There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the reinvented GMC Hummer EV. It’s a pickup truck and an SUV to match with four-wheel drive and plenty of towing capacity. It has also gained attention for another reason – it has more than triple the battery capacity of other electric vehicles.
In this article, we’ll look at what EV battery capacity means in total and how the GMC Hummer EV’s specs stack up against the competition.
EV batteries: an overview
Before we get into the GMC Hummer EV’s specs, let’s talk about EV batteries. EV batteries are not the same as regular vehicle batteries.
Instead, they can be analogized to a fuel tank in a gas-powered vehicle. When you drive, you will drain the battery’s energy. When it runs out, you’ll need to head to a charging station to recharge it, usually your home charger or a dedicated charging hub.
Batteries are measured in terms of battery capacity: kilowatt hours (kWh). The more kWh a battery has, the greater its range – at least in theory. Other factors affect range as well. According to MY EV, larger vehicles eat up the battery faster than smaller ones.
Other factors that can affect it include:
- How many miles has the car driven?
- Extreme temperatures
- Drive at higher speeds
- Use AC
- Added load/tow weight
Battery capacity has a direct effect on vehicle range. Beyond these limiting factors, the higher the battery capacity, the higher the range.
The 2022 GMC Hummer EV has tripled the battery capacity compared to comparable vehicles
According to Edmunds, the 2022 GMC Hummer EV has a battery capacity of 200 kWh. For reference, this is three times or more the battery capacity of other electric cars. For example, the Nissan Leaf has a battery capacity of 62 kWh. That one is a smaller car, so it would make sense.
Well, except that the significantly larger Hyundai Ioniq 5 also has a smaller battery capacity of 77.4 kWh. So, what’s going on here? Why does the GMC Hummer EV have a disproportionately large battery capacity?
According to Car and Driver, the GMC Hummer EV has a fuel economy equivalent of just 47 MPGe. This is well below other EVs – the Ioniq 5 gets 114 MPGe. Although they are both larger vehicles, the GMC Hummer EV needs a significantly higher battery capacity to get a decent range.
Is higher battery capacity a trend?
Based on other vehicles we’ve seen, the GMC Hummer EV’s higher battery capacity isn’t an isolated incident. Edmunds states that the Ford F-150 Lightning has a capacity of 131 kWh. Edmunds also says the Rivian R1T has a capacity of 135 kWh. These are all larger and heavier vehicles, so a high battery capacity is required to get a decent range. Any lower capacity would cause them to have terrible ranges, which is both uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing when behind the wheel.
In addition to that, they also need enough capacity for special functions such as four-wheel drive and for towing/hauling materials. As mentioned earlier, vehicles with lower MPGe need a higher battery capacity to compensate.
While the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T have a higher MPGe rating than the GMC Hummer EV, they are still lower than most. The Ford F-150 Lightning gets 66 MPGe while the Rivian R1T gets 70 MPGe. The increased battery capacity makes sense considering other EVs get over 100 MPGe.
Must there be a trade-off?
Based on the mentioned specifications, you may wonder if electric cars can simultaneously have a high battery capacity and MPGe rating. The answer is yes, but only if you can afford it.
Currently, only certain electric hypercars have high battery capacity and fuel economy equivalents, and hypercars like the Rimac Nevera cost millions. As technology advances, we may see some powerful specs hit the market for mainstream electric trucks and cars.
RELATED: Gross vs Usable Battery Capacity: Why Your EV Range May Vary