The new electric Hummer from General Motors will live up to the reputation of its predecessors for being capable and over the top but in different ways than the gas-guzzling vehicles that previously bore the name.
The 2022 GMC Hummer EV, which the automaker unveiled Tuesday night, is big, bold and flamboyant – all things someone would expect from a military-inspired vehicle – but it also includes new technologies and exotic performance to support GM's claim of it being "the world's first supertruck."
"This is all about people who just love the best in automotive innovation, performance, capability and technology," GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred told CNBC. "These are the people who you may have seen buy the exotic sports car type brands. This will be the must-have item."
GM says the vehicle will offer the performance of an exotic sports car, including zero to 60 mph in 3 seconds, as well as off-road capability "that's second to none." Plus, it will have fast charging of up to 100 miles of range in 10 minutes as well as a host of new technologies such as GM's next-generation driver-assist system that allows hands-free driving on highways.
The technologies and performance will come at a cost though. Initial availability of the Hummer EV pickup next fall will start at $112,595, including destination charges, for a launch version called the "Edition 1." A $99,995 version will be available a year later, followed by $89,995 and $79,995 models in the springs of 2023 and 2024, respectively.
The years-long production cadence and premium pricing should assist in the vehicle's expected profitability – a goal of GM's as it pivots to electric vehicles, which have historically been unprofitable for automakers. The timeframe also should allow for the company to ramp-up production of a joint venture with LG Chem for battery cell production at a plant currently being constructed in Lordstown, Ohio.
But the timeframe could allow several competitors to enter the market with new, less expensive electric pickup trucks as well. The Hummer SUT will be among an initial group of electric pickups to come to market in what's expected to be the industry's newest, yet unproven, hotly contested segment.
The vehicle is expected to compete against a host of electric pickups expected from Tesla, Ford Motor and several start-up companies such as Rivian. Tesla's Cybertruck and Rivian's R1T are both expected to have starting prices well below the Hummer EV beginning next year.
To assist with simplifying the manufacturing launch of the Hummer EV, all initial models, or "Edition 1" versions, will be identically appointed and fully equipped, according to GM. Each features a white exterior and a unique "Lunar Horizon" interior, with special "Edition 1" interior badging.
The vehicle will be produced at a factory in Detroit that the automaker recently renamed "Factory Zero," a nod to the company's pivot toward zero-emission vehicles. It's in the process of overhauling the facility with $2.2 billion in new investments.
The Hummer sport utility truck, or SUT, will be the first vehicle with GM's next-generation electric vehicle platform and batteries under a $20 billion plan to shift to electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025.
GM estimates the top-end Hummer SUT will achieve more than 350 miles of electric range and estimated best-in-class 1,000 horsepower and 11,500 lb.-ft. of torque. That power will be generated by three separate motors within two of GM's proprietary drive units to four-wheel-drive performance on-road and off-road.
"We had one goal for Hummer EV: Build the most capable factory truck - ever," Al Oppenheiser, GMC Hummer EV chief engineer, said in a statement. "It's an absolute off-road beast with a unique e4WD drive system that provides maneuverability unlike anything GM has ever offered before."
Lower priced models will feature shorter electric ranges of roughly 250 miles or 300 miles and less performance than the top-end models. The sub-$90,000 models will include 625 horsepower and 7,400 lb.-ft. of torque with two motors instead of three.
The vehicle also offers a host of off-road parts and features such as adaptive air suspension and "crab mode" that allows it to rotate all four wheels at once, allowing the truck to almost move diagonally.
"Short of being able to float or fly, I think it pretty much does everything else," Aldred said. "It is like the perfect vehicle. It has something for every type of buyer."
The vehicle features an open-air layout in which customers can remove the roof. The exterior features a new iteration of Hummer's traditional slotted grille with "HUMMER" backlit across the front of the truck and a six-function tailgate in the back.
GM unveiled the electric Hummer sport utility truck, or SUT, online and during national television broadcasts Tuesday night of the World Series and "The Voice."
GM announced it was resurrecting Hummer during a Super Bowl ad in February. It was expected to be unveiled in May but was delayed due to the pandemic.
GM's previous Hummer included an SUV and a short-lived pickup variant. The design was based on the military vehicle known as the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or "Humvee." During the early 2000s, the Hummer was a popular vehicle but also a source of criticism because of its size and poor gas mileage at around 15 mpg.
As an electric vehicle, GM says it's essentially flipping the Hummer's reputation on its head under the automaker's "triple zero" vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion — an overarching goal for the company that GM CEO Mary Barra announced in 2017.
"Hummer EV represents the best in what General Motors is capable of in its entirety," Aldred said. "I really do think it is a beacon of what GM can do and where it's going to go and the zero-zero-zero future it's creating."