Review: The 2022 GMc Hummer EV redefines the pickup truck
The first thing you notice about the 2022 GMC Hummer EV is its giant size – clearly Hummer means huge.
But the real reveal comes once in the driver’s seat and the ignition turns on. This is an all new type of pickup truck and quite different from the gas guzzling and unsightly vehicles that were the previous iteration of the Hummer brand.
Although impressive, all is not perfect; Trucks.com describes the issues below. But what’s clear is that Hummer will introduce enthusiasts to the joys of electric off-roading – for the minority of owners who will pull it off the pavement. It also foreshadows many of the features and characteristics that consumers will experience with the advent of large electric pickups and SUVs.
From the first electric creep, the Hummer quickly displays two characteristics that set it apart from other trucks and, indeed, from most large SUVs. The vehicle glides on superb air suspension that eliminates the constant jostling and bouncing that plagues most pickup trucks, especially when empty. And then it spins in no time, thanks to a unique four-wheel steering system and front and rear-mounted electric motors.
2022 GMC Hummer EV Size
Consider this. Although the Hummer is 216.8 inches long and 86.7 inches wide — not including the mirrors — it has an 18.55-foot turning radius. Depending on the body configuration, it’s slightly smaller than a BMW 3 Series sedan and two to eight feet shorter than a Ford F-150. Who would have thought that a pickup truck could turn like an iconic sports sedan?
This is all quickly apparent on the paved roads, but the truck’s revolutionary nature becomes even more apparent once it hits the dirt road. In several hours of off-road riding in the hills near Peoria, Arizona, the Hummer conquered a variety of tough terrain, including washboards, ruts, a dry creek bed, steep climbs and small rock gardens. Although occupants still feel the jolts and jerks expected of off-road driving, the Hummer’s suspension dampened a surprising degree of harshness.
There is a bonus – no engine noise. Traversing dirt trails past wild donkeys and other desert wildlife, the Electric Hummer is nearly silent save for the crunch of dirt and rocks under the 35-inch tires. Electric off-roading is more serene and in many ways more fun than driving the same trail in a gasoline or diesel vehicle.
Three motor system
The heart of the Hummer includes a three-motor drive system that GMC claims produces 1,000 horsepower and a combined axle torque of 11,500 lb-ft. There is no need to start accelerating in anticipation of a steep climb. That torque is there instantly, allowing the Hummer to climb hills and rocky obstacles slowly, steadily and with confidence.
Technically, the three-motor system creates all-wheel-drive rather than the four-wheel-drive off-road vehicles typically used. But they won’t notice the difference, even in the trickiest of situations. If necessary, the software couples the motors to the rear, matching wheel slip to create a virtual rear axle locker. There is also a mechanical front trunk, as this axle uses a single electric motor. There are five skid plates to protect the Hummer’s underbody from rocks and other obstacles. The central screen displays a choice of camera views, including what’s underneath, to help drivers navigate rough terrain.
Hummer roof panels are easily removed and stored under the hood where a gas engine is on other vehicles. It’s a fun outdoor off-road experience. But wind and noise are significant once back on the highway. And the lightweight panels let more heat and sun into the cabin than a traditional roof or closed sunroof.
The Hummer can tow up to 7,500 pounds. It can carry a payload of 1,300 pounds. But both will reduce range, requiring more frequent charging.
2022 GMC Hummer EV Technology
GMC packed the Hummer with other smart technologies.
The CrabWalk function combines the rear wheels and the front wheels to steer at the same angle at low speeds, allowing diagonal movement of the vehicle. This makes it easier to avoid obstacles or make sharp turns on the trail.
Extraction Mode is a feature that raises the ride height by 6 inches to deal with extreme obstacles such as crossing streams or clearing rocks. The can go through 32 inches of water.
It’s the first General Motors vehicle to feature the new version of Super Cruise, an automated driving system that works on most major US highways. The system allows the truck to drive itself. The driver does not need to hold the steering wheel or operate the brake and accelerator pedals. The truck will move up to a preset speed limit, overtaking slower cars if necessary without driver input. It’s not real self-driving. The driver must keep their eyes on the road and a camera monitors compliance. Some curves will be too tight for the automated system to navigate and it will switch off and ask the driver to take control. He won’t take the Hummer through the freeway on-ramps and off-ramps. Yet it is among the best automated systems automakers have developed and reduces driver fatigue on long journeys.
But this also presents another problem. GMC made Super Cruise a subscription service. It will expire after three years of ownership without renewal. The automaker did not provide a price for the renewal.
And then there’s what GMC calls Watts to Freedom. It’s a fun parlor trick that few will have the space to do safely. It is a combination of parameters that allow a driver to wind electric motors at full power. When ready, the driver slams on the accelerator pedal, triggering a drag-race-like jump that throws occupants back into their seats. Although exciting, the maneuver can only be conducted safely on a closed course. The concern with the frame is that owners will try it in vacant parking lots and streets, and mishaps will ensue. While fun, Watts to Freedom is impractical.
Although it’s a technical marvel, the Hummer EV still has some issues that potential buyers need to consider.
Issues to consider
First, the over $110,000 price tag of the Hummer EV Edition 1, the model currently on sale. This makes it the most expensive vehicle GMC and parent company General Motors sell. There are plenty of great six-figure, gas-powered and electric vehicles out there.
Next comes the purchase and delivery process. Production is limited. People sell their reservation seats, and even those with a firm order face another hurdle: negotiating the price with the concessionaire. GMC provides a suggested price, but nothing stops a dealer from asking for more, as many have much more mundane vehicles due to the current industry-wide inventory shortage.
There are also issues with the Hummer itself, starting with its massive 9,000-pound weight. It’s about twice the weight of a typical Chevrolet Silverado. It’s so heavy that the Hummer couldn’t tow another Hummer.
The electric drivetrain has no problem moving the vehicle, as evidenced by the 0-60 mph time of just over three seconds. But once a driver takes a vehicle off-road, anything can happen, including getting stuck in sand or mud. Freeing the Hummer will require a winch and another Hummer or heavy truck. And the Hummer doesn’t have a fitting for a winch, so pulling the truck out will be tricky and possibly expensive.
No spare tire
It has another critical off-road flaw. The Hummer does not come with a spare wheel and tire. That might make sense for GMC engineers trying to reduce weight and preserve range distance and cargo and cabin space. But flat tires are part of off-roading. Those who do a lot rarely escape the occasional apartment. Owners can buy an extra wheel and tire for $700 and throw them in the bed of the truck. There’s no way they’re going to the desert without one.
The Hummer is General Motors’ first vehicle equipped with its new Ultium Modular Battery and new drive system. It uses two layers of vertical cell modules to produce a combined 24-module pack offering an estimated range of 329 miles. The battery is giant and represents the massive weight of the Hummer.
Owners can expect longer charging times than other EVs because there’s more to charge. It will take about 20 hours of charging through a typical 240-volt home charger on a 40-amp circuit to put 200 miles of range on the Hummer. A 60 amp circuit reduces that to about 13 hours. GMC has equipped the Hummer with technology that allows for much faster charging, but most public and home charging infrastructure can’t exploit that.
The Hummer EV Edition 1 comes standard with a full suite of advanced driver assistance features such as automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring.
It also has an excellent tech package accessible via a 13.4-inch-diagonal infotainment screen and a 12.3-inch-diagonal central driver information display. But there are a lot of buttons and settings. The system is intimidating to those new to the vehicle. Owners will have to climb a learning curve to access and understand all the features.
Get in line now
Most consumers will not be able to buy a Hummer. The price puts it out of reach. And for those who wish, stand in line. Buyers who do not yet have a reservation can expect to wait several years.
Nevertheless, it is one of the most important vehicle introductions in years, especially for General Motors. This shows how pickup trucks and large SUVs will change when transitioning from internal combustion engines. The Hummer is a wonderful testbed for technology that will find its way into cheaper, smaller vehicles. It is a leap forward.