GM is reviving the iconic Hummer as an all-electric powered vehicle. While the Hummer is an old name, the Hummer Electric Vehicle will be an all-new model for GM. The automaker is yet to fully reveal the Hummer EV with the release scheduled for Fall 2021 in the United States. The all-new Hummer EV is expected to retain the same squarish design of the H2 and H3 and will come in two versions, an SUV and a pickup truck. Variants include a model with one electric motor (Rear Wheel Drive), and two or three electric motors (All Wheel Drive). GM announced that the Hummer EV will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and be based on GM’s third-gen EV architecture. The Hummer EV is expected to get 1000 horsepower, 11,500 lb-ft of torque with a range of 640 km and go from 0 to 100 km/h in about 3 seconds. Prices are expected to be around $60,000.
For the Hummer EV, GM knows that just substituting an electric motor for a petrol engine in an existing model will not excite customers, because it just highlights the price premium that buyers have to pay for a battery-powered vehicle. GM wants to show folks that the Hummer can be environmentally friendly, with zero emissions, zero engine noise along with acceleration comparable to a Tesla, and all this built at a factory that is powered by solar and wind energy. GM would also have to improve on range issues and battery technology they have had with previous generations of electric cars to put up a fight.
The original Hummer was conceived as a military vehicle and a civilian version was designed and built by GMC as the H1, based on the military Humvee and the H2 and H3, based on smaller, civilian market GM platforms. However, the Hummer was not a success story, mainly due to concerns regarding its fuel economy and was discontinued in 2010, following the financial crisis. The Hummer was not a showcase of technology either, having build quality issues and many warranty claims. In addition, it had design elements that were more fashion than functional features.
With Tesla, Ford and Rivian having their own electric pickups in the works, here are 10 things that spelled an end to the classic Hummer which GM cannot afford to repeat.
1. Massive engine, poor fuel economy
Despite the H3 having a 3.5 litre engine that produced 220 horsepower, the heavy curb weight of 2200 kg made it slower than its smaller siblings and resulted in poor fuel economy, making it unusable as an everyday car especially due to high fuel prices. With the electric Hummer, GM has to ensure a long driving range if it wishes to outsell other electric SUV’s in the market.
2. Environmental Issues
The H3 Hummer’s large V6 engine was a gas guzzler which made it a target of criticism from environmentalists who saw it as an inefficient and polluting vehicle. The economic crisis and rising fuel costs further dropped sales for the Hummer until GM decided to stop production.
3. Average build quality
The Hummer suffered from poor build quality in many parts, like flimsy door panels, a wobbly transmission gear lever and excessive play in the steering wheel. GM will have to offer the electric Hummer with superior build quality and excellent trim levels to be able to stand a chance in convincing buyers of the Tesla Cybertruck.
4. Pronounced body roll
You can find H3 owners complaining of body roll and sway, fighting the forces of weight in corners and while stopping, especially on Hummers that had covered considerable mileage. The heavy body and bulky exterior profile compounded these handling issues.
5. Compromised ground clearance
The Hummer was built to go off-roading and offered good ground clearance to tackle steep inclines and muddy tracks. However, the step rails that run along the sides of the doors decreased the clearance by about six inches, making it difficult to climb rock mounds.
6. Extra-Large dimensions
The Hummer was significantly bigger than the average SUV. Besides having big road presence on highways and being intimidating to smaller vehicles, it was difficult to manoeuvre in traffic and caused parking problems especially in garages.
7. Uninspiring interior
The original Hummer’s interiors were not as luxurious as some buyers would expect from such an expensive car. They were full of awkward looking, low-grade grey plastic parts that were loosely fit, giving an overall flimsy impression. Buttons and knobs on the dashboard felt cheap to touch, definitely not something one would like to see repeated on a car that is expected to cost USD 60,000 or more. Using expensive materials generously would certainly bring an upscale image to the new Hummer EV.
8. Cosmetic designs without any real function
The military vehicle on which the Hummer was based upon had a many exterior features that were designed for wartime use, such as hood hooks connected to the car’s chassis designed to assist with airlifting from a helicopter. However, GM retained these hooks as merely hood ornaments on the H2. The original Hummer used run-flat tires that had a special wheel cover design. The H2 and H3 retained the wheel cover design without incorporating those advanced features. The Hummer also had fake plastic vents at the rear which unfortunately gave the driver poor visibility from the already small window that was partially blocked by the spare tire. Small glass windows created blind spots some complained of a claustrophobic feel. The new version could put this behind by opting for large glass surfaces and thinner pillars wherever possible.
9. Excessive badging
Hummer branding could be found on almost every panel of the car which was a little excessive given that one could easily recognize the Hummer’s iconic and unique dimensions which set it apart from other SUV’s.
10. Limited dealerships
The H1 was an expensive vehicle that had a niche market, and therefore was being offered through a few distributors. GM would be wise to offer the Hummer EV at a wide range of GMC dealer showrooms and leverage the complete retail strength of the brand if they wish to compete with Tesla and Ford in every part of America.