In a development that reads either as a dream fulfilled or an answer to a question you weren’t asking, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that GM is planning to revive the Hummer name after a decade-long absence (well, here at least) as a GMC sub-branded pickup truck. Furthermore, speculation could be extremely short-term — we may know it’s happening for real as soon as Feb. 2 by way of a Super Bowl ad featuring presumed EV evangelist and Baja 1000 enthusiast LeBron James.
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We’re not prone to idle speculation around these parts, but listen: all-electric Hummer. Take a second to read those words in that order again as a thing you may be able to buy off a showroom floor. Cars.com’s staff is certainly intrigued by the idea, but if this is going to happen, we also have suggestions on what GM can do to appeal more to the masses.
Here are seven things we’d like to see in an electric Hummer:
1. Mandatory MultiPro Tailgate
The MultiPro Tailgate function debuted on the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 and after playing around with it on a few different occasions over the past couple of years, I find myself dazzled anew each time by the engineering ingenuity in what, for some other truck makers, is an afterthought component. From the dampened opening to the six different functions you can contort it for, the MultiPro Tailgate is one of GM’s niftiest recent innovations. If there does turn out to be an electric Hummer pickup truck variant (and not just an SUV), this feature seems like a no-brainer whether it winds up as a smaller H3-esque full-size or an H2-type heavy duty.
2. A Denali for Less Dinero and No Inferior Interiors
Whatever class GM intends the next Hummer for, there will be competition — from the coming electric Ford F-150 and Rivian R1T in the full-size segment and (depending on whom you’re asking) the Tesla Cybertruck as either a full-size or heavy duty. That means the Hummer EV won’t have things all its own way, and that means it’d better be competitively priced from the entry trim level all the way up to the Denali (or Denali equivalent). What GMC is currently doing with its most decadent GMC trim on the Sierra 1500 isn’t worth the extra cost in our view, and given how expensive the proposition of an electric Hummer already is, there will either have to be something special to merit the added spend or a more reasonable price point for consumers compelled to shop for one. To get back on par with the opposition, GMC needs to class up the Hummer’s interior and offer more technology like the Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500’s Advanced Trailering System, which makes life palpably easier for those who tow. And speaking of tech …
3. Super Cruise Supplied
What’s a more visible way to show off GM tech strides this side of a Corvette C8 than with the Detroit automaker’s state-of-the-art self-driving system? Introduced as an option on the 2018 Cadillac CT6, Super Cruise remains exclusive to GM’s highest-end brand.
“Let’s see it outside Cadillac already,” says Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays.
A new Hummer seems like the ideal opportunity to expand the technology’s availability.
4. Let the Bed Plugs Bite
Senior Research Editor Mike Hanley suggests practical electric tech out back that could appeal to the work-truck set, long the dominant truck-shopping demographic.
“I’d like to see it have the ability to run high-draw power tools, like a circular saw, right from a conventional power outlet in the cargo bed,” he says. “That way, you’re never without a source of power no matter where different jobs take you.”
Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder is less pointed.
“I’d like to see individual hub motors — or any exclusive technology that changes the game for electric motoring, off-roading or both,” he says. “Really, anything that makes this vehicle more than what it could easily be: a marketing exercise that we’re proving has merit simply by discussing it at such an early stage. Look, I understand the thinking; everyone loves a redemption story, and the notion of a tarnished gas-guzzling brand being resurrected as a purveyor of zero-(tailpipe)-emissions trucks is a recipe for endless free buzz. But I hope GM puts some skin in this game in the form of product development as it did when it established the Hummer brand. Absent that, all you have is a Hummer version of a GMC version of a Chevrolet truck, a nice story for uninformed TV talking heads to blather on about and, reportedly, LeBron James.”
5. Celebrity Endorsements … or Not
As Assistant Managing Editor Matt Schmitz opines, “The O.G. Hummer’s shameless outlandishness lent it an air (a polluted one) of conspicuous consumption for a fraternity of Hollywood dude-bros in the late ’90s and early aughts. To get buyers charged up for the Hummer’s EV evolution, GM should release an accompanying TV-advertising spot featuring Humvee early adopter Arnold Schwarzenegger sternly lecturing the erstwhile cast of HBO’s ‘Entourage’ — still schlepping around L.A. in their trademark yellow H2 — on the perils of climate change and how they need to switch to electric or else he’ll be … oh, you know the rest.”
Interesting addendum on Arnold: During the course of his political career in California, Schwarzenegger drifted from the decadent gas-guzzling SUV in practice, if not in appearance, by converting his Hummers to vegetable oil, biodiesel and hydrogen. An official fully electric version seems like the last logical leap necessary to get to the next chopper … but as Wiesenfelder has observed, “The bigger the star pitching the product, the less impressive the product. If the product’s strong enough, it doesn’t need the distraction of a human being, especially one with no known connection to any of its attributes.”
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6. Expanding Beyond EVs
The shift to an all-electric sub-brand may be a jarring one for longtime devotees of the Hummer name, so L.A. Bureau Chief Brian Wong thinks it would do the whole enterprise some good not to go all in on all-electric.
“I’d like to see some kind of gas or diesel range extender,” he says. “There’s a reason we don’t see off-road-oriented EVs: Most of the places you’ll go off-roading don’t have charging, so you can make it there, but making it back might be tricky. A part-time range extender (a la the BMW i3) that kicks in when the batteries get low would add range and give more flexibility.”
7. Outlets in the Outlands
Logistics Editor Brian Normile takes Wong’s idea in the other direction: Upgrade the infrastructure, not just the truck.
“If [the Hummer]’s gonna be an off-roader and electric, then GMC better figure out some way to keep it charged.”
Normile suggests establishing a charging system akin to Volkswagen and Ford’s efforts with Electrify America somewhere like Zion National Park in Utah as a way to entice the off-road set and attract attention not just to the Hummer’s off-pavement capabilities, but also to the GMC brand at large.
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