Hummer EV test drive: leave the road behind

If you’ve ever had a shopping cart that likes to travel at 45 degrees instead of in a straight line, you know what it feels like to drive the new Hummer EV in Crab Mode.

This mode is one of many new ways an electric powertrain frees up thinking and allows driving without following the rules of combustion engines and their mechanical packages.

The national was in Detroit at GM’s top-secret proving ground to sample several new electric vehicles on the way, and the priority was to jump behind the wheel of the all-new Hummer EV, which is sure to lock up the order books when it goes on sale early next year. There are no pricing indications for the UAE market yet, but it starts at $111,000 in the US.

The specifications

Engine: three three 212.7 kWh motors
Force: 1,000 hp
Torque: 15,600 Nm
Scope: 530 km
Award: Dh500,000+ estimate
For sale: beginning of 2023

Crab Mode uses its four-wheel steering to allow the car to move sideways and drive diagonally at low speed. It is ideal for clearing large rocks or obstacles in narrow gullies where the front wheels can clear, but you risk a puncture on the rear wheel.

It takes a while for the brain to accept what’s happening, but is a brilliant use of four-wheel steering that allows you to steer the rear wheels by up to 10 degrees and 1.6 degrees for every 1 degree of front steering angle. This reduces its turning circle by two meters, making it easier to maneuver than most front-wheel drive hatchbacks.

The Hummer is the first vehicle to use GM’s all-new 24-module Ultium battery architecture, which also underpins the upcoming Cadillac Lyriq and powers one motor in the front and two in the rear. It consists of two layers of vertical cell modules to offer a 24-pack unit that provides 530 kilometers of range and weighs a not inconsiderable 600 kilos. To compensate for the weight, it delivers 1,000 hp and a ridiculous 15,600 Nm of torque.

GM says it will reach 100 kilometers per hour in 3.1 seconds, which we have no doubt after our own tests with three people on board and on loose gravel cut the timing beacon in 4.9 seconds.

Hummer uses 800-volt electrical architecture with 350 kilowatts of fast charging capacity, giving a range of 160 km in 10 minutes. For buyers who do not have DC fast charging stations, the car can also be charged at standard public terminals or at home via an included adapter, although charging times are significantly slower.

The interior is deliberately utilitarian in look and feel to play off Hummer’s tough heritage.

The Hummer EV is expected to be available in the UAE in early 2023, for an estimated price of Dh500,000.  Photo: Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors

For the price, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s not as luxurious as you’d expect, but then the same could be said of rivals the Ineos Grenadier and Jeep Gladiator.

Although it’s a full-size four-door, the Hummer EV has a removable T-roof that evokes memories of some of GM’s muscle car coupes like the Pontiac TransAm of the 1970s. When in place, the clear panels look like a regular panoramic glass roof, but removing them gives the truck a convertible vibe that’s also similar to the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator.

The dashboard layout is a mix of rugged off-road Jeep style and vintage Tesla with a large 13.4-inch center screen on the mostly white-on-black fascia that features amusing moon-themed graphics. Given GM’s history as a vehicle partner for Nasa, supplying Corvettes for the Apollo 11 Moon landing crew and the Apollo 15 electric Moon rover, that’s hardly surprising.

The driver also has a 12.3-inch display that houses Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot and GM’s OnStar telematics system.

For a vehicle of this size, it felt like a nimble mid-size SUV and even – dare I say it – sporty, with the rear steering letting you hang the tail out on loose surfaces, but coming back into line with ease. The instant torque and its WTF (Watts-To-Freedom) performance mode simply redefine the parameters of off-road vehicle acceleration.

We didn’t get a chance to take it on a tight road, so freeway speeds and wind noise remain a question mark given its T-top, giant 35-inch all-terrain Goodyear tires and large side mirrors, but off-road, it was an eye-opener .

The Hummer is the first vehicle from GM’s ambitious $35 billion investment to sell one million electric cars annually by 2025 by releasing more than 30 new electric cars during that time. The big SUV opened GM’s Factory ZERO, the Hamtramck-Detroit Assembly Centre, after a $2.2 billion makeover to build all-electric trucks that include the Silverado and Sierra Denali EVs

Updated: 18 August 2022, 06:05

The specifications

Engine: three three 212.7 kWh motors
Force: 1,000 hp
Torque: 15,600 Nm
Scope: 530 km
Award: Dh500,000+ estimate
For sale: beginning of 2023

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