A decade ago, in the days before Tesla, Trump presidencies, and COVID-19, if you'd suggested that what the Hummer really needed was to give up a combustion engine for a pile of battery packs and a few electric motors, most people would've laughed at you with the sort of brio exemplified by that GIF of Mike Tyson slapping his knee, cackling, eyes filled with pure, liquid, mirth. But today, it's the least crazy thing we've heard in ages. And going on what we saw this evening, it may prove the kick-starter of a renaissance of sorts for a vehicle that's hitherto been the four-wheeled embodiment of American excess and solipsism.
Kindly return your mouth to the closed position and put your hands together for the year's most improbable vehicle: the GMC Hummer EV.
What we know so far — Originally, GM was going to unveil the electrified Hummer back in May. Then the world got distracted. So it waited until October, and you'll have to wait until next year to get behind the wheel of one. When, we're not quite sure, but we do know late next year the vehicle will start rolling off the production line at GM's Hamtramck assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan.
We also know the Hummer will have up to 1,000 hp and an insane 11,500 lb-ft of torque, and do 0-60 in as little as 3 seconds... which sounds like enough to rip a vault door off its hinges or, you know, tow a reasonable-sized boat... with the passengers on it, if such a thing were legal.
Alternatively, if the end times come, stick a large enough solar / battery setup on it and you might be able to tour the smoldering remains of America like the protagonist of a more glamorous fanfic rewrite of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Buyers can expect up to 350 miles to a charge, and there's support for 850 V DC charging, so theoretically it'll be possible to add 100 miles of range in 10 minutes.
Walk like a... crab? — There'll also be four-wheel steering (as opposed to just the front two, like on, well, just about every other vehicle out there) to reduce the turning circle and improve maneuverability when needed. Need to scoot through a tight spot diagonally? No problem. That could prove as useful in a canyon as a tight parking lot, and GM's calling the feature — you guessed it — "crabwalk." See the video below for crabwalk in action.
Buyers will be able to choose between 35-inch or 37-inch tires and can elevate the suspension by up to six inches when trying to climb over pesky rocks — or anyone in a Mini who dares to get in their way. A smaller, SUV Hummer that'll follow, though we'll have to wait for the details on that. Will it get the same under-carriage cameras as its larger sibling to closely examine the flora and fauna you just crushed? We'll have to wait and see.
Premium pricing — What we do know is there'll be four versions, starting with the Hummer EV Edition 1 that'll launch in the fall of 2021, with a starting price of $112,595. The Hummer EV 3X will follow in fall 2020 with a starting price of $99,995. Both of those will include three motors, but the EV 3X will have less range and power than the Edition 1.
In spring 2023 you can look forward to the $89,995 EV 2X, and the $79,995 EV 2 will turn up in spring 2024... but which time, who knows what $80k will even be worth in real terms... assuming we're not trading with the world's remaining tinned goods and ammunition by then, of course.
Despite the long timelines, you can reserve any of the four iterations today by putting down a paltry $100.
Things are about to get interesting — GM is also working on an electric Cadillac called the Lyriq that'll arrive in 2022, and will also include the "next generation of Super Cruise" semi-autonomous driving shown off in the Hummer video above. It's built on the same Ultium platform, but the Lyriq is a totally different sort of beast. Nonetheless, it's a reminder that Tesla's days of dominating the EV market unchallenged are rapidly drawing to a close.
Competitors are coming for Tesla in the form of the Cybertrucks, Ford forthcoming electric F-150 (and, likely a hybrid or possibly fully-electric Bronco), the inevitable larger BMW X-Series SUVs that'll follow the iX3, and startup Rivian's R1T, to name just a handful.
The greatest threat out of that list, though, is likely the F-150 in terms of brand awareness and loyalty. The gas-guzzling F-150 has been the best-selling truck in the U.S. for over three decades. That said, if the Hummer's aesthetic of military-meets-hip-hop-excess is what you're after, sticking spinning, diamante-encrusted rims on an electric F-150 probably won't hit the same way.
Mock it all you want, but the Hummer's tackle-anything style and ability to move the contents of half a Home Depot in a single go will always have a market. It looks... like a Hummer. In other words, as out-of-step with the zeitgeist as only a Hummer can be. It offers both the aerodynamism and aggression of a flung brick, with the face to match. We love it.