Automotive News (AN) had a recent conversation with General Motors engineer Aaron Pfau, as well as GM vehicle performance engineer Tom Hubbard and senior manager of electric vehicle feature integration Mike Colville. Interestingly, all three have plenty of off-road experience, and all three are working on the upcoming GMC Hummer EV, which is a hardcore all-electric pickup truck with a luxury large SUV price tag.
Pfau told AN of a recent time he encountered a dangerous situation while off-roading in his Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. He knew the truck would end up damaged if he proceeded, but he didn't really have another option. Pfau explained:
"Knowing my track width and my wheelbase and looking into the features and the geometry of this turn, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to get out of there without some kind of damage."
Pfau was right, but fortunately, the only damage was a cracked taillight. If he'd been driving a Hummer EV, he wouldn't have had to worry. Plus, if things got really tight, Pfau could have used the Hummer's crab-walk feature to return to safety.
Pfau says his team's stories of situations like this are part of what helped it decide to make the Hummer EV a burly, off-road beast that could remain largely unmatched among today's vehicles. In fact, GM put together the team with off-roading in mind. It handpicked enthusiasts with off-road experience, including Hubbard who's an experienced off-road aficionado and Colville who has competed in the King of the Hammers – an off-road rock-crawling race in the desert.
The team is excited about the Hummer being a "different" type of off-road vehicle. Pfau reminds us that after a hard day of off-roading in an ATV, you're typically exhausted. The same can be said about vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler. However, the Hummer EV, with its large size, smooth ride, luxury-grade interior, and silent operation will bring a whole new element to the off-road world. Not to mention the simple fact that it's 100-percent electric.
The Hummer EV isn't cheap, coming in at $113,000 for the Edition 1 vehicle with the off-road package as standard, but neither is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class or essentially any Land Rover product.
GM's new all-electric pickup truck isn't going to appeal to the masses, nor will they be able to afford it. However, hardcore off-road enthusiasts that are used to dropping a pretty penny for a fully loaded top-of-the-line Range Rover may not think twice about considering the Hummer EV. This may also prove true for those who spend their time and money outfitting their vehicles with expensive equipment and aftermarket packages and accessories that will be unnecessary on a vehicle like the Hummer EV.
"You have the ability to go up or over or around ... whatever that obstacle is. We are tasked with making sure that group of people [knows that] when or if they do push it, they're going to be very satisfied.
"We're forging new paths here. We're pushing the envelope in so many ways. It's hard to predict what the customer is actually going to do with that vehicle."
Do you think the Hummer EV will appeal to off-road aficionados? Will it have what it takes? Will people be willing to pay the hefty price tag for an all-electric "Supertruck." Let us know you're opinions in the comment section below.