The newest Hummer may not be a gas guzzler, but there’s still a ways to go before it can be called environmentally friendly.
The resurrected nameplate doesn’t appear to be the eco-conscious bruiser enthusiasts were hoping for, according to a new study from ACEEE (h/t Motor1.com). While the new GMC Hummer EV may be more efficient than its predecessors, the non-profit group found that the battery-powered truck still produces more greenhouse gas emissions than a gas-powered sedan.
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Like other EVs, the new Hummer doesn’t produce any tailpipe emissions, but it does produce greenhouse gas emissions. Battery-powered vehicles like GMC’s supertruck get their power from the electric grid and, in the US, 60 percent of electricity is produced by burning fossil fuel, according to ACEEE. Because of this, EVs will still be responsible for “upstream emissions” until the grid is completely carbon free.
Photo by Jim Frenak-FPI Studios, courtesy of General Motors.
Despite this, the emissions generated by a traditionally sized electric car are still far lower than those generated by their gas-powered counterparts. The Chevrolet Volt EV produces 92 grams of CO2 per mile, whereas the gas-powered Chevy Malibu is responsible for 320 grams per mile. The new Hummer, in both size and weight, is anything but traditional. It’s 18 feet long, 6.5 feet tall and tips the scales at 9,063 pounds. Because of all the energy needed to move a vehicle that big, the electric truck produces 341 grams of CO2 per mile. That’s less than half the 889 grams per miles produced by the original Hummer, but it’s 21 grams per mile more than the Malibu—which arguably defeats one of the main purposes of driving an EV.
The findings in the study from ACEEE are a reminder that there is still room for improvement as far as battery-powered vehicles are concerned. The 1,000 hp Hummer EV may be capable of astonishing feats—it can hit 60 mph in less than three seconds and drive 329 miles on a single charge—but it can also stand to be more efficient. A more compact design and smaller battery would probably result in fewer headlines for the Hummer, but both of those adjustments would likely reduce its emissions.
“Greater EV efficiency can reduce emissions from driving and manufacturing the vehicles and increase range and reduce costs,” Peter Huether, ACEEE’s senior research analyst for transportation, writes in the report. “Reducing weight, enhancing aerodynamics, improving electric motors, and reducing battery size will each increase EV efficiency.”
When reached for comment, a representative for GMC told Robb Report: “[ACEEE’s study] ignores important real-world benefits of bringing to market performance-oriented EVs like the GMC Hummer EV. For example, 75 percent of the tens of thousands of customers who’ve reserved a Hummer EV have never owned an EV—many are or were pickup owners. If there’s value in convincing non-EV owners to adopt electric vehicles, the GMC Hummer EV (and other performance-oriented EVs) is accomplishing more to bring EV skeptics into the EV fold and acquainted with this new technology than the glass-half-empty criticisms like the one in this study ever will.”
GMC’s all-electric supertruck is certainly the most efficient Hummer yet. And, it’s worth repeating, the SUV doesn’t spew exhaust into the environment, creating smog. But, as ACEEE’s report makes clear, when it comes to carbon emissions, the Hummer EV may be more like its predecessors than anyone thought.
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