What is the best electric car for battery fans?

Top Gear Advice

The new GMC Hummer needs extra batteries to move its batteries, but surprisingly doesn’t go very far

Obviously more battery means more range in the first place – it stands to reason that more electricity will propel your e-motor over a longer distance. Although there is also an inescapable negative exponential relationship between battery and range. That is, you don’t get the same value from adding more cells to an already fat collection.

The same amount that gets you a few extra miles early on will barely struggle to drag you a few feet once you’ve got several hundred pounds of the stuff sloshing around under the floor.

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Once you get over 100kWh battery you need something ridiculous like a Hummer to drive that much. That’s why the ridiculous new GMC Hummer comes with a 213kWh battery. Of course, you’d need a massive battery and a giant e-motor just to get a Lobster-sized EV to move at all, not so much a chicken and egg situation as a snake trying to eat itself.

Just for context, that battery weighs over 1,200kg, which is more than the Alpine A110 that Top Gear currently has in its long-term test garage. But obviously it is Lobster that is the green option. What a time to live in.

At some point, hopefully before someone looks at the Hummer EV and thinks it’s a good idea worth stealing, the auto industry will have to move past its obsession with battery packs so big they generate their own gravitational fields and instead focus on efficiency.

Sadly for GMC, it appears to have lost this battle before the opening shots have been fired at it, as building a Hummer comes with certain expectations. And so through a series of its own bad choices, the company finds itself making a moderate fuss out of the extra engineering it’s been forced to come up with just to make the Hummer a halfway viable proposition for things like roads.

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Take the “crab walk” feature that makes the Hummer EV a “champion of maneuverability,” according to GMC. A turning circle of 10.8 meters is certainly a delightful achievement, but that’s thanks to the hard work of an undoubtedly sizable team of engineers who have come up with a beefy solution that means all four giant wheels can steer in different directions (left and right).

Now the other, easier, solution is simply to get a smaller car. Something more appropriate. But if you start with the premise of needing a huge multi-ton SUV and making it electric, it’s going to be tough.

However, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where a Hummer really is the sensible choice. There are better SUVs, more luxurious SUVs and stronger statements you can make. It would be much better for American soldiers if they were ferried around in Chrysler Voyagers. Or something that holds more than four people.

And who can roll around with 11,500 lb ft of torque on tap when there are people in the world who have no torque? The only advantage I can see with the Hummer is that it will charge other EVs at a rate of 6kW. You could park one on every street and get people to pay to charge their own cars from it, a genuine humanitarian service.

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However, we are on the verge of a major geopolitical shift, and the Hummer EV is at the forefront. If America embraces these things with its usual gusto, drivers will be hungry for their kilowatt hours. How long before they start looking greedily at Norway and its hydropower riches? I would start to feel nervous.

Best Electric Car for Battery Manufacturers – GMC Hummer EV
Award:
$105,595
Scope: 300 miles
Engine: 838 hp e-motors
Battery: 213 kWh
Top speed: 106 mph
0–60 mph: 3.5 sec
Starting space: 2,316 liters

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