Vehicles | November 13, 2021 6:30 am

As the Military Eyes Electrification, GM Sees Potential in the Hummer EV

GM Defense is working on a prototype of a military vehicle based on the electric Hummer

The GMC Hummer EV driving through mud in the woods as part of an engineering test for the electric supertruck
GMC's Hummer EV off-roading during an engineering test.
GMC

To sell its new Hummer EV, GMC is harkening back to the military roots of the upcoming electric “supertruck.” In one press release, chief designer Al Oppenheiser even called the SUV model a “tactical tool in almost any situation.” Now, General Motors is looking to make that implicit military capability explicit. 

GM Defense, the military arm of GM, is currently working on a vehicle for the U.S. Army based on the Hummer EV, according to CNBC. The news comes after Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks visited the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Monday to understand how the company’s new technology could help the Department of Defense become “a more electric, autonomous and connected organization,” as GM Defense said in a press release.

If bought by the Defense Department, the new vehicle would bring the Hummer full circle for GM, who ushered AM General’s Humvee into the civilian arena at the turn of the century — but that prospect is a long ways off. At the moment, GM Defense is currently in the prototype phase, hoping to have models ready next year for military testing, according to Rick Kewley, vice president of product development and advanced engineering.

While it’s an interesting idea on the surface, soldiers driving around in these futuristic, crab-walking, straight-out-of-a-video-game trucks, that’s not quite the goal here. The prototype in question is being designed for non-tactical purposes as an “electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle,” or eLRV, as there isn’t infrastructure in place to support EVs in combat situations. Also, the final design likely won’t look much like the Hummer EV, but instead use various elements of it, like the frame, motors and GM’s Ultium batteries.

All of this is in the early stages, with other companies in the mix to supply EV prototypes for consideration, but GM Defense has a successful track record with similar projects. Last year, the company won an Army contract of $214.3 million for an Infantry Squad Vehicle based on the gas-powered Chevy Colorado ZR2, and they even built an electric version just to show off their EV capabilities.