Last fall, when General Motors revealed the GMC Hummer EV electric pickup, Duncan Aldred, head of the Buick and GMC brands, told CNN Business, “There will be an SUV, so watch this space.”
That space is now filled. GM revealed the GMC Hummer EV SUV on Saturday in a 60-second commercial narrated by LeBron James shown during the Houston-Baylor NCAA Final Four basketball game. A longer version of the commercial appears on the GMC.com website.
The Hummer EV pickup and SUV will be among the first vehicles from GM using a new electric vehicle battery system that will be the basis for dozens of new models over the coming years. General Motors recently announced it hopes to produce nothing but zero-emission vehicles by the year 2035.
With these models, GM is entering the market with attention-grabbing, high-performance off-road vehicles that defy common stereotypes of electric vehicles as slow and fit only for running errands around town. The approach is similar to that of Ford with the Mustang Mach-E. The Mach-E, a performance-oriented crossover SUV that went on sale late last year, has taken sales away from electric vehicle market leader Tesla.
The Hummer EV SUV is smaller with a nine-inch shorter wheelbase (the distance from the front to the rear wheels) than the pickup, which should give it better off-road maneuverability. It will not have the Hummer EV pickup’s maximum available 1,000 horsepower, though.
Like the Hummer EV pickup, the SUV will be available with four-wheel steering, including the ability to drive diagonally – a feature called “crab walk.” Four wheel steering also gives the SUV a small turning circle for a vehicle its size. GM claims it will be able to U-turn in a smaller area than a Mustang Mach-E, despite having a 10-inch longer wheelbase.
The SUV will also have “Extract Mode,” with which the vehicle can raise itself by as much as six inches to climb over obstacles, and removable roof panels to provide an open-air driving experience. Once removed, the panels can be kept in storage space under the SUV’s hood.
Drivers will be able to accelerate, slow down and stop the SUV in both on-road and off-road situations using just the accelerator pedal alone, according to GM. Normal two-pedal driving using the accelerator and brake pedals can be used, though.
The SUV has two rows of seats that can fit up to five people. There are currently no plans to offer a three-row version, GM executives said.
Depending on the specific version, the four-wheel-drive SUV will be powered by either two or three electric motors. Three-motor versions will be available with, at most, 830 horsepower. That’s less than the 1,000 horsepower available in the pickup, but still almost twice the power of a gasoline-fueled GMC Yukon Denali. The SUV will be able to go from zero to 60 miles an hour in as little as 3.5 seconds.
The reduced maximum power is simply because of the SUV’s smaller size, said Brook. With a shorter overall length, there was less room for batteries and therefore less power could be added.
Special navigation software will enable drivers to select off-road driving routes, taking into account the driving range remaining in the SUV’s batteries. Drivers will also be able to monitor energy consumption as they drive off-road using detailed satellite maps, according to GM.
If someone does run out of power, say while they’re out on the trail, Hummer EV vehicles will be able to recharge one another. They will also be able to provide power for tools and accessories.
Versions with the largest available battery packs should be able to drive more than 300 miles before needing to recharge, according to GM.
The GMC Hummer EV pickup will go into production by the end of this year, but the SUV won’t be available until early 2023. A special First Edition model, which will have three motors and 22-inch wheels, will cost $110,595. Lower priced versions will be available later. A 625-horsepower two-motor version with a range of over 250 miles will be available in 2024 for a starting price of about $80,000. GMC is accepting $100 refundable deposits for the Hummer EV SUV online, a spokesperson said. However, GM executives said Monday that reservations for the First Edition model were sold out shortly after they became available.