With the debut of the GMC Hummer EV, General Motors has rolled out a truck that offers quite a few advantages over a traditional combustion-powered pickup. With unmatched levels of power, off-road capability, and technology, the new Hummer marks a high-point in GMC’s truck lineup. However, the EV falls behind its gasoline-powered siblings in one vital area: cargo capacity in the bed. The decision to give the truck a five foot bed may have been calculated, but GM almost went a different way. One that’s reminiscent of one of GM’s most revolutionary vehicles of the new millennium: the Chevrolet Avalanche.
Prior to the debut of the GMC Hummer EV, there were quite a few rumors swirling about the design of the new truck. We knew that the Hummer would feature a bed that was integrated into the cab without typical cut-line, which led many to recall the Chevrolet Avalanche. Built on the Suburban platform, the Avalanche also carried a short bed by traditional truck standards. GM got around this by fitting the Avalanche with what’s called a “midgate,” which allowed owners to open the divider between the bed and the cabin for added cargo capacity. Naturally, rumors started to pop up suggesting that the Hummer EV would borrow this design feature. And while the truck we see today does not feature a midgate, Hummer EV Exterior Design Manager John Mack confirmed to MC&T that it once did.
“There was [a midgate] early on,” said Mack, referring to early design proposals of the Hummer EV. “We opted for the functionality of the drop glass in the back. With the package layout and things like that it was not advantageous to pursue that one. And the 5 foot bed was kind of the industry standard in regards to price of entry in that segment.”
So then it appears that packaging ultimately spelled the end of the midgate feature for the GMC Hummer EV. And while it is true that the pickup segment has had a series of traditional bed lengths over time, the EV segment appears to still be trying to land on one. The Rivain R1T and Nikola Badger are slated to arrive with 5 foot beds for example, whereas the Tesla Cybertruck packs a 6.5 foot bed with a vault-style lid behind the cabin. The utilitarian Bollinger B2 pickup comes standard with a 8’2 foot bed, which is massive, but necessary for a Class 3 truck.
Perhaps the addition of the Hummer EV to the market will solidify the super short bed length as standard for electric trucks. We’ll have to wait and see how truck buyers feel about that, but short beds have become increasingly popular as crew cabs become the norm; a body style that owes its origin story to the Chevrolet Avalanche.