Hummer Is Relaunching as an Electric Pickup. Here’s Why That’s a Bad Idea.
General Motors sees big money in luxury EV trucks
We first heard whispers that General Motors was reviving the Hummer brand back in June. Then even more leaked out during the United Auto Workers strike at GM. Now, it seems like all the rumors are true.
Hummer is coming back as an all-electric pickup truck under the GMC brand, according to anonymous sources in The Wall Street Journal.
“The new Hummer model, which is expected to go on sale by early 2022, is likely to be sold in small volumes as a rugged, jeep-like pickup truck for off-road enthusiasts, said people briefed on the strategy,” writes The Wall Street Journal.
Say it with us: Electric Hummer pickup. There’s a lot here to get excited about, not least of which is the decision to build these in America; the sources say GM’s electric truck program will be centered at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, which seems to be an outcome of the strike. Plus, climate champion Arnold Schwarzenegger — one of the original adopters of the civilian Hummer — will finally be able to get back behind the nameplate as it’s making the move from a gas guzzler to a zero-emissions vehicle.
However, there is one detail in this story that might make you bristle. The Journal makes note of the fact that companies “are rushing to bring electric trucks and SUVs to the U.S. market, convinced there is a niche of buyers willing to pay a premium.” An EV Hummer, sitting alongside GMC’s Denali lineup, will not come cheap. In other words, GM isn’t doing this to bring a pickup truck to the masses — they’re looking to make as much money as possible, in a strong truck and SUV market, on as few vehicles as possible.
The counter argument is that Hummers have always been higher-end vehicles, and electric vehicles have always started in the premium sector and then eventually move to more affordable prices, which are two fair points. But GM has been slow to release EVs (the Chevy Bolt being their big offering), and this vehicle isn’t slated to hit the market until 2022 (if at all), so instead of playing catchup to Tesla and Rivian, big automakers like GM and Ford should be looking to use the falling price of batteries to come up with a mass market design that normal truck buyers can actually afford, instead of catering to the top one percent. Now that would be something to get excited about.
We’ll keep you in the loop as more details emerge, and that might be sooner than you think. Another detail in the Journal’s story is that LeBron James will be starring in a Super Bowl commercial about the Hummer’s comeback. If that materializes, GM might be onto something here.
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