SAN FRANCISCO, CA
– There is perhaps no better example of reinvention in the automotive industry than GM’s resurrection of the Hummer nameplate.
Once an icon of ultra-capitalism and unrestrained gas consumption, Hummer production ended in 2010 and it was thought the marque would be gone forever. Then GM announced in 2020 that it would return, but this time it would be driven by pure electricity. That’s right – Hummer is now an EV, a sub-brand of GMC, GM’s truck and SUV division.
So yes, apart from the name, this Hummer isn’t at all like its predecessors.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so I’ll start with the basics. Both GMC Hummer EV SUV and its sibling, the Hummer EV SUT, or Supertruck as it is often referred to, are built at GM’s Factory ZERO plant in Detroit on the company’s new Ultium-based GM BT1 platform. GM BT1 also underpins forthcoming electric pick-ups, the Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV.
Five grades are available for the Hummer EV SUV: EV2, EV2X, EV3X and Edition 1, with the latter being available in either on or off-road configuration.
What separates these vehicles primarily are batteries, electric motors and charging capability. Those with a ‘2’ in their name have two electric motors (one front, one rear), while the EV3X and Edition 1 have three, one at the front and two at the rear.
On the battery front, the base EV2 has a 16-module 170 kWh Ultium battery, while all grades above it have 20 modules. As for charging, all units above the EV2 have an 800-volt charging infrastructure and can handle up to 300 kW of charging on a DC fast charger, whereas the base EV2 is 400-volt.
As for range, final figures were still being sorted at time of writing, but GM says it should be at least 480 kilometres on a full charge for all grades.
Dimensionally, the Hummer EV SUV is a large vehicle, but it’s considerably shorter than its SUT sibling. For instance, the SUV is 20 inches (508 mm) shorter than the SUT and rides on a 226-millimetre (8.9 inches) shorter wheelbase.
These shorter dimensions are an asset for the SUV with respect to its turning radius, which is just 10.8 metres (35.4 feet). I should note that its four-wheel steering and 10-degree wheel articulation provide a big assist here too, but I’ll get to that.
In terms of power, the Hummer EV is one prodigious electric beast. Upper-level trims can produce up to 850 horsepower and an eye-watering 11,500 lb-ft. (!) of torque.
Using GM’s Watts to Freedom, which refers to launch control, the Hummer EV SUV has a 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) time of 3.5 seconds. I cannot speak from experience, as I missed out on the opportunity during the media drive for a dumb reason, but I can verify that the Hummer EV is quite fast on public roads.
In the appearance department, the photos tell the story. It’s a big and blocky SUV that oozes Hummer style, especially when viewed from the front. GMC designers have done a fine job, I think, of updating its design language in a way that remains unmistakably Hummer. The Moonshot Green Matte finish on my test vehicle is quite pretty, especially in full sun.
Inside the cabin, the Hummer EV SUV is spacious and comes loaded with an array of tech features, such as a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 13.4-inch multimedia touchscreen with Google built-in infotainment features, Bose audio system, cell phone charge pad, and more.
The vehicle is also replete in design Easter eggs, with Hummer EV badging scattered all over its surfaces, on door panels, dashboard, and scuff plates, to name a few. My personal favourites are the front speaker grille covers which feature the moon’s Sea of Tranquility.
Heated and cooled leather seating are also on tap here, as is a heated steering wheel, an Infinity Roof with removable transparent Sky panels (which can be stored in cases in the car’s front e-trunk), a rear swing-out tailgate with drop glass and a mounted spare tire and more.
Much of what I’ve listed is standard, but one should consult their local GMC dealer for a full breakdown of standard and optional kit. I will note that almost everything mentioned is standard on the U.S.-spec Edition 1 model I drove in California, apart from the Extreme Off-Road Package.
Speaking of the drive, I spent about three hours driving the Hummer EV SUV in the San Francisco Bay Area over two days and come away impressed with its capability, both on road and off.
A few caveats are in order, however. One, due to an unusually high amount of rainfall in northern California recently, a planned off-road driving exercise for journalists was scrapped.
Some in our group were unhappy about it (myself, included), but as the photos reveal, the course was a real mud bowl and some of us would have gotten stuck. In fact, one of the GMC engineers giving ride-alongs had to get pulled out by a bulldozer after getting bogged down in a deep mud trench.
With that said, my ride-along proved to be illuminating insofar as I could feel how the Crab Walk feature, where the rear wheels turn to help traverse rocky or muddy surfaces, really helps the Hummer EV traverse challenging terrain. And for the record, we didn’t get stuck.
One other thing to note is the vehicles I experienced were both equipped with the optional Extreme Off-Road package which comes with 18-inch wheels, 35-inch Mud Terrain tires, skid plates, rocker protection, a front locking differential, and a rear virtual locking differential.
The second caveat is my co-driver and I lost cell service, which scrambled out tester’s navigation, during the trip from the hotel to the closed course where the Watts to Freedom demonstration was taking place, so I missed my chance to experience the full seat-pressing thrust of the Hummer EV’s acceleration might.
During my time behind the wheel, however, I got to feel the full 11,500 lb-ft. of torque, and it does a fine job of pushing this brick-shaped SUV down the road. Power delivery is light switch fast, so leaving other cars in one’s dust is easy.
On that note, while there was a high degree of tire and wind noise, but the Hummer EV doesn’t feel as big as it looks. Its four-wheel steering does a nice job of getting the car to rotate sharply through corners, and navigating tighter spaces, such as parking lots, which proved to be much easier than I was expecting.
What really sticks in my memory, though, are finer details. Not just Easter egg badging, but the graphical fidelity of the screens, which use Unreal Engine technology from Epic Games, which powers Fortnite and many other video games.
The easy toggling of one-pedal driving, which can be managed either through the infotainment screen or a button on the steering wheel, is another nice touch, as are the removable roof panels and swing out tailgate.
The Hummer EV SUV is also available with GM’s latest version of Super Cruise which offers hands-free driving and works on over 644,000 kilometres of enabled roads across North America. I used it on the highway driving back to San Francisco, including the Golden Gate bridge, and it worked beautifully.
In all, the Hummer EV SUV is an impressive vehicle. It’s certainly not for everyone, a GMC rep noted, it’s more for the person who has “a seven-car garage” and wants to have “all the latest toys”. Given its six-figure starting MSRP, I’d have to agree.
Efficiency figures were not available from GMC at time of writing, but I imagine the Hummer EV SUV will consume a lot of electricity – a frugal EV this is not.
But, as the same brand rep put it to me, the Hummer EV is a halo vehicle for GMC, and while it’s not going to be a sales volume leader, it should have a rainmaker effect on the rest of the lineup.
And for those with the means, it makes for an impressive statement vehicle.
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV pricing
EV2 – $108,598
EV2X – $122,098
EV3X – $135,598
Edition 1 – $142,598 (on-road)
All 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV grades go on sale next month, except for the EV2 which launches in spring 2024.
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV
full-size EV SUV
dual / tri-motor, electronic-all-wheel drive
170 kWh battery (EV3X, Edition 1 – 830 hp / 11,500 lb-ft.; EV2, EV2X – 625 hp / 7,400 lb-ft.)
2,317 / 1,017 litres (81.8 / 35.9 cu ft.) (behind first / second row)
MAXIMUM TOWING: TBA
$108,598 base, excl. freight, taxes and fees