The 2022 GMC Hummer EV will launch as a flagship vehicle for General Motors, and even though one might think that means it’s been years in the making, the development process will be blisteringly fast. The project only got the green light in April, 2019, meaning we are only 18 months into the electric truck’s development cycle. And now, we only have a year until deliveries are expected, assuming there are no delays. According to Green Car Reports, the result of the project still being in its infancy and having a short development cycle ahead is that GMC doesn’t even have a running prototype yet. But that’s just because of the order in which things are happening.
“Interestingly enough, we don’t have a vehicle yet. We’re building our first test vehicle as we speak; the vehicle you see in the video is our display vehicle” Al Oppenheiser, the GMC Hummer EV’s Chief Engineer, told the outlet. And “display vehicle” doesn’t refer to another existing GM truck rebooted to look like a GMC Hummer EV, it’s all CGI in the reveal video. There is, however, a physical truck with no internals that has been featured in some recent YouTube videos following the reveal.
When it comes to the Hummer EV prototypes being built in Milford right now, they won’t wear camouflage.
“Because of the reveal there’s no exterior camo… it’s actually another enabler for us to go fast,” said Todd Hubbard, vehicle dynamics engineer for the Hummer EV to MC&T. “Everyone is so happy that we don’t have that requirement. It’s really refreshing.”
How exactly is GM going possibly going to get vehicles to customers in a year if they don’t even have a prototype? The secret is in the Ultium drive units. The modular battery and motor systems are already finished and ready to go, taking a major step out of the truck’s development. And given much of modern car engineering is done in computers before a vehicle is even made, GMC just needs to build a physical model of what they’ve already engineered, and plop in the Ultium drive unit. There’s your prototype.
Still, it’s not a cakewalk from here. Rivian, with their rival R1T EV truck has been showing their prototype testing in all sorts of extreme conditions for some time now. If the Hummer EV is as good off-road as they say it will be, the engineers will need to rack up a massive amount of miles in a wide variety of conditions, and do this in only a year.
Luckily, that team put together for the Hummer EV program are known for their expediency, and the ability to knock walls down to achieve a goal. The task force is being led by the aforementioned Oppenheiser, who used to oversee the Camaro team, while several designers were pulled from the C8 Corvette program. Other engineers, like Hubbard, came from off-road vehicle programs like the bygone Hummer H3T and currently available Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison.
The Hummer EV Edition 1 will be the first and only GMC Hummer available for the 2022 model year. The vehicle was fully reserved in a scant 10 minutes, with thousands more on a waiting list. By the 2023 model year, the Hummer EV3X trim level will debut, followed by the more affordable Hummer EV2 and EV2X variants the following year.