As we move into an era destined to be more populated by electric vehicles, automakers across the globe are rolling out EVs in more and more segments. Here in the States, the GMC Hummer EV is destined to be the first electric pickup produced by a Legacy automaker. While we’ve already gotten to know the prototype over the past few months, General Motors still has some work to do before the truck’s sales debut. This morning, the automaker announced that the Hummer EV is officially starting its winter testing procedure here in the Great Lakes State.
According to GMC, the Hummer EV will begin its journey at the company’s Milford Proving Grounds, where it will undergo standard validation testing. From there, the truck will venture into the northern Michigan wilderness, where things are a bit chilly this time of year. Automakers use these tests to help calibrate systems like ABS and traction control modules for slick weather conditions, as well as ensure the durability of parts in sub-zero temperatures. That last part presents an interesting challenge for the new Hummer thanks to one specific part: the lithium-ion battery pack.
It is no secret that lithium-ion batteries don’t like extreme temperatures on either end of the spectrum. If you’ve ever set your phone down on a hot day or pulled it out on the ski-slopes, you are familiar with this notion. These batteries contain an electrolyte fluid inside the individual cells, which ostensibly thins out or thickens up depending on the temperature. This changes the speed at which battery is able to charge and discharge. The batteries that power electric cars are no different in this regard. And while they are certainly more robust than what’s powering your iPhone, these batteries can present owners with decreased range and performance in the winter.
Furthermore, EV automakers have to utilize heaters to protect the electrical components, as well as heat the cabin. Because there is no metal block containing several explosions a second, this heat has to be entirely generated by using the car’s battery. GMC will certainly be spending some time to figure out exactly how much range customers will lose in cold weather, and ways that they can try to mitigate these losses.
With the GMC Hummer EV heading up north for winter testing, we are only getting closer to its actual sales debut. Considering just how capable this truck appears to be off-road, we’re sure it can handle a bit of the powdery stuff. That said, it does make one wonder what 1,000 horsepower and 1,000 ft-lbs of torque feels like on snow.