GM Announces SUV Version of the Hummer EV

It is a bit smaller than the pickup but it still has a Godzilla-sized carbon footprint.

Hummer on the highway


GM has unveiled the new SUV model of the Hummer EV; it's big, and it's expensive (starting at $80,000). It has the same high killer front end that the Hummer pickup truck did, which was "engineered ... to dominate," according to a press release at the time.

Hummer interior


Along with the new model, GM announced that it has a wonderful new "multisensory, immersive experience that puts drivers in the middle of every moment."

"The HUMMER EV’s user experience team worked with Perception, a creative agency best known for their science fiction thinking and technology design work within the Marvel Universe, to create a cinematic in-cabin experience that engages the senses. Special features such as available 'Watts To Freedom' bring their own unique multisensory, interactive experiences, with distinctive sound via the premium Bose audio system, feel through the haptic driver’s seat and sight with custom screen displays showing the special performance mode is 'armed and ready.'

This is just what every driver needs in the city, a multisensory cinematic experience, armed and ready when they should be concentrating on the road and listening for the tinkle of the bicycle bell. In case the hood and front end isn't high enough to impress, the Hummer has an optional air suspension that can lift it an additional six inches.

front end up close


GM has not released all the specifications and details, but Car and Driver estimates its battery size to be 167 kWh, slightly less than the pickup we covered earlier. The weight isn't announced either, but another website estimates it to be about 8,500 pounds, again a little more svelte than the pickup version.

This again raises the question of how much vehicle do you really need to do a given task, given that many Hummers are doing grocery runs? Readers keep saying "it's a halo vehicle, it's electric, so what?" As scientist Dr. Grace Peng notes in a post titled Batteries Don't Drow on Trees, a lot of stuff goes into making batteries, notably aluminum, lithium, and cobalt. Peng is concerned about cobalt, but it is being phased out or the amount of it is being reduced.

Hummer in concrete

I am more concerned about carbon; specifically, the upfront carbon emissions released while making the car and the batteries. I have noted many times that when you look through the lens of embodied carbon rather than operating carbon, everything changes.

Battery Lifecycle emissions

CC Carbon Brief

It's not known where the batteries for the Hummer are being made, but the estimates of emissions per kilowatt-hour vary wildly, with Chinese-made batteries as much as 300 kilograms of CO2 per kWh. Zeke Hausfather of Carbon Brief looked at all the research and comes out with a likely average of about 100 kg/kWh, giving the Hummer EV's batteries a total of 16,700 kg, or 16.7 tonnes of embodied carbon. That's a little more than half of one's lifetime carbon budget, if you believe in that kind of thing. And if you didn't believe in it, why would you be buying an electric Hummer?

This brings us back to Dr. Peng, who writes that "we need to decarbonize transportation using every tool, starting with right-sizing the vehicles for the task." She is talking about cargo bikes vs cars, but it applies to the Hummer EV too,

Embodied carbon matters, and so does efficiency. 167 kWh of battery and 8,500 pounds of material is a lot to move 200 pounds of human. $80,000 to $105,000 is a lot of money. It is too much of everything. But what a sound system!