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Friday / 27 May 2022
HomeFeaturesElectric Hummer review – You either love it or you don’t

Electric Hummer review – You either love it or you don’t

By Hannah Elliott, Los Angeles

There may be no more polarizing vehicle than General Motors’s new Hummer EV.

The $112,595 (R1.66 million), more than 9,000-pound (4,082kg) pickup is a gargantuan remake of the military vehicle that was tamed for civilians in the 1990s.

It is 1,000 horsepower (746kW) of muscled Americana with knobby tires and a ridiculous launch mode that will further inflate the diaphanous egos of those who engage it.

It is as tall as a tank with a hood extending to my shoulder height. Nobody needs this truck.

On the other hand, it’s electric!

Driving range is 329 miles (529km). It can charge to 100 miles (161km) in 12 minutes using an 800v DC fast-charger. Blissfully silent, it recently allowed me to pass wild donkeys in the desert outside Scottsdale without so much as a flick of a furry ear.

So: paean to gluttony or ode to innovation? The Hummer EV is an automotive Rorshach test whose answer will reflect your predispositions.

Modernized Icon

Anyone can deduce its purpose just by looking: This is a powerful machine meant to signal the status and dominance of the person who owns it.

It will excel at carrying sports and outdoor gear in its flatbed, and is rugged enough to use for camping or exploring hard-to-access locales, as long as you can figure out a way to charge it every other day or so.

It will make a great support mule when you want a home base vehicle for a weekend of riding dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles.

I drove a “First Edition,” which comes only in white, with a two-tone interior.

It has an Extreme Off-Road Package that adds air suspension and a crab-walk function that moves the vehicle sideways when useful. There are 35-inch tires, underbody armor, and rock sliders that allow the rig to move down sheer sides without harm.

Deliveries of First Editions started earlier this year, and they have already sold out.

Subsequent editions are available for a $100 (R1,473) reservation fee; pricing starts at $79,995 (R1.18 million). You’ll have to wait a year for delivery of any edition you choose – unless you hunt on Bring a Trailer, where one sold on April 1 for $275,000 (R4.05 million).

This looks like the Humvee that Arnold Schwarzenegger would remember. Rectangular lights hang across the front like military badges. The headlights and taillights bear the distinctive H inside. The door handles, side mirrors, and fenders are all squared.

This Hummer is more capable than its predecessor.

Launch mode, activated by settings in the console, goes to 60 mph (97km/h) in three seconds.

I did it twice in a parking lot. It felt like the cartoon moment when the roller coaster car plunges and your skeleton moves forward while your organs and eyeballs lag like silly putty. It was so jarring, it triggered a headache. Some will love it.

Torque is 11,500 pound-feet (15,592Nm); towing is 7,500 pounds (3,400kg); and payload is 1,300 pounds (590kg) – less than the 1,760 pounds (800kg) promised by the Rivian R1T and 2,000 (907kg) promised by the Ford Lightning electric trucks.

Top speed is 106 mph (171km/h).

If I were to own this thing, I’d load it with plants and pots, shovels, and the other gardening gear I schlep around on weekends. I’m not so advanced a gardener – yet – as to need to haul any gear, but the heavy-duty D-ring recovery hooks on the front and back of the Hummer I drove would easily suffice.

Each is frame-mounted and has a load capacity of up to 15,000 pounds (6,800kg). Roof rails, a spare tire cover, and additional off-road high-mounted light bars and pod lights are also available.

I was more impressed with how easily it cruised at 80 mph (129km/h).

It jumped from 60 mph to 90 mph with a quickness – and from such a high vantage point – that it felt as if I were flying.

The “Supercruise” guided me on cruise control that followed the curves in the highway without my input on steering.

One caveat: I became so relaxed that I nearly missed my exit. I had to cross three lanes of traffic in less space than I (and the cars behind me) would have preferred.

Off-Road Gladiator

Once on dirt, I switched to Off-Road and Terrain modes, which helped navigate unstable rocks and deep gullies. (Each driving mode has specific chassis and suspension characteristics.)

I did nothing so challenging as driving up rivers, traversing dunes, or crawling boulders (as I have done in Rivian’s R1T and Jeep’s electric Wrangler), so I remain uncertain as to how the behemoth Hummer would handle those challenges.

There’s no place to charge in the desert, and towing things, extreme temperatures, running the air conditioning, and so forth will deplete the battery faster. Be wary when planning adventures.

The vehicle also lacks visibility over its hood and sides. GM mitigates the blind spots by offering 18 different camera views, among which I switched often to ensure I wouldn’t graze rocks as I passed.

The roof consists of four removable panels. I removed and stored them within five minutes and then felt so in touch with nature!

As the truck moved forward silently, the scent of sage wafted in and a breeze caressed my cheeks.

On the way back after I had replaced the roof panels, though, the sun felt increasingly oppressive through the plastic top. I yearned to hide from the heat under a conventional roof, but the Hummer EV is inherently unconventional.

I like that this vehicle offers a strong point of view, even if I wouldn’t necessarily want that point of view every day.

Do we need an electric Hummer? No. But plenty will want one.

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