General Motors is said to be reviving the Hummer brand as an all-electric truck and SUV maker
The Hummer SUV brand petered out of existence after General Motors’ bankruptcy proceedings, in 2010, after failing to find a suitable buyer. Nobody, even cash-rich Chinese automakers, wanted anything to do with a brand that embodied the hulking, conspicuously inefficient SUVs that had become toxic the world over. Gas prices were still high, Toyota Priuses were seemingly taking over the road—General Motors even introduced hybrid versions of its Chevy Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade. A decade later, gas prices have stayed cheap amidst an economic boom, and guess what Americans are buying again in droves? S-U-Vs. It’s just the opening GM needs to resurrect Hummer.
Rumors have begun circulating that General Motors plans to bring back Hummer, this time as an all-electric SUV brand. It isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Hummer, when it still existed, was a premium brand within GM’s hierarchy. With electric-vehicle tech still pricey, GM could launch a long-range SUV under the Hummer name, taking advantage of higher MSRPs to turn a better profit than it could on a lower-priced EV such as the Chevy Bolt. By going electric, the automaker also could wash its hands of its environmentally unfriendly image, absolving itself of the gas-guzzling sins of its past. And has nobody yet thought of how on point the Hummer name is for an electric car? Electric motors, um, hum. It’s perfect.
To give you an idea of what a new Hummer might look like, we had our artist put together the renderings included here. It’s easy to assume that the basic Hummer styling traits established in the early 2000s would reappear on the electric model: Blocky, squared-off roof; stubby seven-slat grille (although in this case, it’d be purely decorative—remember, no engine!); and a generally fat, chunky appearance. The large tabs carrying the Hummer logo on the wheels, which looked sort of odd back when Hummer was around the first time would somehow seem funky and futuristic-looking on an electric SUV’s wheels.
Based on a report in Reuters, a potential Hummer reboot would lean on GM’s new electric truck and SUV platform that is set to be be produced (for a variety of in-house GM brands) in its Detroit-Hamtramck plant. We suspect that the Hummer version would be the most off-road-capable, not least because of the Hummer brand’s tough, military-honed off-road image. There also is the small matter of Rivian to consider. The upstart electric automaker is based near GM’s Detroit headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan, and is on track to put its R1T pickup and R1S SUV on sale by 2021. Off-road capability will be among the Rivians’ selling points—along with a huge, 400-mile-plus (644-km) driving range per charge—so Hummer surely would need to bring its A-game to avoid being upstaged.
If you’re intrigued by Hummer’s revival, prepare to wait. The electric truck platform GM is developing won’t go into production until 2021 at the earliest. Timing-wise, that puts a potential Hummer variant’s arrival in the mix with Rivian’s R1S and an all-electric Cadillac SUV, although given the legwork involved in restarting a long-dormant brand, the Hummer EV’s debut could push to the 2023 or 2024 model years.