News Treehugger Voices Electric Hummer is 'Innovation Engineered to Ensure Domination' Just what the world needs! By Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Published October 21, 2020 11:07AM EDT A dominating front end. GMC Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices After a tease where the electric Hummer was announced during the Super Bowl, General Motors has formally launched the Hummer EV. As promised, it has 1,000 horsepower under the hood or the floor or wherever they put the electric motors, 11,500 pound-feet of torque (although as Steven Ewing of Road Show explains, that's not necessarily an accurate representation), and it really does go from 0 to 60 in three seconds. (Electric vehicles are great at this because of all that torque.) Oh, and the launch price for this top of the line model is $112,000. It has a range of 350 miles on a full charge, but if you hook it up to an 800 Volt DC fast charger, it will enable 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes of charging, which will go a long way toward eliminating any range anxiety. It has an "extract mode" that lifts the truck by 6 inches to get over rocks, and lowers the truck for regular terrain to lower the center of gravity and deliver better aerodynamics. Its tires are a yard across. It has four-wheel steering and can "crab walk" diagonally to get through tough spots, self-driving features, and removable roof panels. According to the press release, it has: "Revolutionary street performance from a truck, enabled by extraordinary next-gen EV power. Head turning looks and an unmistakable stance. The GMC HUMMER EV experience will put drivers in the middle of every moment." GMC That's it. We don't know the weight, the payload and towing capacities, the battery capacities, the turning radii, or even the dimensions of anything but the 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment display. We don't know the stopping distance. We still cannot answer the three questions I had at the Super Bowl launch: 1) the huge upfront carbon emissions from making the thing, 2) the fact that it is going to suck a lot of electricity that still isn't all that clean in the United States, and of course, 3) the deadly design of these big trucks. But I will try and address a few of those questions anyway, with the help of readers' comments from the previous post. Hummer on the rocks. GMC 1) Upfront Carbon (Embodied Energy): This thing is HUGE. GM doesn't tell us the weight, but EVs generally have about a 30% higher embodied carbon than a conventional vehicle because of the batteries. Readers will point out that this extra embodied carbon and environmental debt is paid back in less than a year since it is not burning any gas, but that's not the point, we still have probably about 60 tonnes of CO2e emissions from making the thing. GMC 2) Fuel Consumption: No matter where you are in the U.S., an electric Hummer is going to be cleaner than a gas-powered Hummer, and the U.S. electric supply is getting cleaner every day. But this is still going to suck a lot of electricity. The crazy thing about this thing is that the truck bed isn't that big and the back seat doesn't look all that comfortable; it looks like a lousy working vehicle and a worse family hauler. It is going to take a lot of juice to move a not very useful truck, and there is not so much clean electricity around that we can throw it at something like this; we should be promoting light, fuel-efficient vehicles no matter what they run on. GMC 3) Safety: Perhaps the biggest issue for Treehugger is the safety of those around it. Sure, it has 18 self-washing cameras "to help increase awareness of surroundings," but as Andrew Hawkins noted in his review of another SUV, "When you need a suite of high-definition cameras and other expensive sensors to safely drive to the grocery store, there might be something inherently wrong with your design." With an electric vehicle, there is absolutely no reason to have a big high hood in front of you or to have a pointy grill that will decapitate anyone it hits, especially if they are driving around the city in the jacked-up extract mode, which no doubt everyone will do. Just imagine this thing in a Trump truck parade, the damage it could do. As David Zipper noted in Bloomberg, "It’s an urban safety crisis. Larger vehicles that share streets with pedestrians and cyclists are more deadly than compact or mid-sized cars, both because their greater weight conveys more force upon impact and because their taller height makes it likelier they will crash into a person’s head or torso rather than their legs. Worse, because SUV drivers sit so much higher than similarly sized minivans, blind spots can prevent them from seeing people standing in front, especially children." Get rid of the Frunk!. GMC Drivers should be able to look at the road and not have to watch the TV to see what's on the 18 cameras. Get rid of that "frunk," drop the nose, and design this thing so that the driver can actually see what is in front of it. It's electric. We get it. GMC According to GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred speaking at the launch, "This is all about people who just love the best in automotive innovation, performance, capability and technology, These are the people who you may have seen buy the exotic sports car type brands. This will be the must-have item." The question is, a must-have item for whom? The reservations for the first year's production sold out in an hour, but a lot of the buzz on Twitter is that people won't be able to charge their truck in an emergency or when they are way out in the wilderness; you can't throw extra batteries in the back like you can with a can of gas. It's not a useful truck, it is a toy. It takes too much stuff to build, it uses too much electricity to run, it doesn't fit in a parking spot and it is a deadly design. Fifteen years ago treehugger types wanted to ban Hummers and even if it's electric, these things should not be allowed on city streets.