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The Number Certainly Stands Out, But Is It An Accurate Depiction Of Power?

Hummer EV pickup
Photo via GMC.

The GMC Hummer EV was made official last week with incredible power figures – the most powerful of any General Motors production vehicle ever announced. At a staggering 1,000 horsepower and a titanic 11,500 lb-ft of torque, the new Hummer will deliver on its imposing reputation, and will also rocket from 0-60 in just three seconds.

However, that “official” torque rating is a bit misleading, and we’d like to take the time to explain why.

Torque is multiplied by the gear ratio, and while EVs usually don’t have “transmissions” in the conventional sense, there *is* at least one single gear set to reduce the rotating speed between the motor and the wheels.

Let’s take the 2020 Corvette with the Z51 Performance Pack, for example. its final drive ratio is 5.2:1, but it’s first gear ratio is 2.91:1. GM hasn’t shared this specific number, but the C8 Stingray should peak at around 7,100 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels in first gear. That’s before drivetrain loss, and other variables.

What if we used wheel torque to advertise all vehicles?

To find the Hummer’s true torque figure, we need to know the drive ratio, as all vehicles have one. We don’t know it at this time, so it’s difficult to find the torque rating, but not impossible. Because with the 1,000 horsepower rating of the GMC Hummer EV, we can at least estimate a real world torque figure, which will still be incredible. Just not 11,500 lb-ft of what presumed to be wheel torque.

While we’re on the subject of wheel torque (or axle torque, if you prefer) it’s likely that the Hummer EV won’t even have axles. Take the Rivian R1T and R1S, for example. The electric truck and SUV siblings feature a battery “skateboard,” with four electric motors each fixated directly behind a respective wheel. Power is pushed directly to the wheels via a driveshaft – a simple, yet novel design. GM will likely apply independent rear (and front) suspension to its electric pickup trucks, allowing the the GMC Hummer EV and other BT1 platform trucks and SUVs to likely feature a similar design to the Rivian models. There’d be no live axles, and no driveshafts. Each motor could even have variable drive ratios depending on the situation. Hypothetically.

So how do we properly measure electric motor torque to the wheels?

For now, we can use an electric vehicle with a single drive ratio to help narrow down an estimate, as opposed an ICE vehicle with multiple gear ratios. If we consider the Chevy Bolt hp/lb-ft ratio, assuming the motors are similar, the Hummer might have somewhere around 1,300 lb-ft. Though, if we consider the torque-to-hp ratio of the Tesla P100D, the Hummer EV would roughly produce 1,550 lb-ft of torque. Plenty of output to take the fight to the Cybertruck.

Overall, the SAE torque rating is incalculable without knowing the gear ratio, but a number above 1,000 lb-ft is more than plausible. We’ll know for sure when the GMC Hummer EV is officially revealed on May 20, 2020.

Hummer EV Super Bowl

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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