Hummer “super truck” has landed

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Morristown, Southwest Extreme Triangle, AZ – You could call it crass Americanism in a plus package of four tons, or GM’s most advanced EV technology to date. You could easily claim it as the company’s fastest yet most adventurous all-terrain vehicle ever, and again be accurate at both extremes.

Or you could simply call the 2023 GMC Hummer EV pickup a super truck, as GM does, because it can somehow do it all. Even including reviving the dormant Hummer brand, taking its reputation for huge off-roaders with no regard for a voracious gas appetite and turning it into a GMC sub-brand that suddenly uses no gas whatsoever.

Not only has the Hummer EV become GM’s first electric pickup, but it’s become an expensive test bed of off-road technology plus straight-line hooliganism with the Watts to Freedom (WTF) launch mode, all with a new rebellious mix of fun and brashness meant to be the EV for pickup owners who previously did not trust electric cars.

The Hummer brand, which GM discontinued as part of its Chapter 11 filing and corporate restructuring in 2009, has now been resurrected as a premium electric sub-brand of GMC, positioning itself above its Denali vehicles to new six-figure price and performance heights. US Hummer buyers got the first Hummer EV Edition 1 models in December 2021, starting at $110,295 (US), but it will be December of this year when the 2023 Edition 1 models are expected to land in Canada.

No official Canadian prices have been announced at the time of writing, but a related Google Canada search has turned up strangely unattributed Edition 1 prices of ‘CA$125,898’, with future Hummer EV 2 models starting at $88,898, then up from there for the 2X ( $104,898) to 3X for $119,398. Take all of these with a grain of salt, but they’re roughly in line with similar pricing steps being announced now between the US versions, with the most expensive models slated for production first.

The fully loaded Version 1s we sampled just outside Phoenix were packed with all the off-road toys available, including four-wheel steering that allows the tires to turn at opposite angles to tighten the turning circle to subcompact Chevy Sonic levels. The available CrabWalk mode allows all four tires to turn in the same direction at low speeds for diagonal crab-like movement.

It seemed like a gimmick when we tried back and forth in a paved parking lot, but less so when a colleague happened to park a little too close to the edge of a trail at the top of a steep hill right in front of us. The sideways-leaning pickup probably could have steered out of the situation normally, but CrabWalk mode immediately helped him push the super-wide and heavy truck’s rear end out of the way at the same time as the front.

The sheer size of the Hummer EV deserves special mention here, as it managed to bridge the many full-size pickups we passed on the way to and from the off-road tracks, including a new Ford F-150 Raptor, whose driver sat slightly lower than in this 5.5-meter and 2.38 meter wide mega pickups. The Hummer EV weighs a total of 4,110 kg (9,063 lb), compared to an electric F-150 Lightning’s curb weight of 6,590 lb with the larger, extended-range 131 kWh battery.

This massive weight makes the Hummer’s dynamic off-road and on-pavement capabilities even more of an engineering marvel. The beefy hydraulics of the air suspension are clearly visible behind the Hummer’s massive wheels in all their industrial-strength glory, able to raise and lower its body and colossal 1,325 kg (2,923 lb) battery to four different levels, giving the Hummer up to 40.4 cm (15 .9) inch) ground clearance in full extension position.

So yes, the useful 205kWh battery alone weighs as much as an entire Honda Civic or Mazda3.

Fortunately, the low-mounted Ultium battery has some serious off-road protection, with five skid plates, two underbody shields and rocker controls that came in handy on the off-road trails we tackled in the cactus-filled Arizona desert. GM bravely took these expensive super trucks into tight areas with large boulders and sharp rocks, areas where battery protection was much appreciated in one particular section that put a small dent in the passenger side steps of our Hummer. There was also only one flat tire in the group during a full day of off-road driving.

To avoid such dangers, Hummer offers an UltraVision system with 18 camera angles, including undercarriage that can even be displayed on a split screen with front and rear views combined with a top view, which we found very useful for off-roading as a virtual spotter . These underbody cameras can even wash themselves free of debris or dust and are positioned in a way that helps protect them from damage.

Before taking the Hummer off-road, we also had a chance to experience the Hummer’s famous Watts to Freedom acceleration mode. Essentially a launch control feature, it requires a double tap of the traction control button before it creeps down and sends the beast from rest to 60 mph (96 km/h) in a GM-estimated three-second flatness—an incredible number for any vehicle, but a crazy one for a truck this big and heavy. And it felt like a 3.0 second car from the inside.

Output is a smooth 1,000 hp and 1,200 lb-ft of torque from the triple engine setup (one front, two rear). The full 24-module dual-stack Ultium battery in the fully loaded Edition 1 Hummer EV pickup can provide a total range of up to 529 km, GM says, a figure that was also indicated on the dash when fully charged.

There will also be an SUV version of the Hummer EV arriving as a 2024 model, which is scheduled to appear in full production form in 2023, although the range-topping version will be limited to a 20-pack module, meaning it “only” will top out at 853 hp and roughly 300 miles of range.

On the road, the Edition 1 pickup feels quick, but not amazingly quick, even when accelerating hard onto freeway on-ramps, which you’d think would be more impressive than initially, since all that mass is already moving at that point. Without sport mode, the face-shattering acceleration doesn’t come nearly as often as one might expect, or hope. It just feels more like a four or five second car, compared to a three second car, unfortunately.

We went off the beaten path in the Hummer EV to put this largest Ultium pack to the fast charging test. We were impressed by how the native Navi system not only told us where the nearest charging stations were, but also noted them as fast or very fast – which is a crucial criterion on a road trip when you have a huge 205 kWh battery to charge up. on the way.

To this end, the Hummer is one of the few electric cars that does pre-conditioning flawlessly to speed up fast charging: it will automatically warm up the battery when you select a DC fast charger to help reach its maximum charging speed of 350 kW as possible, or there is it a manual way to turn on preconditioning, if you know where you’re going and don’t want to put it in Navi (or the fast charger isn’t listed yet on the wireless updatable maps).

Unfortunately, the Navi system does not give you the specific charging speed of nearby chargers in question. So while the Electrify America station on our route was listed as the fastest in the area, we realized when we pulled in that it only had a 150-kilowatt charger, which didn’t have the ability to demonstrate the Hummer’s 350kW max charging speeds. But almost as soon as we pulled in, with a 24 percent charge, the Hummer started pulling 143 kW and stayed right at the charger’s maximum charging speed as if the Hummer was barely breaking a sweat, replenishing electrons at a speed of 383 km per hour.

However, this is much slower than the 160 km possible in 10 minutes that GM quotes on a 350kW DC fast charger. And if the dash speed was correct, that would mean adding 100 miles would take closer to 30 minutes on the more common but slower 150kW DC fast chargers. This was in near ideal 25C temperatures too, so it will be something to test again on a proper charger with more time at home.

The playful side of Hummer’s personality hinted at by the WTF mode can also be seen in the many small Easter egg design details in and around the vehicle. Nice touches like a small Hummer at the base of the windshield, front speaker grilles patterned to represent the surface of the moon, and a footprint integrated into the driver-side Bose speaker only, a tip of the hat to both GM’s involvement in building the next lunar rover and the Hummer EV as a moonshot jumps into a new electric era for the company.

The fun continues with the Infinity roof, which consists of clear and impressively lightweight removable panels, which can then be stowed away in the massive powered front boot to make it a sunshine-friendly convertible.

Overall, the GMC Hummer EV is a thankless foreign play for an EV destined to shatter stereotypes of what electric vehicles are, and a high-water mark of technology in both off-road, on-road, and EV capabilities. There’s enough technology and features to talk about for days, but it’s perhaps the clearest four-wheeled proof that this is indeed GM pushing its technological limits as far as possible.

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