The US Army Bought a GMC Hummer EV for Testing
The Army is interested in electric off-road vehicles, and the Hummer EV checks a lot of boxes.
GM Defense, a subsidiary of GM, announced on Tuesday that the Army requested the company provide an electric vehicle for analysis and demonstration purposes, according to the Detroit Free Press. The company duly selected the Hummer EV for the job, and will deliver it to the Detroit Arsenal by August 31. The Army has also requested other companies submit vehicles for evaluation, including EV startup Canoo.
GM Defense spokesperson Sonia Taylor confirmed the Army has purchased one Hummer EV from the company for an undisclosed price. The purchase of the vehicle is “one of the steps” towards the future of EVs in defense roles. “Our industry moves real slow,” Taylor said, and noted that “this is a positive step in that direction.”
The Army’s purchase description outlined procuring a “light to heavy duty Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or series-hybrid electric wheeled vehicle.” The Army aims for such vehicles to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels “both in operational and garrison environments.”
Using the vehicle as a mobile power source is also on the cards. Army documents note the vehicle “will also demonstrate the ability to effectively generate, store and distribute power to the Soldier.” It makes sense, given the wide range of battery-powered gear the Army wants to equip soldiers with in future.
The Hummer EV is equipped to deliver in this regard. It can output up to three kW from its 120-volt power outlets. It can also be configured with a six-kW, 240-volt outlet, called the Power Station, intended for charging other EVs. It’s not quite on the level of the Ford F-150 Lightning, but it can do the job.
As for outright performance, the Hummer EV doesn’t disappoint. A full 1,000 horsepower from its electric drivetrain gives the vehicle a zero-to-60-mph time of just three seconds.
It's also been built to deal with rough off-road conditions. The battery is heavily protected against damage. It also boasts 15.9 inches of ground clearance, along with impressive approach and departure angles, thanks to a recent update.
The Hummer EV is EPA-rated for 329 miles on a single charge, and is capable of DC fast charging at 350 kW thanks to its 800-volt battery architecture. This could be important in military situations, where high uptime is key. The military would also have to invest in charging hardware, which could be powered by solar panels or even miniature nuclear reactors currently in development.
GM already has plenty of experience in building vehicles for military use. GM Defense won a $214-million contract in 2020 to supply the Army with the Infantry Squad Vehicle. Based on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, it’s built with 90 percent commercial off-the-shelf parts. Designed for mobility, it can carry nine soldiers into battle with their gear.
Using electric vehicles would be a major change for the military, one that presents unique logistical challenges. However, fossil fuel supplies come with their own strings attached, particularly in times of conflict. Evaluating and exploring these options early makes a lot of sense.
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