GMC designed the Hummer to be a rugged supertruck with unique features such as CrabWalk mode, which allows for diagonal driving on challenging terrain; steel plates around the battery pack for protection in extreme off-roading; and UltraVision, which includes front and rear underbody cameras to help place wheels on and off a trail.
GM’s future electric pickups under the Chevy and GMC brands likely won’t have as many unique features and thus will cost less, though loaded versions could overlap with the $80,000 base Hummer, said Jeff Schuster, president of LMC Automotive’s Americas operation and global vehicle forecasting.
“I would think that a Sierra would be a little more mainstream from a price point. And they’re going to leave [Hummer] at the higher end of the spectrum,” he said. With the Hummer, GMC is “looking for a very specific buyer that wants a unique offering and wants a very premium vehicle.”
Light trucks will be a key focus of many automakers’ electrification plans over the next decade, said Zo Rahim, manager of economic and industry insights at Cox Automotive. Their executives “have realized the future is electric and look to light trucks as a bridge to get there. GM’s investment into an electric Hummer is testament that American muscle and power doesn’t have to mean a large engine.”
Battery-electric vehicles require a different structure from a gasoline-powered, body-on-frame pickup. Lessons GM learns with the Hummer will shape its strategies for developing, assembling and scaling other electric pickups, Reuss said.
“It’s time to learn, get scale,” he said, “and go at it.”
Melissa Burden contributed to this report.