Big advertising splash for GMC Hummer EV

Ever since General Motors killed the electric car, we’ve had doubts over GM’s seriousness about EV’s. In almost the same breath as the EV1 program was canceled, GM ramped up sales of the Hummer. In 2008, GM announced a plug-in hybrid (the Chevy Volt) while stating that over the long term the price for gasoline/diesel was only going up and that automakers must steer a course to another fuel. By 2010 GM had gone bankrupt only to become known as Government Motors for awhile, to kill off the Hummer, and to launch the Chevy Volt. Today, GM is selling the Chevy Bolt, and a handful of hybrid cars, but the company’s commitment to electrics seemed lackluster. Until, that is, confirmation came earlier this month that GM would bring back the Hummer as an electric pickup truck. Today, GM doubled down on this promise by revealing a few details, and some teaser advertising.

We probably should stop tying GM with killing the electric car? We should probably recognize that GM is finally making a solid commitment to electric vehicles?

During the Super Bowl, GM plans to launch an advertising campaign for the GMC Hummer EV. As noted in our previous report on this, the new Hummer will not be a standalone GM brand, but will be a model name of the GMC brand. Hence the GMC Hummer EV will be sold through GMC dealerships, rather than requiring that GM create a new set of dealerships to handle Hummer EV’s.

The marketing slogan will be “Quiet Revolution“. Released today was a series of short teaser videos (embedded below) showing high power applications are typically noisy. But these applications are shown with the power turned off – presumably so we get the idea of Quietness.

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These videos make me think of GM’s ham-handed advertising for the GM EV1 back in the late 90’s to early 00’s. For example, GM had a bunch of animated kitchen appliances coming out to bow before the EV1. Someone at GM wants to make abstract statements about electric cars as if that’ll make the sales pitch?

I appreciate that GM is focusing on quietness since one of the less-recognized features of electric vehicles is a decrease in noise pollution. My epiphany on this point came one day years ago in San Francisco watching first a diesel bus drive by, then an electric bus. San Francisco has for years had electric buses powered by overhead wires in widespread use. The contrast between the two, the clattering din of noise from the diesel bus, and the peacefulness of the electric bus, had me wonder what our cities would be like if the majority of vehicles were that quiet.

But, what I see so far with those videos below is way too abstract.

To underscore the point of quiet power, GM released some specifications for the GMC Hummer EV:

  • 1,000 horsepower
  • 11,500 lb-ft of torque
  • 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds

That’s quite a lot of power, befitting a vehicle with the Hummer name, and it appears GM is aiming to challenge Tesla’s performance figures.

Those numbers are something practical. If GM can show us a Hummer EV pickup truck hauling something big while being very quiet, that’s good. Think of some of the stunts that have been pulled with Tesla Model X SUV’s – like hauling a big jet airplane, or out-pulling a Ford F150. Will GM conduct a few stunts like that? At least those are practical demonstrations, rather than abstract statements.

“GMC builds premium and capable trucks and SUVs and the GMC HUMMER EV takes this to new heights,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick and GMC. “We are excited to debut our revolutionary zero-emissions truck during the biggest night in TV advertising.”

GM’s press release goes on with these specifics:

  • The GMC HUMMER EV will be revealed on May 20, 2020
  • It will be built at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant (using globally sourced parts)
  • The Super Bowl commercial will be 30 seconds long and “highlights the anticipated performance of GMC’s all-electric super truck, which will generate remarkable metrics in terms of horsepower, torque and acceleration while providing incredible on- and off-road capability”

The “globally sourced parts” was a footnote, indicating that GM doesn’t want us to focus on that. With the Chevy Bolt, LG is building most of the parts and GM appears to mostly be an assembler. We wonder whether LG is providing the majority of the Hummer EV parts as well?

Another item to notice from the press release is that nowhere does the press release discuss any autonomous driving features, but one of the media contacts has the title “Assistant Manager, Autonomous Technology Communications”. This is a clue that the Hummer EV will have some advanced autonomous vehicle technology.

In a few days we’ll be told more, and by May 20, 2020 we’ll have a full load of information to digest about the Hummer EV. Can’t wait. Watch this space.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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