Preview: 2022 GMC Hummer EV

Jeff S. Bartlett
·4 min read

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General Motors plans to unveil its all-new, electric Hummer truck in an online event Tuesday evening, marking the return and reinvention of the Hummer nameplate—retired a decade ago—as a stronger, greener version of its former self.

The company promises the new Hummer EV will be off-road-ready, with gratuitous horsepower and torque, and consequently quick acceleration. The automaker says it will have 1,000 hp and be able to sprint 0-60 mph in 3 seconds, putting it in rare performance company.

Clearly, GM does not intend to let the recently unveiled concepts of the Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian R1T/R1S steal all the thunder in an expanding segment of announced e-trucks. GM planned to unveil the new Hummer in a glitzy presentation Tuesday evening, with more details pledged to follow on Wednesday.

Among its other known features: The Hummer EV will have a “crab” mode that will use the four-wheel steering capability to enable the truck to move diagonally. This could prove handy in navigating tight trails, such as moving away from a tree on a narrow section. The company has teased that it will offer an open top, akin to the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler, with a protective roll cage.

By relaunching Hummer as a sub-brand under the truck and SUV-centric GMC, it enables the rollout to take advantage of an established dealer network. And it limits the number of true GM brands to four. The corporation announced that it would invest $2.2 billion in the Detroit-Hamtramck factory to make the Hummer EV and other electric trucks and the Cruise Origin, an electric self-driving vehicle. Production is expected to begin in late 2021, with availability in early 2022.

More details will be known soon, and we will update this story when they're available.

The Trail to the Hummer EV

The Hummer brand grew from the AM General HMMWV developed for military use and popularized for civilians by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The street version began as the Hummer H1, produced by AM General and sold in small numbers. GM adapted its blocky essence into the H2, a heavy SUV and later pickup (with a tiny bed) developed off its full-sized truck platform.

The H2 became a lightning rod for criticism from environmentalists who decried its gas guzzling and from safety advocates who warned of the dangers to other road users. It was the poster child for the excess of that era’s SUV boom. It got just 11 mpg overall in Consumer Reports' tests. Its road-test score was just 23 points, out of 100. But it was iconic … immediately recognizable and highly capable off-road.

This giant spawned the H3, a smaller interpretation spun off the Chevrolet Colorado platform. Again, a Hummer model was a built-up version of an existing product, rather than being purpose built. As a consequence, it launched with a choice of four- and five-cylinder engines borrowed from the compact Chevys. Both powertrains were not up to the task in the heavier vehicle, leaving the H3 to be both slow and thirsty. Later, a V8 and pickup version became available.

The Hummer story almost continued, with the HX concept promising what an H4 could have been: a competitor for the two-door Jeep Wrangler.

Hummer shut down in 2010. Sales of the full-sized Hummer H2 and midsized Hummer H3 were hit hard by elevated gasoline prices at the time, squashing sales for the short-lived brand. It was among several brands, including Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Saturn, that GM shuttered as the corporation went through restructuring. GM did come close to selling Hummer to a China-based corporation, Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines, but it ultimately couldn’t complete the transaction.

Myriad factors conspired to end the first chapter of the Hummer story. The GMC Hummer EV promises a fresh start, recasting the brand as offering zero-emission, powerful, and bold vehicles. GM refers to the emerging segment as “supertrucks.” This apt name also describes the upcoming Bolinger B2, Nikola Badger, Rivian R1T, and Tesla Cybertruck.