- I spent a weekend with the new all-electric Hummer pickup.
- The GMC Hummer EV is ridiculously large, mind-bogglingly fast, and over-the-top in every way.
- GM loaned me a Hummer EV Edition 1, which retails for around $113,000.
General Motors’ Hummer brand died in 2010 after the financial crash put an end to sales of the big gas guzzler. Now, 12 years later, we have a new stock market route, a new potential housing bubble, and to top it all off, Hummer is back.
Only this time it’s electric.
While the GMC Hummer EV doesn’t guzzle fossil fuels or spew global-warming gases like its predecessors, it still bears heavily on the Hummer tradition of being stupidly big and outrageously over-the-top.
A lot of people criticize it for that, but that’s also what makes it so damn fun.
First the basics
GM plucked the Hummer name from the scrapyard to create a new all-electric brand under GMC 2020. The Hummer EV pickup launched in late 2021, and an SUV is on its way to 2023.
Over time, the pickup will expand to include several trucks at different price points, including an $80,000 base model. GMC starts with the $113,000 Edition 1, a fully loaded truck with 1,000 horsepower, three electric motors and a long list of oddities.
The Hummer competes with two other electric pickup trucks: Ford’s F-150 Lightning and Rivian’s R1T. It also competes with glitzy SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, because even though the Hummer has a bed and big off-road chops, odds are most buyers won’t use it that way.
What stands out: An over-the-top truck packed with cool features
Nothing about the Hummer EV is subtle. It hits you square in the face with its lean looks and flashy interior. It’s packed with outlandish features and full of Monster energy drinks, ready to show you what it can do.
The Hummer EV’s glass roof is removable, because why not? It comes off surprisingly easily with latches that lock four glass panels in place. They all stow nicely and snugly in the Hummer’s spacious front trunk. Without roof panels, the Frunk offers 11.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which rivals the trunks of some small cars.
Inside, the Hummer gets two large screens, gold-accented air vents the size of your head, and design inspired by the surface of the moon throughout as a nod to GM’s work on the Apollo 15 lunar rover. There’s more than enough headroom and legroom for passengers of most shapes and sizes, plus a sprawling central cubby big enough to fit a Thanksgiving turkey. (We have All been there.)
Cycle through the Hummer’s driving modes and you’ll see detailed, video game-like animations of the pickup truck zooming across different terrains. In off-road mode, the truck drives over the sand of Mars. In Tow/Haul it appears when pulling a rocket. Hummer adds some style to the mundane aspects of driving.
When switched into ‘Watts to Freedom’ (WTF) mode, the Hummer EV claims to hit 60mph as fast as a supercar – in an astonishing three seconds.
Even in the more muted Normal setting, which I stuck with, the Hummer is a 9,000-pound rocket ship. Stepping on the gas sends the entire truck backwards like a speedboat as it picks up speed. With the top down and the giant truck bobbing all over the place, I couldn’t help but giggle at the absurdity of it all.
Equipped with a healthy 329 miles of Environmental Protection Agency-estimated range, the Hummer does a good job of calming range anxiety. It rides comfortably and comes with Super Cruise, GM’s excellent hands-free driving feature that relieves some of the monotony of extended highway stops.
One thing I couldn’t get used to was how damn big the thing is. It’s ridiculously wide and tall, and its boxy proportions obstruct visibility in most directions. I drove with the imminent fear that I would misjudge how close I was to something – or someone – and felt the need to constantly apologize to other motorists for how much space I was taking up.
Maneuvering in tight spaces was surprisingly painless, though, thanks to the Hummer’s rear-wheel steering. At low speeds, the truck’s rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels, cutting its turning circle.
That system also enables Hummer’s most lively feature: the Crab Walk. It points the rear wheels in the same direction as the front, allowing you to drive diagonally in off-pavement settings. With plenty of ground clearance, underbody protection and plenty of torque, the EV should be incredibly capable off-road, but I didn’t get to test it.
What’s missing: New Hummer, same problem
The Hummer EV is very inefficient compared to its competitors, which is both unfortunate and on brand. It gets 47 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGe), according to the EPA. The F-150 Lightning gets up to 70 MPGe, while a high-efficiency EV like the Tesla Model 3 earns 132.
Another question about Lobster: its size. The idea that any rich enough bozo can buy a truck that weighs three Honda Civics and accelerates like a Lamborghini is frankly disturbing given the deadly epidemic of car accidents in this country.
But then again, if people always want big trucks, they might as well be run sustainably.
Our impressions: American excess, electrified
I didn’t expect to enjoy the Hummer EV nearly as much as I did. An extravagant truck that is difficult to look out of and bigger than anyone needs is just not my personal cup of tea.
But the Hummer’s futility is charming, and its capabilities are downright impressive. It’s so perfectly optimized to put a smile on your face that you can’t help but give in.