GM will reportedly debut an all-electric Hummer during the Super Bowl this Sunday. Here's a look back at the vehicle's storied past.
AP Photo/General Motors
- Reports are that General Motors will unveil a new, all-electric Hummer in a Super Bowl ad this Sunday.
- The reports are that the EV will be a pickup under the GMC brand, which would make it the first new Hummer since GM shut down the Hummer brand in 2010.
- This all comes as several manufacturers - including Ford, Tesla, and Rivian - plan to roll out electric pickups in the near future.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A decade after General Motors discontinued the Hummer brand in the face of a bankruptcy, rising gas prices, and a decline in demand for the military-inspired SUV, it may soon be back in the form of an electric pickup truck.
Unnamed sources quoted by The Wall Street Journal said GM plans to revive the Hummer name for the truck, which it will show off during a Super Bowl ad featuring LeBron James this Sunday.
GM does not intend to revamp the old Hummer brand, but rather to bring back the name as an electric under GMC - a surprising move, considering the Hummer's reputation as an unabashedly excessive gas guzzler. The 2006 Hummer H3, for example, has a rated 16 mpg combined by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
But an increasing number of automakers are embracing EVs and entering the electric-pickup market. Tesla's Cybertruck, Rivian's R1T, Ford's electric F-150, and Bollinger's B2 are all slated to begin production or launch within the next couple of years, while the sources quoted by The Wall Street Journal said the forthcoming electric Hummer is projected to go on sale by 2022.
The Hummer report also follows the recent trend of carmakers resurrecting old and beloved nameplates. New versions of the Toyota Supra, Ford Ranger, and Land Rover Defender were all unveiled in recent years, and a new Ford Bronco - eliminated from the company's lineup in 1996 - will come this spring.
In honor of the Hummer's new and unexpected life as an EV, here's a look back at the brand's history.
Much like the Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Defender, and Mercedes G-Wagen, the Hummer traces its origins back to a military vehicle.
In 1983, an American Motors subsidiary called AM General won a $1.2 billion contract to develop a high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle, otherwise known as an HMMWV.
Nicknamed the Humvee by soldiers, the burly vehicles were used as command centers, ambulances, and troop carriers for the US military starting in 1985.
Soldiers referred to the HMMWV as "jeeps on steroids," since the ultra-capable Humvee could ascend 60% grades, roll through 30 inches of water, and climb up a 22-inch step.
In 1992, AM General released the first civilian version of the Humvee, the Hummer, which came to be known as the Hummer H1 after GM bought the brand in 1999.
Essentially a barely modified Humvee, it weighed roughly 7,000 pounds — or far more than two Honda Civics combined — got around 10 mpg, and retained military-specific appointments like hoops up front that would potentially allow it to be dropped from a plane.
It was a force off road due to its locking differentials, high-torque diesel engine options, and central tire inflation system that allowed drivers to adjust tire pressure on the go.
The H1 was a fairly niche vehicle, and sales figures reflect that — during its 14-year run, fewer than 12,000 H1s were sold.
In 2002, GM introduced the smaller Hummer H2. It featured similar styling to the H1, but came with a lower price tag.
While the H1 shared a great deal with the military-spec Humvee, the H2 was built on a platform cobbled together from the Chevy Tahoe and GM's heavy-duty pickups.
The H2 weighed several hundred pounds less than its predecessor, and boasted slightly better fuel economy at an estimated 10 to 13 mpg.
While it wasn't as robust or capable as the H1, the H2 sported some impressive specs — it could climb over a 30-inch wall, take on 20 inches of water, and tow 7,000 pounds.
A pickup version, called the H2 SUT, which stands for "sport-utility truck," arrived on the scene for 2005. It had a pickup bed and started at $53,055.
Introduced for 2006, the third version of the Hummer — called the H3, unsurprisingly — strayed further from the brand’s military heritage.
It was smaller and more affordable than previous Hummers — based on the Chevy Colorado pickup platform, the H3 stood 16.8 inches shorter and 6.5 inches narrower than the H2.
It could be had for as little as $29,500 and, like the H2, featured a pickup alternative called the H3T.
With an EPA-estimated 20 mpg, the H3 boasted nearly double the fuel economy of the H2.
The H2 was sold through the 2009 model year, while the H3 wasn't phased out until the demise of the Hummer brand in 2010.
Amid broad financial struggles, rising fuel prices, and plummeting sales for the gas-guzzling Hummer lineup, the General shuttered the brand just 11 years after acquiring it.
In the years since Hummer shut down, tuners have used the H1 platform to build some truly off-the-wall custom trucks, like this 500-horsepower model created by Mil-Spec Automotive that's currently listed for $250,000.
And in 2017, Arnold Schwarzenegger, a huge fan of the original Hummer, unveiled an electric H1 prototype built by Kreisel Electric. Earlier that year, he helped the company present a zero-emissions Mercedes G-Wagen.
While it's unlikely that it will have much in common with Kreisel's creation, we'll have to wait a little longer to see what GM's reported electric Hummer is all about.
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