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Hummer is back to lead GM’s electric charge

Stephen Ottley

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Monday 26th October, 2020 - 11:54am

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The all-new GMC Hummer EV

Hummer is back. And it’s a very different beast.

The brand made famous as the US Army’s vehicle of choice has returned to life as a flagship electric vehicle. And the establishment of General Motors Specialty Vehicles leaves the door open for it to eventually make its way to Australian roads.

General Motors has teased the return of Hummer for a long-time, confirming its return with a Super Bowl ad earlier this year, but now the covers have come off and the new pick-up manages to blend classic Hummer traits with an all-new electric powertrain.

While General Motors established Hummer as a standalone brand between 1999 and 2010, this time it’s back as a model under the GMC brand; the GM’s pick-up and SUV brand that’s positioned as a premium alternative to Chevrolet.

While it may have dumped internal combustion GMC hasn’t made the Hummer soft, insisting that it remains a capable, go-anywhere off-roader like the original.

“We had one goal for Hummer EV: Build the most capable factory truck – ever,” explained Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer. “It’s an absolute off-road beast with a unique e4WD drive system that provides maneuverability unlike anything GM has ever offered before.”

The new GMC Hummer EV debuts General Motors Ultium Drive powertrain

To achieve that GMC has developed a new electric powertrain dubbed, Ultium Drive. It features three electric motors that power two drive units (one on each axle) to create the electric four-wheel drive (e4WD).

GMC claims the theoretical output of this new system is a whopping 745kW of power and massive 15,590Nm of torque. That’s enough to launch this massive beast from 0-100km/h in just 3.0 seconds according to the company.

Power for the electric motors comes from an 24-module battery pack that provides a claimed range of more than 560km. The Ultium battery is capable of taking 800-volt fast charging, which means 160km of range can be added in just 10-minutes.

GMC is launching the new model with the “fully-equipped” Hummer Edition 1, which will come standard with adaptive damping, drive mode controls and the removable roof.

It will also be equipped with GM’s latest version of its autonomous driving system – Super Cruise. It’s capable of self-driving for short periods under the right circumstances (e.g. in clearly marked lanes) and GM claims the system has managed more than 300,000km of driving so far; having debuted on the Cadillac CT6.

The new GMC Hummer EV has a removeable roof for open-air off-roading

The Hummer EV and the Ultium Drive is part of General Motors’ push towards an electric future with battery-powered models set for Chevrolet and Cadillac as it aims to sell 5 million EVs by 2030. GM is so serious about EVs that there have been suggestions that if the Camaro sports car is to be continued it’s most likely to swap its V8 for an electric motor; with confirmation its factory is being converted to build EVs.

The Hummer EV is set to go on sale in the US by the end of 2021. Whether the Hummer EV makes it to Australia is unclear at this time.

However, it’s worth noting the GMSV will establish itself with the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ute, after its predecessor – run by the Walkinshaw Automotive Group – found a strong local demand for full-size US pick-ups. GMSV will convert the Silverado locally to right-hand drive, so even if GMC doesn’t build the Hummer EV in right-hand drive from the factory, the job should be possible locally. Given GMSV will focus on profitable niche products like the Silverado and Corvette, the GMC Hummer EV could make a fitting addition to the line-up in the coming years.

Stay tuned…

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