torque number is essentially measured at the motor, while most models report torque measured at the ground – still, the Hummer is expected to put between 1,000 and 1,200 lb-ft down to the dirt, which remains a monstrous figure.
After this short run, we’ll have to wait another year to get the 2023 model, which expands the lineup downwards to the slightly detuned EV3X trim, and then wait again until early 2023 to get the EV2X trim which drops a motor and about $10k off the price again. It won’t be until Spring 2024 that the base EV2 is officially on sale.
That’s because GM is delaying the SUV Edition 1 until the 2024 model year – but they’re starting that model year early in 2023, leading to a very long model year that gives them time to roll out the other trim levels by Summer 2024. By then, the entire lineup will be out – but the hype, and the ability to reserve one, are already very, very real today.
Pickup vs SUV – a Genuine Trade-off
The biggest question one needs to be asking when weighing the decision of which electric supertruck to get is what are the differences between the two body styles? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is “quite a lot!” The first and most obvious is that the Edition 1 Pickups come exclusively in Lunar White Metallic, while the SUV Edition 1 has Moonshot Green Matte. But looking at the two side by side shows another significant distinction – the size!
The pickup is the longer of the two by 20”, and the SUV’s wheelbase is nearly 9” shorter too. The follow-on effects of this architectural change are remarkable! First off, the handling characteristics and off-roading metrics change. The SUV’s turning circle is 35.4’ vs 37.1’ for the truck, and the SUV has significantly improved breakover and departure angles, reaching as high as 34.4 and 49 degrees, respectively, vs 32.2 and 38.4 degrees for the Pickup.
Though it’s clearly the more maneuverable of the two, the SUV isn’t the hands-down superior vehicle – the shorter wheelbase is also a curse. That’s because the Ultium battery pack is an integrated part of the chassis in between the wheels – so the shorter wheelbase means a smaller battery, which directly impacts the driving performance of the Hummer EV SUV. Power maxes out at 830 hp, leading to a relatively pedestrian 3.5 second 0-60 time vs 3.0 for the truck, and the total energy reserves mean the estimated range is only 300 miles compared to the truck’s 350.
The easiest way to frame the question is, “Which will impact your experience more – range and sheer power, or maneuverability and size?” Beyond that, the greatest difference is the cargo area in the back – obviously, the SUV has no truck bed, but it does have an 82 cubic feet cargo hold with the rear seats folded flat and a spacious hidden storage area beneath the Moon map floor.
It’s hard to think of the Jeep Wrangler, or even the new Ford Bronco, as a competitor to the Hummer EV, but if you’re the off-roading sort, the Hummer EV SUV is absolutely part of the conversation. It’s just that the Hummer costs about twice as much as high-trim variants of other benchmark off-roading SUVs. But depending on where you’re trying to go, the Hummer could be the better option!
The elephant in the room is size and bulk. The 9,000 lb Hummer EV is 12.9” wider than a Wrangler, so particularly narrow trails could be problematic. Besides that, though, features and performance metrics favor the Hummer EV 100%. The Infinity Roof can be almost entirely removed and carried onboard for an open-air experience. Rear-wheel steering not only tightens the turning circle – it also enables the diagonal CrabWalk mode, helping the Hummer EV navigate tricky situations where conventional turning just doesn’t work for the big beast. 35” tires provide tremendous ground clearance, to begin with, and then the special Extract Mode – which pumps up the Adaptive Air Ride suspension by almost 6” – literally takes it to another level.
The final numbers blow a Wrangler Rubicon away. The 43.9-degree approach, 37-degree departure, and 22.6-degree breakover angles of Wrangler are handily beaten by the Hummer SUV even without Extract Mode engaged (you would be looking at 44.3-degree approach, 41.8-degree departure, and 27.1-degree breakover angles). However, with this awesome feature in use, the Hummer EV – in truck or SUV form – could practically crawl over the Jeep, with specs of up to 49.7-degree approach (49.6 SUV), 38.4-degree departure (49 SUV), and 32.2-degree breakover (34.4 SUV).
The Hummer EV Is Cleared for Launch
Nearly everyone has heard some of the mind-boggling performance numbers and seen the almost-comically futuristic special features of the new Hummer EV in videos online, but GMC’s electric supertruck is more than a power and tech gimmick. It dwarfs its off-roading competition and out-performs them on all but the narrowest of trails. It offers a genuine performance trade-off between the two body styles – Pickup and SUV – and a pervasive lunar theme that’ll thrill anyone who’s ever been enthralled by the story of the space race. It’s worth waiting for and simultaneously too exciting to keep from the public for long, leading to an unusually protracted release schedule that at least gives us a taste of the electrified future today. Without a doubt, the new GMC Hummer EV SUV and pickup are poised to show that GM has undeniably delivered on their moonshot.