Let’s say you’re not ready to give up on big, brash internal combustion cars yet. They can be a lot of good old-fashioned noisy fun, after all; something that’s on the way out as electric power starts to become more common.
Let’s also say that you do feel a bit guilty about burning around at 10-15mpg in a truck way bigger than you need, and way more powerful than you can use. You know it’s more than you really need, but, let’s be honest here, when did ‘what I actually need’ ever register as top factor when you’re browsing the classifieds?
The Hummer, in its original and later, diluted guises, was always an ultimate expression of Americanism. Way too much material mass, sized as though roads don’t have edges and about as fuel-efficient as drinking the unleaded yourself, it was an icon, both positively and negatively, of the late 20th century.
People hated it for its wilful excess. People loved it for the same reason. Now, as we tick over into the 2020s and a new era of more climate-conscious behaviour, The Hummer is coming back. The fossilised Hummer idea has been rejuvenated by GMC with a plan for a colossal 1000bhp BEV, and we absolutely adore these three tonnes of irony.
You see, ultimately the Hummer was too excessive for its own good. A decade after its official demise was sealed and General Motors announced it was dissolving the brand, it’s set to return as a new figurehead of muchness. And what made it possible? Allegedly planet-saving battery technology. Although we’re still only at the ‘first teasers’ stage, this is not going to be a paragon of lightweight advanced engineering. It’s not going to tip the scales at little more than a Golf. It’s going to be big, and very heavy.
An EV can’t achieve 1000bhp without a lot of batteries. Batteries are heavy. The maths really isn’t difficult. Any modern Hummer would be vast enough to house enough cells, but even the basic structure of the thing would demand a butt tonne (or two) of metal. Add the batteries on top, and you have something monstrously, offensively anti-Thunberg, but at the same time something that’s morally beyond reproach from anyone who still uses petrol to get around.
Alright, there is a bit of a difference between a Renault Zoe and a 3-4-tonne juggernaut built to apply copious amounts of physics to the road surface. But you’d still be driving an EV, emitting no tailpipe emissions and banking a galactic sense of smugness.
The reason I find this idea so bloody terrific is that rebellion always stirs the soul. It’s another major ironic twist that the same indomitable human spirit that drives people to risk their jobs and livelihoods in order to protest about climate change is also responsible for cars like the new Hummer, wildly over-demanding in terms of materials but taking advantage of a ‘loophole’ in the call to ban combustion and go electric.
GMC hears the science-backed need for electrification across the auto industry. But if anybody intended the idea to mean small, inoffensive and clinically efficient biffabouts like four-wheeled Boris bikes, they should have added some small print. As it stands, the new Hummer is a perfectly legitimate two-fingered salute; a rebellion against principles the company doesn’t particularly seem to like. After all, the ‘rules’ of the electric age carry no terms and conditions.