Behind the wheel of the monstrous new Hummer EV

Hummer is back with a truck that is even bigger and worse than the old petrol-fuel iteration, the uber off-road car inspired by the original Army Humvee.

But this time, the Hummer EV Pickup is a 1,000 horsepower, 9,200 lb. monster packing a double-stacked 205-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The incredible power of Hummer’s triple Ultium electric motors provides a 3.0-second 0-60 mph time, while the computer-controlled air suspension and active shock absorbers give the Hummer EV an unexpected combination of agility and plush comfort on the road.

It achieves this incredible performance while delivering an EPA miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) of 47, which is roughly equal to the 49 mpg EPA rating for the four-wheel drive version of the Toyota Prius hybrid electric.

Of course, the point of the transition to electric power is to surpass the efficiency of hybrids like the Prius. And GM will do so with its new Ultium battery and driveline strategy – just not with the Hummer EV Pickup. The company will launch its onslaught of 30 new electric cars in 2025 worldwide, all of which will use parts of the modular Ultium building blocks used in their maximum configuration in the Hummer.

That’s the purpose of the massive truck: to demonstrate the ultimate capability of the technology in a halo vehicle that it can build at a measured speed and sell at a high price, while the company’s EV production matures towards the high volume of the future and affordable price models that use smaller batteries and fewer electric motors.

“[Ultium] is the platform that enables us to meet future technology developments, reduce costs and accelerate the technology development process, ”explained Mei Cai, GM’s Head of Battery Cell Research at the Hummer EV Documentary, Rotation.

“It will be the driving force for us to expand the EV platform,” she said. “Ultium is the key to our all-electric future.”

It’s a beast

The 24 battery modules in the Hummer EV Pickups Edition 1 configuration ($ 112,595 tested, with smaller versions available in 2024 with a starting price of $ 82,000) weigh more than 2,900 pounds and contribute £ 9,063. service weight (according to GM’s EPA application) for a 329-mile driving range. But other GM vehicles will use fewer modules for lower weight and cost.

An important advantage of electric cars, even those like the Hummer EV, whose efficiency is no better than that of existing gas-powered hybrids, is that the source of their electricity is the ever-greener electricity grid. This means that in some places they can already be charged by renewable sources, and such sources will become increasingly available throughout the life of the vehicle, while the Prius will burn gas until the day it goes to the big junkyard in the sky.

GM emphasized this point by charging all Hummer electric cars at the media drive event from their Hydrotec mobile fuel cells with renewable hydrogen produced.

You would never know that the Hummer weighs so much, thanks to its agility and the smooth driving that the truck’s air suspension and off-road balloon tires provide. With GM’s Super Cruise driver assistance taking over on the highway, the Hummer is even more relaxing to drive. When it comes to parking, yes, it is still more than 18 feet long and fills a space from the right line to the left.

Rear wheel steering

Rowing the Lobster to ensure that it is straight enough to squeeze into place is facilitated by the rear-wheel steering system, which was developed primarily to facilitate the truck’s maneuverability in terrain. With a four-door cab and a bed, the Hummer would be challenging to sneak around trees and other typical terrain obstacles, but the rear steering gives it the feel of a two-door SUV.

The rear steering system also communicates with the truck’s stability control system to provide advanced trailer steering. The rear steering is also practical to facilitate parking, but the technology’s party trick is the Hummer’s CrabWalk: It can slide sideways with all four wheels pointed at the same angle. This could potentially be used for parallel parking. Or to ease past obstacles in the wilderness. But it will probably mostly be used to show the gimmick to friends.

The 2022 GMC Lobster weighs around 9,200 pounds. GM

Off-road driving

In addition to having rear steering to help turn around obstacles, the Hummer EV also has precise control over its electric power supply, electric regenerative braking and friction braking to help the truck climb over obstacles. Careful application of the force to the wheels with available traction is crucial, but controlling the wheel speed while rolling down the back of obstacles also required significant engineering work.

“We had to balance torque placement and slip control, which allows you to safely climb up a rock or ledge,” says vehicle dynamics engineer Drew Mitchell. “We also use the brake control to apply mechanical brakes to give you that left foot brake feel without actually using the brake. Everything is one-pedal control.”

Experienced off-roaders know how to brake gently with their left foot to control the speed so that the truck does not crash down from the slopes of hills or the back of rocks and logs. Hummer’s engineers aimed to provide it even for inexperienced drivers.

At the same time, driving with a pedal is a typical alternative for an electric car, and the Hummer EV can drive in that position. This is when the vehicle functions like a golf cart, where stepping on the accelerator pedal causes it to go and lift off, causing it to stop, thanks to regenerative braking. But for off-road driving, Hummer’s version goes beyond that, allowing drivers to control the vehicle’s progress to inches with just the accelerator pedal, just as the gas-powered Ford Broncos’ similar system does. “It is not [typical] EV single pedal operation, which we have in all other modes, the traditional EV solution “, says Mitchell. “This is a single-pedal operation where you get off the accelerator pedal, the brakes grip and it gives you immediate deceleration.”

“We tried to make it as accessible to beginners as possible,” says Mitchell. “Many people, the first time they go off-road, left braking can be a very jerky affair. You can still brake the truck with your left foot if you want. It is a slow, gradual stop. We also have a more aggressive one if you put it in low interval.”

The result is as good as promised, with Hummer easily leaking down obstacles with just the right foot on the accelerator pedal.

The driveline

Hummer’s electric driveline is built with a single front electric motor that sends power through a lockable differential to the front wheels. There are also twin electric motors at the rear, each of which drives a wheel. These motors can be synchronized to simulate a locked differential, so that both wheels rotate at exactly the same speed.

While driving, after seeing the Lobster in front of me working a bit to climb up a cliff, I locked the rear differential (virtually) for preventative purposes, and my truck crawled up the same section without drama.

And that’s really the Hummer EV’s end result: no drama (except when demonstrating CrabWalk mode to spectators). There is no drama when driving it on the highway because it is as comfortable and agile as road-oriented vehicles. There is no drama in the terrain because the Hummer EV is fantastically capable. And there’s no drama at the gas pump, or at the charging station, as the Hummer EV has an extended range of 329 miles, fast 800-volt DC charging and enough electrical efficiency to put this bruise on par with Prius for Earth friendliness – at least when you compares new Hummers MPGe with Prius fuel efficiency.

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