Henry Payne: Five cool things to know about GM's Hummer EV

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The 2022 GMC Hummer EV is a first-of-its kind supertruck developed to forge new paths with zero emissions. - Handout/GMC/TNS

True to its military roots, the GMC Hummer EV is big, brawny, and blingtastic. And now it’s electric.

The gas-guzzling celebrity toy has transformed into an electron-guzzling celebrity toy. The $112,595, three-electric motor “Edition 1” launch model (the base model starts at $80k) will roll off the line in late 2021 on massive, 35-inch off-road tires — loaded to its removable roof with the latest in automotive technology. Promising “zero limits” performance to go with its “zero-emissions” drive-train, General Motors Co.’s Hummer hopes to be as fashionably athletic as its new spokesman, Lebron James.

In an indication of Hummer’s performance ambitions, GMC pirated long-time Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser to create the OMG EV. “It’s an absolute off-road beast with a unique e4WD drive system that provides maneuverability unlike anything GM has ever offered,” said the muscle car veteran.

Here are five cool things to look for:

Crab mode

With four-wheel steering, the Hummer will have the ability to move like a crab. That is, diagonally, in order to get in and out of tight spots off-road. Officially dubbed “CrabWalk,” the system steers the front and rear wheels at parallel angles at low speeds, enabling sideways movement. With its underbelly armored with skid plates, the Hummer is designed for harsh terrain like its Army Humvee predecessors.

Power

Perched high off the ground with four-wheel-drive and enough Ultium batteries to take it 350 miles off the grid, the Hummer is a monster. But with three electric motors making 1,000 horsepower (a number usually associated with hyper-sports cars like the Aston Martin Valhalla), the silent rhino will hustle from 0-60 in a neck-snapping 3.0 seconds. Compare that to Tesla ‘s upcoming, 1,100-horse Model S Plaid trim that promises a run to 60 in 2 seconds.

Star view

Like a Jeep Wrangler, the Hummer wants to put its passengers closer to nature. The big pickup’s roof panels come off (including a front compartment T-bar) to offer an unobstructed view of the sky. Unlike the Wrangler, the Hummer’s doors are frameless, meaning the view won’t be obstructed by door frames. Where to store the panels? GMC has made room in the front trunk — or frunk, as it’s called. Ditching a gas engine for batteries stashed in its belly, Hummer now has plenty of storage under the hood.

Unreal Engine

Epic Games’ famous, 3D Unreal Engine rendering software dovetails nicely with Hummer’s no-gas engine theme. And with the new generation of Millennial buyers that Hummer hopes to appeal to. Unreal Engine is legendary in the gaming space as the 3d rendition software behind Epic Games’ PlayStation and PC hits like Fortnite. The Hummer team used the software for stunning, 3D images that can be displayed in the truck’s 13.4-inch console screen. The digital generation can gaze on a big, 12.3-inch display behind the steering wheel as well.

The 3D look leads a bevy of high-tech features including 18 camera views (including under the belly), high-speed charging, and Super Cruise — GM’s acclaimed, self-driving system heretofore only found on Cadillac.

eLuxury

Pickup trucks are the new luxury class and Hummer is marinated in style. The bed can be covered by an automatic tonneau cover. The rear window will automatically roll down as well. This being a GMC pickup, the Hummer will also come with a MultiPro tailgate which can be configured six different ways including as stairs into the bed or as an architect’s table. Like its sibling GMC Yukon SUV, Hummer will feature air suspension so the truck can be raised or lowered 6 inches for better access — or off-road clearance.

All these features are wrapped in a familiar Hummer look. The truck is designed with signature square wheel arches, c-pillar sail, and high side sills topped by a narrow greenhouse. Like Hummers of yore, the truck features a tall front grille for extreme off-road approach angles — but with a twist.

As an EV, the Hummer’s signature, six-slot grille will light up with the Hummer since the grille is no longer needed to feed air to the gas engine behind. The Hummer EV comes a long way from the crude Hummer that AMG first launched into the market with the urging of celebrity actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1992. That diesel-powered animal was a Humvee military vehicle with lipstick.

The new Hummer EV sits on an all-new electric platform with a 21st-century interior. GMC is hoping buyers will ride it into the future.

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Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne.

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© 2020 The Detroit News

From bold and futuristic design cues, to cleverly executed details, the 2022 GMC Hummer EV reimagines an instantly recognizable silhouette for a modern, all-electric future. - Handout/GMC/TNS
The 2022 GMC Hummer EV's design visually communicates extreme capability, reinforced with rugged architectural details that are delivered with a premium, well-executed and appointed interior. - Handout/GMC/TNS