GMC Hummer EV: 1,000 horsepower, zero-to-60 in 3 seconds

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — After months of speculation, General Motors Co. on Sunday will use a 30-second Super Bowl ad to finally reveal details of its new electric GMC Hummer EV pickup.

The Hummer EV commercial, entitled "Quiet Revolution," will feature NBA star LeBron James. It details features of the truck and ends with a date: May 20, when the Detroit-built Hummer will be unveiled — ahead of Detroit's North American International Auto Show that begins June 5. 

GM released a teaser rendering of its upcoming electric GMC Hummer EV before the Super Bowl.

The Detroit automaker says the Hummer EV will generate the equivalent of 1,000 horsepower, deliver 11,500-pound-feet of torque and accelerate from zero-to-60 in 3 seconds.

Teasers for the ad, set to air in the second quarter, tout those features with images of running horses, a racing motorcycle and a crane. The ad juxtaposes the performance metrics of GMC’s first all-electric truck with the quietness of running an electric vehicle.

In the end, the Hummer EV grille lights up the screen. That's all that will be seen of the truck for now.

MORE: Michigan companies touting Super Bowl ads

The Hummer EV comes as the auto industry slowly transitions from gas-fueled vehicles to battery-powered vehicles. Competing automakers like Tesla Inc. are showing off their electric trucks to persuade buyers to think again about electric vehicles previously thought to be small, uncomfortable and lacking in performance.

GM's Hummer EV will help the Detroit automaker "capitalize on an emerging trend of electric trucks and SUVs," said Brian Moody, executive editor for Inc., an auto information website.

Tesla, the Silicon Valley automaker, unveiled its Cybertruck in November. The angular electric truck is said to go zero-to-60 mph in 3 seconds with a 250-mile range. The truck, expected for delivery in 2021, has a price tag of $39,900.

Meanwhile, Plymouth-based electric-vehicle startup Rivian Automotive will offer its electric R1T pickup and R1S SUV. The automaker plans to start delivering vehicles to customers at the end of this year. Rivian says its R1T pickup and R1S SUV will both have a 400-mile-plus range. The base price model will be $69,000.

Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will partner with Rivian to develop the first-ever fully electric Lincoln. The SUV would be the product of a $500 million Ford investment in Rivian that was announced less than a year ago. Ford is expected to partner with Rivian on a Ford-branded vehicles, too. The companies have not given a timeline for any products born out of the partnership.

Ford has said it plans to have an electrified version of its top-selling Ford F-150. 

Considering this landscape, it makes sense to analysts that GM would bring back the Hummer brand it killed amid the global economic meltdown, and offer an electrified version. 

"There does seem to be a need and people love trucks, and they are going to continue to love trucks," Moody said. "The Tesla truck certainly got a lot of buzz," so for there to be an electric Hummer, "that is not so silly at all. That actually could be quite successful."

The Hummer EV, expected in late 2021, will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant. Previously slated for closure, the plant will become GM's first fully electric assembly plant. In addition to the Hummer EV, Detroit-Hamtramck will build the Cruise Origin, an electric, self-driving shuttle. 

At an event earlier this week to announce the automaker's $2.2 billion investment at the plant, GM President Mark Reuss said GM will offer more than one type of electric pickup. The trucks, he said, will have "different ranges of performance at different price points to meet customers wherever they are."

GM purchased the Hummer brand in 1999 and discontinued it in 2010 following its bankruptcy. Before its demise, Hummer often elicited negative feelings about its tank-like presence that hogged the road, burned lots of gas and garnered attention from celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, said Jessica Caldwell, senior manager of industry insights for Inc., an automotive information website.

"It just felt like a very tone-deaf car," Caldwell said. "Of course that sentiment has changed and people want to buy large cars."

A decade ago the move to potentially revive the Hummer wouldn't make sense, Caldwell said, but today's a different story. SUVs had 48% of the market share in 2019 and trucks had 28%, according to Edmunds. Meanwhile, only 2% of new vehicles sold were electric in 2019.

"I think it makes sense that they would do this," Caldwell said. "They know that cars aren’t selling and they want to take advantage of a strong SUV and truck market."

With trucks and SUVs, it's important to have niche product and that's what this new Hummer would be for GM. But Caldwell says she's curious to see what direction GM will take: will it keep the large, militaristic character of its forebears or become something else. 

If they are going to bring back Hummer, then the style has to be bold, AutoTrader's Moody thinks:  "They are picking Hummer for a reason. The very fact they picked that brand says to me it’s going to be the over-the-top style as Hummers in the past."

Twitter: @bykaleahall