GM gives us a peek at its upcoming Hummer electric bakkie
Detroit - The Hummer, once a gas-guzzling target for environmentalists, is making a comeback. But this time around it won't burn fuel or spew greenhouse gases.
General Motors announced on Thursday that it will start selling a battery-powered Hummer bakkie in the US from September 2021.
GM gave only a few details about the truck, which will be unveiled officially on May 20. It will have a huge battery to generate the equivalent of 745kW, and will be able to go from zero to 60mph (96km/h) in three seconds.
The truck will be sold under the GMC brand as the Hummer EV. The new version will have similar design elements but will not look like the Hummers of the past, said GM spokeswoman Michelle Malcho.
GM wouldn't reveal the price or say how far the new truck can go on a single charge of its battery.
Even though the truck is electric, GM likely will be able to attract former Hummer buyers if it delivers on promises of power and speed, said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst for Navigant Research. With 745kW, the new Hummer would be the most powerful production vehicle GM has ever made, he said.
“I don’t know that the people who bought Hummers 15 years ago would necessarily be turned off by the fact that it’s electric,” he said. “What they wanted was the big kind of brutish look, at least the perception of go-anywhere capability even if they didn’t go anywhere most of the time.”
The market also could be expanded to affluent “personal use” truck buyers who want to go off the road and spend time in the outdoors, Abuelsamid said.
Abuelsamid said the new Hummer will compete directly with Tesla’s upcoming “Cybertruck,” a futuristic, heavily angled vehicle that will hit the market sometime next year with a starting price in the US of $39 900 (R590 000). A tri-motor, long-range version will have a base price of $69 900 (R1 036 000).
To compete at the lower price, GM will have to offer a version of the Hummer pickup with a smaller battery and less power. Abuelsamid can see GM putting a starting price of $45 000 (R660 000) on the Hummer and “going up to $80 000 or $85 000 for the top-end model."
GM also will have to exceed 480km of range on a single charge to compete with Tesla and other manufacturers who plan to roll out electric pickups in the coming years, he said.
The company scrapped the Hummer brand early in 2010 after it emerged from bankruptcy protection.
The brand originated as the Humvee military vehicle built by AM General LLC in South Bend, Indiana. GM acquired rights to build civilian versions.
The Hummer attracted a devoted following among SUV lovers, who were drawn to the off-road ready vehicles. But the vehicles drew scorn from environmentalists and sales never recovered after fuel prices soared in the summer of 2008.