The EV that Nobody Needed

Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD



Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

­The incentives to get an electrical vehicle are pretty obvious. You help the environment by not using dirty fossil fuels and save money on cheaper running and maintenance costs, even as electricity prices rise, savings can be significant. The initial upfront costs of EVs are also dropping, and there are often government incentives to make them an even better investment. It really does sound almost all positive. However, like any good theory, it is not worth anything until the hypotheses has been tested. In this case, the test comes from the Hummer EV.

The GM-owned brand, most famous for its 14 miles to the gallon civilian version of the Humvee military transport, has recently launched its own take on the electric vehicle. Much like its oversized gas-powered brother, it is a behemoth. In fact, it is actually 30 inches longer, 6 inches taller and a few inches wider than the most recent H3 version of the vehicle. While the gas-powered H3 weighed just under 2270 Kg, the New Hummer EV tips the scales at a massive 4,080 Kg. The power required to move such such a huge mass requires a battery pack that is just as large, and the one in the Hummer EV weighs over 1,300 kg, around the weight of a Honda Civic. The capacity of that pack is 213 kWh, giving an estimated range of 350 miles for the pickup version and 300 for the SUV. In comparison, a Tesla Model S has an 85 kWh battery pack that weighs “only” 540 kg.

The sheer amount of materials required to build such a car ensures it has a large environmental impact, especially the amount of lithium and rare metals needed for that enormous battery pack. A huge amount of electricity also needs to be generated to charge the battery. Other vehicle companies, such as Rivian and Tesla, have announced their own oversized EVs. However, they at least have a sense of utility, which the Hummer EV lacks with the short flatbed in the pickup model. Like its gas-powered brother, it seems it just wants to be large for the sake of being large. The lack of utility, environmental impact and the $110,000 price tag don’t seem to be putting buyers off as the vehicle is proving very popular with consumers, with GM taking over 90,000 pre-orders. Personally, I was pretty surprised at those figures as I would have guessed the number of people who like both oversized, resource burning Hummers and who’d want to drive an EV to be pretty low. Hopefully the trend for oversized EVs stays predominantly in the US, just like the oversized gas-powered trucks that came before.