Let’s just say WTF.
In the case of the 2022 GMC Hummer EV, the phrase WTF takes on multiple meanings.
Figuratively speaking, when you first drive this massive machine, you exclaim “WTF” because the GMC Hummer EV is one of the smoothest vehicles on the road. The 2022 GMC Hummer EV is a modern-day comic book superhero in the shape of a pickup truck; with super strength, epic proportions, and several very cool superpowers.
The days of outsized dimensions and utilitarian mil-spec styling under shiny paint are over. The Hummer brand is back, better, and badder than ever. GMC’s new Hummer EV pickup marks a major shift for the historically conservative Detroit automaker in both form and function. The Hummer marquee is reemerging after more than a decade, but as an electric vehicle bearing a GMC badge. Not to mention this beast awoke from its slumber in a record 26 months from concept to roll out; about half the time of a typical vehicle program. Inside the vehicle are testaments to GM changing as a company to better compete against Tesla and other newer EV start-ups as well.
“Hopefully, there’s a lot that’s surprising with this vehicle because it’s all intentional,” Aaron Pfau, Hummer’s lead development engineer, said during a media event. “It is to kind of change your concept of not only what an EV can do but what GM as a whole can do.”
The Daily Drive
The wheelbase on the Hummer EV, stretches past eleven feet, yet can turn a tighter circle than a Chevy Equinox. It feels as if it bends the laws of physics and slaps a goofy grin on your face while doing it.
The Hummer has independent four-wheel-steering that allows it to perform extremely tight turns and offers a “crab mode” that allows the vehicle to move in a diagonal direction. But even with independent four-wheel-steering, every day driving is still smooth as glass.
Much like GM’s Hummer vehicles of the 1990s and 2000s, such capability comes at a cost. While it doesn’t guzzle gas, it does go through a lot of energy to move its own weight of over 9,000 pounds. For reference it is about 4,000 pounds heftier than the heaviest Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup and more than double an average new vehicle according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To move all that mass, the Hummer EV’s motor puts out 1,000 horsepower, 1,200 foot-pounds of motor torque and 11,500 foot-pounds of torque at the wheels. It’s that torque that creates “Watts to Freedom,” or WTF. WTF mode launches the massive vehicle 0-60 mph in about three seconds; a time comparable to a Chevy Corvette.
The Hummer development team was largely given free rein to create a vehicle around the idea of building an open-air, performance and off-road “supertruck.” In doing so, modernizing the gas-guzzling Hummer brand to create an audacious EV and showcase the best the company has to offer.
“We did empower the design and chief engineering team, and we said, ‘Hey, let’s go,’” Duncan Aldred, global head of GMC, said during an interview. “I think people have had a lot of fun with it, and I think that’s encapsulating that vehicle.
At speed, the chunky tires can’t be silenced, but they intrude on the ears less than one might expect. The Hummer EV Edition 1 also comes equipped with a lovely 14-speaker Bose stereo that’s very capable of drowning out much of the tire noise. And, when you’re jamming to tunes with the roof off, the sound system also has an “Audio Pilot” setting which adjusts the EQ so wind and other external noises don’t interfere with the music.
When coming to a stop, the GMC Hummer EV slows confidently and predictably. In D (drive), regenerative braking is strong, but if you like that true one-pedal driving experience, then shifting into L will bring you to a complete stop without touching the brake pedal. Alternatively, in D the truck can come to a halt by holding in the paddle on the left side of the wheel.
The Hummer EV also comes equipped with the Super Cruise advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). On an enabled stretch of a divided highway you can leave steering and speed control to the truck, as long as it detects you’re keeping your eyes on the road. It’s also capable of making lane changes. Push on the steering stalk and if traffic is clear, it will move over a lane on its own. For now, at least, the onus is on the driver to turn off the turn signal after the maneuver.
The Off-Road Drive
For the GMC Hummer EV to shine, we took it off-road. During our “first-drive” experience, we traversed a few miles of trail in the Arizona desert. Though some of these stretches might have been easily traversable in lesser vehicles, the technical bits really opened my eyes to the truck’s capability.
For off-road situations, the Hummer EV has two main modes: “Off Road” and “Terrain.” During the trail portion of the drive I put the truck in Off Road, which raises the body two inches, allows for a bit of wheel slip, softens the accelerator pedal mapping, and doubles the steering ratio of the rear wheels. It also allows you to bring up displays on the center screen which show real-time suspension articulation, pitch and yaw, the amount of torque each wheel is being sent, as well as GPS coordinates and other information.
In addition, having cameras mounted on the underside fore and aft, allowed me to see exactly where I was putting the wheels with glances at the center screen when my view out the windshield was nothing but sky as the truck climbed up the steep trails.
Switching to “Terrain” makes a number of changes happen to the truck to make it practically unstoppable on steep ascents over uneven rock surfaces. The suspension softens, the rear-steer ratio doubles over off road mode, the electric power steering gives more assist, and the mechanical braking system takes over from the usual regenerative setup. In Terrain mode, switching from “D’ to “L” engages one-pedal driving as before, but now it’s a mechanical operation. On a steep incline the truck will not roll forward or back with mechanical brakes holding it in place.
If you’re still not sure you have enough climbing capability, a flip of a toggle locks the back axle. This is a virtual lock, as there are no physical connections between the two rear motors that reside in the same housing on the back axle. If you want to go that extra final mile, you can lock the front axles. That is a mechanical operation achieved by holding the toggle down for five seconds. It’s not recommended to leave it engaged unless specifically needed.
- Tow rating: 7,500 pounds or 3,402 kilograms
- Payload rating: 1,300 pounds or 590 kilograms
These towing and payload ratings are comparable to those of the 2022 Chevy Colorado mid-size pickup. While these towing and payload capacities may seem slightly low for a vehicle with 1,000 horsepower, it’s worth pointing out that the GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 is tailored more to off-roading than towing with its own considerable mass, oversized tires and soft suspension.
The Hummer Edition 1, which is currently being produced in Detroit, has an electric range of 329 miles, besting the Rivian and Ford electric pickups. While GM has confirmed the driving range of the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, it’s not clear how towing a 7,500 pounds trailer would affect the vehicle’s range.
About That Whole EV Thing
The Hummer is the flagship for General Motors new Ultium EV technologies and is the new benchmark for the Detroit automaker in terms of development time.
“The whole goal of this vehicle was to get people excited and thinking about EVs that wouldn’t necessarily be excited and thinking about EVs.” Pfau said.
Ultium was originally GM’s branding for a new family of battery cells and modules, but has been expanded to include the motors, drive units, and power electronics that make up the propulsion systems to be used in all GM’s new electric vehicles in the coming years.
The heart of the Hummer EV is its massive battery pack. It holds over 200 kilowatt hours (kWh) of usable energy and consists of 24 separate modules. It’s basically a 400-volt system, until you plug it into a DC charger capable of sending power at 800 volts.
The system is wired up as two separate 400-volt battery packs of equal size, which meet at a battery disconnect unit. To reach its full 350 kW charging potential, 400-volt relays within the unit are opened and 800-volt relays are closed. This changes the packs from a serial configuration to a parallel arrangement, doubles the voltage and allows the pack to accept a higher amount of amperage to reduce charging time.
GMC says you are able to add 100 miles of range in about 12 minutes if plugged into a 350-kW DC fast charger capable of serving power at 500 amps. In 42 minutes, it can go from 20 to 80 percent if averaging about 175 kW.
Charging at home will take more time, of course. With an EVSE connected to a 60-amp circuit, owners can take full advantage of the 11.5 kW onboard AC to add about 16 miles range per hour. Going from 20 to 100 percent would take 16.5 hours. Typical owners would find it takes just a couple hours to replace the 30 miles or so worth of range used on daily drives.
Climb up into the cabin and you’ll find a thoroughly modern, thoughtfully designed interior, but one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Its spacious and airy feel is aided by a glass “infinity roof.” If you’d like an even more open feel; the glass panels can be popped off, stored in the frunk and the back window also rolls down. Sans roof, you become more connected to the environment, be it the boulevard or the backwoods. Still, sitting on 35-inch tires and on top of an extra thick battery pack elevates you above commoners in traffic.
The interior feels premium with tasteful bronze accents, a 12.3-inch driver display and a 13.4-inch center infotainment touchscreen. A small strip of screen beneath the main center stack offers climate readings with a row of toggle switches below to warm or cool the cabin or seats. A second row of toggles are assigned duties such as locking front or rear differentials, turning off electronic stability control, and turning on hazard lights.
Despite the classy touches, it maintains a rugged feel with vinyl floors and easy to clean rubber mats. Heated and ventilated seats in our Edition 1 were finished in a sturdy, very cleanable, white material, which also accents the center and door armrests.
Easter Eggs Found in the Hummer EV
GM’s overall mission was referred to as “moonshot” during development as a nod to NASA’s Apollo 11 first lunar landing and hints at the moniker are displayed throughout the vehicle. Rather than a manned mission to the moon, the GM mission was to create a “fun” vehicle that would draw attention to the company and its 30 EV models globally by 2025.
A topographical map of the Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis) can be found on the door speakers and also makes its way onto the center infotainment display as a backdrop for some of the drive mode screens. The dead pedal has a large lunar boot print molded into it, and there are several small boot prints sprinkled through the cabin. It’s an interesting, if a somewhat indulgent, quirk.
“H” shaped design elements found on the outside are echoed throughout the passenger compartment too. It can be found in the air vents, grab handles, steering wheel and even the center armrest.
While the Hummer EV pickup is for sale, new orders will not likely be fulfilled until 2024 due to the number of current reservations. The SUV unveiled after the pickup last year isn’t expected to arrive until 2023.
That being said, if you can afford it (MSRP: From $108,700) and you are willing to wait, it is ABSOLUTELY worth it.