All-electric Humvee prototype to break cover in 2022: Report

Update: “GM Defense International” section added.

The Hummer EV twins have taken the U.S. electric pickup and electric SUV market by storm, with GM accelerating production to meet rising customer demand. And GM Defense will reportedly produce an all-electric Humvee EV military prototype based on the consumer GMC Hummer EV, according to CNBC’s November 2021 report.

eLRV to use Ultium propulsion

Expect the military-spec vehicle to look quite different from the consumer Hummer EV manufactured at the brand’s Factory Zero in Detroit. Image: GMC

The brand aims to expand its EV business by developing an electric light reconnaissance vehicle, or eLRV, based on the Hummer EV, according to GM defense president Steve duMont. Additionally, the Humvee EV prototype would use the Hummer EV’s platform, including the frame, motors and Ultium battery, as confirmed by company officials. Expect the military-spec vehicle to look completely different from the consumer Hummer EV that began production at the brand’s Factory Zero in Detroit toward the end of 2021.

Kathleen Hicks, Assistant Secretary of Defense, visited GM’s technology center in Warren, Michigan in November 2021 to hear about GM Defense’s R&D on electric vehicles for the defense industry. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has stated that new regulations to deal with climate change are a top priority for the Joe Biden administration, with Hicks commenting that they are “very sold” on the idea of ​​electric cars. Additionally, Hicks stated that electrifying the tactical fleet was a no-brainer.

Military may invite bids

2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV front
Once GM develops the Humvee EV prototype (eLRV prototype), the military will conduct thorough testing and evaluation. Image: GMC

However, it remains to be seen how green this tactical fleet would be. The fleet is likely to be loaded with mobile units with generators powered by an internal combustion engine. Once GM develops the Humvee EV prototype (eLRV prototype), the military will conduct thorough testing and evaluation. The next step would be for the US Department of Defense to release detailed specifications and invite bids from several companies. The military will then select two companies to manufacture the eLRVs, which is speculated to happen by the middle of the decade.

GM Defense is not new to making vehicles for the military. Its first significant military contract was earned in 2020 for the Army’s new Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV). The ISVs were based on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, and GM Defense was awarded a $214 million contract to build these internal combustion engine vehicles. Additionally, a one-off concept was built all-electric using parts from a Chevrolet Bolt.

The original Hummer H1 was born after its military version served in the US Army for several years. The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, later known as the Humvee) was developed in 1984, and its passenger vehicle followed in 1992. This time, the evolution will be the other way around, with the Humvee EV using powertrain components from the Hummer EV and Hummer EV SUV. The military contract will be lucrative for GM Defense – they have an estimated $25 billion in potential business.

Humvee EV off-road capabilities

Count on the Humvee EV to be seriously off-road capable. Military vehicles are used in tricky conditions where off-road capability is paramount. The Humvee EV is expected to be equipped with GMC’s state-of-the-art four-wheel steering with CrabWalk to enable improved maneuverability. CrabWalk causes the front and rear wheels to turn in the same direction at low speeds for diagonal movement. In addition, the Humvee EV is also expected to have a short turning radius, similar to a mid-size SUV, to handle tight turns.

2022 Hummer EV Pickup crab walk
CrabWalk causes the front and rear wheels to turn in the same direction at low speeds for diagonal movement. Image: GMC

As for the powertrain, the Humvee EV can come with a 1,000-hp tri-motor AWD setup or an 830-hp dual-motor AWD, ensuring no shortage of power when the going gets tough between America’s military bases at home and abroad. The electric light reconnaissance vehicle can also be equipped with an extraction mode that raises the ride height to its maximum setting for crawling over large obstacles.

The Hummer EV Pickup gets 15.9 inches of ground clearance and 13 inches of suspension travel in the extract mode. It also has impressive angles of approach (49.7 degrees), departure (38.4 degrees) and break angles (32.2 degrees), making it suitable for challenging terrain such as the desert. The military could benefit from GMC’s Terrain Package which includes 35-inch OD Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires, ‘UltraVision’ with 17 camera views, underbody protection, trim controls, etc.

The Humvee EV can also come with ballistic glass and military-grade body armor to withstand blasts and bullets. With heavy armor, the eLRV could weigh significantly more than the Hummer EV, and so its chassis tuning and power output are likely to be different.

The US Army must be carbon neutral by 2050

The US Department of Defense has been vocal about the effects of climate change and has expressed the urgency of reducing emissions. In February 2022, the Army released its climate strategy outlining its efforts to address climate change in line with its modernization initiative. The Army specified three Lines of Operation (LOE) where sustainable solutions will be implemented: Installations (LOE 1), Acquisition and Logistics (LOE 2) and Training (LOE 3).

The targets include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels). The Army is also aiming for carbon neutrality, i.e. net zero emissions, by 2050. According to the United States Army Climate Strategy document (PDF), steps that enable sustainable development include electrifying its light non-tactical vehicles (NTVs) by 2027 and all non-tactical vehicles by 2035. By the end of 2020, the the army removed 18,000 fuel-guzzling NTVs while the hybrids increased by 3,000 units.

As a result, NTV fleet costs were reduced by more than $50 million, while fossil fuel consumption was reduced by 13 million gallons per year. Additionally, by 2022, the Army will install 470 charging stations, and the joint forces (Army, Air Force, and Navy) will work together to determine how to expand the charging infrastructure. The eLRV would further help the military reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

GM Defense International

GM has announced the new GM Defense International unit under its defense division. The unit will expand GM Defense’s reach beyond US borders, offering electric and autonomous vehicle and connected technology solutions to America’s international allies. The newly formed entity would be a subsidiary of General Motors, and its top management would report to GM CEO Mark Reuss.

GM Defense International’s reach would be across “North America, Europe, the Middle East, the Indo-Pacific and beyond,” according to Steve DuMont, president of GM Defense. While there is no mention of the vehicle in the announcement, the new device could help GM Defense sell the upcoming Humvee Electric to international militaries to help them reduce their carbon footprint.

We will keep an eye on the development of the electric Humvee and update the article when new information is available.

Featured image source: GMC

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