As electric cars (and trucks, and SUVs, and vans) grow in popularity, it’s important to remember that the point of every EV is not to be “efficient” over all else. An inefficient electric vehicle is still a net positive, according to InsideEVs. Some EVs, then, are bound to exist as technology showcases, fashion-first accessories, or party-trick machines. The 2022 GMC Hummer EV is… all of those things. It’s a very cool demonstration of what engineers can do with minimal restrictions and a blank check. It’s not a great daily driver.
Every number associated with the Hummer EV is excessive. One thousand horsepower, 1,200 pound-feet of torque, and a 9,000 pound curb weight come together to produce a vehicle shaped and sized like a studio apartment but able to move when you put your right foot down. And that’s before you engage Watts To Freedom mode, a cringey term for launch control that hurls you and your passengers from a dead stop to sixty in three seconds flat. On 37-inch all-terrain tires.
Towing and payload are firmly “not bad,” at 7,500 pounds and 1,300 pounds, respectively. Range from the gigantic 212 kilowatt-hour battery is rated at 329 miles, which sounds impressive until you realize Ford’s F-150 Lightning achieves the same range with its 131 kWh battery and several thousand pounds less curb weight. Although, the Ford won’t yeet you from stoplight to stoplight quite so hard. Tradeoffs.
I was truly concerned that the Hummer EV wouldn’t fit in my apartment’s parking garage when it arrived. In photos, it’s huge. In person, it’s also huge. In practice, though, it’s about as wide as a half-ton pickup and is 216.8 inches long – somewhere between a Chevy Tahoe and Suburban overall. Big, but not actually that unwieldy if you’ve driven those sorts of SUVs before. And the Hummer EV’s standard four-wheel steering makes it remarkably maneuverable – and a bit strange to parallel-park, at first.
Driving the 2022 Hummer EV
Ever driven a dually? Squeezing the Hummer EV around a city environment feels similar. It’s hippy, and the flared fenders and huge tires mess with your perspective a bit, mostly when parking. On the move, “if the mirrors fit, you will fit” is the mantra to remember. Mirrors themselves were okay, though I never quite found a good position for them that showed everything I wanted at once.
The Hummer EV’s 9 pounds-per-horsepower figure makes for a truly fast car, but the throttle mapping is pretty reasonable. The truck is controllable and power ramps up progressively, only going mind-bendy in full-on Freedom Hell Yeah Brother mode. Braking is similarly progressive, with good regenerative abilities if you want them or predictable blended braking using the actual pedal.
Steering and handling are where the Hummer EV’s weight really makes itself known. You simply cannot take an off-ramp with any sort of speed. The truck pitches over – as you’d expect, given its ten inches of ground clearance – and the combination of squirmy all-terrains and steering programming provide a steering wheel that goes heavy mid-corner and requires substantial effort to keep tracking as intended. The solution? Slow down way more than you feel is appropriate. At least the ground clearance let me drop two wheels in a field when a UPS driver played a game of chicken on a slightly-narrow country road. But how often do you need to jump into a field at 25 miles per hour without flinching?
Highway driving made up a big portion of my seat time, as I covered 400-some miles in a day. While the Hummer EV’s seats were fine-to-good, my day was pretty exhausting. It’s noisy in the cabin, between the upright windshield, removable roof panels (that rattled) and expected tire noise.
Covering so many miles demanded a few charging stops along the way. The Hummer EV can accept electricity up to 350 kW speeds, and that kind of speed is almost mandatory if you’re road-tripping as I was. The battery is so large that charging at more readily-available (for now) 150 kW stations added significant time to my journey. My one 350 kW charge – at Electrify America’s headquarters, amusingly – did move along quickly as GMC claims, getting from about 12 percent to 80 percent state of charge in 40-some minutes.
It’s Cool, but I Don’t Want One
Look, if you want a Hummer EV, you want a Hummer EV. It’s a Tonka toy for adults and if you only view it in that context, you’ll adore the entire experience. It’s a statement piece of a truck, but you have to really want the statement that it makes.
Yes, the Hummer EV is an off-roader. You can lock the differentials on both axles, it’ll offer 11.9 inches of ground clearance normally and 15.9″ if you’re stuck, and the tires and drive modes let you go pretty far off-pavement. I question the ease of off-roading something so heavy, though. Other electric trucks – not just that F-150 Lightning – manage to weigh thousands less. Where’s the weight in the Hummer EV?
That’s a rhetorical question – the weight is in the battery. And the Hummer EV needs such a huge battery because it’s so inefficient. I only managed 1.1 to 1.3 miles per kilowatt-hour in my 550 miles of driving. My time in the F-150 Lightning returned about 2.3 mi/kWh by comparison. And that inefficiency comes in because the Hummer EV is shaped the way it is and looks the way it does with the tires it has.
The Hummer H2 was similar, and ended up somewhat popular in a post-9/11 America. It offered legit capability wrapped in styling that sent a message about who you were. And as I grew up, I realized that I didn’t really align with who I understood bought H2s. I hope the Hummer EV appeals to a slightly different crowd. But it’s very “H2-but-electric” to me, functional at its core yet purposefully intimidating.
It’ll appeal to some. And it’ll get EVs in the hands of those who believe electric cars are for free-trade hippie vegans. But it leaves me pretty cold. Maybe that’s the intent.
In any case, the Hummer EV is the first truck on GM’s new Ultium electric vehicle platform. The Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV are coming next. I am legitimately excited to see how those trucks turn out, as the basic bones of the Hummer EV are indeed done well. I just don’t want all the fluff.