2020 Hummer (Photograph by GMC)

CRA Motoring News – USA

By Malibongwe Tyilo 

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The all-new Hummer drops its fuel-guzzling image and goes full electric, crab-walking into the future.

In 2007, Time magazine, together with Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive critic, Dan Neil, compiled a list of the worst cars ever made – unsurprisingly, the Hummer H2 made the list.

Neil had these choice words to say: “One struggles to think of a worse vehicle at a worse time. Introduced shortly after 9/11 – an event whose causes were tangled in America’s unquenchable thirst for oil – the Hummer H2 sent all the wrong signals.

“It was/is arrogantly huge, overtly militaristic, openly scornful of the common good… It all contributed to GM’s emerging image as the Dick Cheney of car companies.”

The Internet is littered with Hummer hate.

“Why People Love to Hate the Hummer,” said Newsweek in an article (sort-of) trying to get to the bottom of it.

“The Hummer H2 is the most embarrassing car you can drive,” proclaimed YouTube car reviewer Doug DeMuro to his three million subscribers.

American car insurance company, carinsurance.com, went the statistical route and surveyed 1,500 drivers to pick 12 cars they would be most embarrassed to be seen in – the Hummer H2 came in at #3, beaten only by the Nissan Cube and the Smart ForTwo.

Some have gone beyond words; in 2003, the Earth Liberation Front in the US torched several dealerships, vandalising dozens of Hummers and spraying the word “polluter” on them.

By 2009, GMC announced it would be discontinuing the Hummer, and by 2010 they shut down the Hummer brand completely.

However, in the spirit of what-next-2020, on Tuesday 20 October, GMC unveiled the Hummer EV, an all-electric zero emissions take on the bulky car.

It was initially teased in January 2020 and was supposed to launch in May; however, like many other 2020 plans, the launch was pushed out because of the pandemic.

2020 Hummer (Photograph by GMC)
2020 Hummer (Photograph by GMC)
2020 Hummer (Photograph by GMC)
2020 Hummer (Photograph by GMC)

The redesigned take on the signature boxy Hummer design gives it a thoroughly contemporary feel. The first model to be revealed takes the form of a twin cab bakkie, and yet looks nothing like your average bakkie.

It is still an absolutely massive car, and consumers who hated the Hummer H2 for its size as much as its fuel inefficiency probably won’t like this either, but those looking for size and off-road capability, minus the polluter label, this might be something you’ll fancy.

While the car will no doubt end up in many American city streets, GMC is punting the car as the ultimate off-roader, with some 30cm in ground clearance. In comparison, popular fuel engine off-roaders such as the Toyota Land Cruiser, Jeep Wrangler and even the new Land Rover Defender, all come in at 22.6cm, 27.4cm, and 29.2cm respectively.

The car also allows the driver to lower or raise the vehicle a full 15cm depending on their driving needs.

In addition to a terrain management system, another feature firmly targeted at off-roaders is something the manufactures call “crabwalk”; a setting which they say allows the rear wheels to turn “10 degrees in either direction”, effectively meaning the vehicle can drive diagonally to traverse rough off-road terrain.

The car also features underbody cameras – forward and rear facing to give maximum visibility of the trail.

The interior is thoroughly contemporary; like other electric vehicles such as the Tesla, it features two massive screens, a 31cm driver information display behind the steering wheel and a 34cm infotainment screen at the centre.

The roof has what GMC is calling “transparent sky panels” – basically their take on the popular panoramic roof. These can be manually removed and stored in the car’s bonnet where the engine would be if this was a fuel combustion engine.

The rear window can also drop down for a more immersive feeling of openness.

In terms of driving range and performance, the manufacturer promises approximately 56o kilometres on a single charge, approximately 1,000 horsepower and 15560 Nm in torque.

American consumers can already reserve ‘Edition 1’ of the car, which starts production in late 2021, likely to be available by 2022.

This is also the most expensive trim of the three that will be available, coming in at $112,595 (R1,8-million).

According to GMC’s website, “Reservations for Edition 1 are full,” and now potential buyers will have to get on the waiting list for the next drop. The cheapest version, to be released in 2024, comes in at $79,995 (R1,3-million).

Unsurprisingly, South Africans hoping to get their hands on one shouldn’t hold their breath. While there have been developments towards an infrastructure for electric mobility, it is far from where it needs to be for a widespread uptake of electric vehicles.

According to uYilo Electric Mobility Program’s State of Electric Vehicles in South Africa report, a total of 1,119 electric vehicles had been sold in SA by the end of 2019.

Although the number of locally available options is growing, such as with the addition of the Mercedes-Benz EQC, South Africa effectively only had three EV models in 2019 – the BMW i3, the Nissan Leaf and the newer more high-end Jaguar I-Pace.

For the time-being, local fans of the Hummer EV can only watch and enjoy from a distance. 

Article Credit To Daily Maverick.