On paper, the GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 reads like something that would require some sort of special license. 1,000 horsepower, 1,200 lb-ft of motor torque, some 9,000 pounds (a third of that is just the battery pack alone), a 0-60 time that rivals the C8 Corvette, and room for the crew plus the gear. But if you have a valid license, off you go. Then again, America lets septuagenarians leave the lot with a new motor home like they’re ordering a pizza. So, you know.
Being entirely aware of how powerful and quick and seismic the Hummer EV is, General Motors engineers worked quite literally around the clock to make the truck as approachable as a 1,000 horsepower machine can be. Its turning circle shames anything close to its size, and is actually that of the diminutive Chevrolet Spark (ironically not electric), thanks to four-wheel steering. Not stopping there, the Hummer EV is also affixed with an array of cameras, including under the body, to avoid any contact with obstacles, people, or unsuspecting wild burros either on the road or far, far away from one.
Depending on the circumstance, there’s a driving mode for it. Towing Mode, Terrain Mode, Off-Road Mode, WTF Mode, Crabwalk Mode. Crabwalk Mode, while in Off-Road Mode. Crabwalk Mode, while in Off-Road Mode, while in One Pedal Driving mode. While using the underbody cameras to traverse a rock. The varying degrees of customization and control that the GMC Hummer EV allows the driver to do feels like second to none. Like Nothing Else, one might say.
What really rose above all of those party tricks, however, was this: the pedal mapping. Astonishingly good. One would assume that with 1,000 horsepower under their right foot that they would hair-trigger the throttle around a cliffside ORV trail and send themselves off the mountain and into oblivion. From what we gathered, that’s not the case. It handles itself carefully off-road, vectoring torque to where it can be used the most, greeting each challenge as if it were Gordon Ryan at a Sunday open mat. Gordon drives a TRX, by the way.
Is It Perfect?
Well, of course nothing is perfect. But the two things that left most of us media seeking room for improvement in the $112,000 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 was the interior. Yes, the design is fantastic, and yes it looks great in photos. But nearly everything one touches still feels like it’s a design studio mock-up. There’s no fancy material usage where there probably should be (even though I’m the first one to tell you that truck and SUV interiors have probably gotten too nice), and the mirrors just didn’t feel quite right, visibility-wise.
While engineers went above and beyond to control the power of the electric Humvee, there’s also no getting around its sheer weight. It feels damn heavy out there, relative to even the Ram Power Wagon, and the lack of live axles means that there’s little to no articulation. Which means there’s occasionally a wheel dangling somewhere in one of the four corners, and not doing its job by providing traction with the ground. This is probably what Extraction Mode can help with, but calibrations for this high-riding setting are not yet ready. The setting will be downloaded to existing Hummer EVs via an OTA in the near future. I’d also like to see how this behemoth handles on 37-inch tires, which the wheel speed sensors will detect and calibrate to.
Down the road, we’ll be keeping an eye on how well the Hummer EV, and its LG-supplied Ultium battery technology, holds up.
Three Things We’d Add To The Hummer EV
The three features that we’d like to see down the road during the Hummer’s lifecycle are this: removable doors (they’re already frameless, like the Bronco), a Chevrolet Avalanche-style midgate (this feature made it onto the Silverado EV, which shares the same architecture), and an off-road oriented version of the Performance Data Recorder system we see on the Cadillac Blackwings, Chevrolet Camaro, and Corvette.
$112,000 Party Piece
Ultimately, the GMC Hummer EV is just fun. It just is. Never mind all the noise about how “it’s still a Hummer.” That’s not the point. Besides, such terminally online pundits serving such cold takes would not dare acquire one (what would Twitter think?), so their opinion matters not. And anybody interested in these vehicles (66,000+ reservations and counting) isn’t paying attention to them anyway.
So, with that dynamic canceling itself out the only thing left to do is to log off social media and get the hang of Crabwalk mode. Or rooster tail some sand out on the dunes in silence. Or just marvel at the Unreal Engine graphics. Or sunbathe with the sky panels stowed in the frunk on an Arizona highway with Super Cruise activated. There really is nothing else out there that delivers on such an experience.
A Testament To GM’s Capabilities
It’s the most powerful production vehicle General Motors has ever built, and an example of modern ambition and willpower that could only come out of the USA. It’s one of the most innovative vehicles the company has ever built in… maybe since the Chevrolet Volt? But bigger, bolder, and far more indulgent. And in two freaking years. We can’t even get a Zelda: Breath of the Wild video game sequel in that time. A video game.
Indeed, the reborn Hummer is the auto industry’s best attempt at filling EV skeptics with a sense of curiosity and amusement. Because at the end of the day, the paradigm of cars and trucks, no matter how they’re powered, is supposed to be about having fun. And if it stops being fun, then it stops.