GM has trolled Tesla, changed the method with the new ‘Supertrack’

GMC Hummer EV Version 1

Michael Wayland / CNBC

Phoenix – The new electric GMC Hummer pickup is different for General Motors and not just because it’s not as gas-powered as its predecessors. According to those who have worked on it, it marks a major turning point for the historically conservative Detroit automaker in both form and function.

The “highly profitable” vehicle is the flagship for GM’s new Ultium EV technologies and a new benchmark for Detroit automakers in terms of development time. There are more notable features inside the car that insiders say are evidence of GM’s transformation as a company to better compete against Tesla and new EV start-ups.

Such features include a subtle digging into Tesla’s long-delayed Cybertra, a specially placed button that currently does nothing – and a “Watts to Freedom” or WTF, mode that launches huge vehicles at speeds of 0-60 mph in about three seconds. . It is comparable to a Chevy Corvette and slightly slower than some Tesla performance models that can gain speed in up to three seconds.

“Hopefully, there’s a lot to be surprised about with this car because it’s all intentional,” Hammer’s chief development engineer Aaron Faw said during a media event. “It’s not just about what an EV can do, but about changing your perception of what GM can do overall.”

Pfau and other members of the Hummer EV team worked to enable quick decisions and unique features for vehicles driven by the company’s infamous strict lawyers and wider bureaucracy that GM has never done before. They have done so in a record 26 months. This is about half the time of a typical car program.

The overall mission for NASA’s Apollo 11 first lunar landing, internally referred to as “moonshot”, was to quickly build a “fun” vehicle that would draw attention to the company and its new EVs, which are expected to reach 30. Global model by 2025.

“The whole point of this car was to get people excited and think about EVs that would not necessarily get excited and think about EVs,” Pfau said. “We’re pulling everything, all the bells and whistles into this one car. It’s like a hello car, isn’t it? It’s not high volume.”

WTF

The Hummer team was originally given free rein to build cars around the concept of open-air, performance and off-road “supertruck” construction. In short, the modernization of the Gas-Gazling Hummer brand to create a daring EV to showcase the best the company has to offer.

“We’ve empowered the design and chief engineering team, and we said, ‘Hey, let’s go,'” Duncan Aldred, GMC’s global head, said in an interview. “I think people had a lot of fun with it and I think it’s blocking that vehicle.”

The use of “WTF”, an acronym commonly associated with an obscene word of disbelief, was approved by senior members of Hummer’s team to act differently from GM executives with the help of GM executives, after a battle with automaker’s lawyers.

“It’s an exciting experience, and we want to break the rules,” Pfau said. “We don’t want you to continue believing that we are this old, cramped, legacy company. We were really like a start-up in this program, GM’s insider, and it cleared the way for us.”

Others have shared similar feelings about the program, such as exterior designer Brian Malkzeowski and automotive dynamics performance engineer Drew Mitchell. Aldred Barra and GM credited President Mark Reus for giving the team the freedom to lead by reasoning.

“That doesn’t mean we want to do something that is irresponsible in any way,” Aldred said. “But obviously we’re in an environment where we have to offer customers what they want and that will excite them. Tesla, to be fair to them, they’ve done a great job of all those things.”

Some features of Tesla have been disputed. Significantly, there have been concerns about allowing drivers to play video games while driving, which has been revoked, and offering driver-friendly systems to consumers when testing driver awareness or not monitoring properly.

Aldred says GM has a history of safely installing such features, citing third-party praise for its Super Cruise Highway driver-assist system, which is available at Hummer.

The Hummer also has four-wheel-steering which allows it to perform extremely tight turns and offers a “crab mode” that allows the car to move in a diagonal direction. The current model offers 1,000 horsepower, 1,200 ft-pound motor torque and 11,500 ft-pound wheel torque.

However, like GM’s original Hummer cars of the 1990s and 2000s, such capabilities come at a cost. Although it does not gas the gas, it goes through a lot of energy and weighs over 9,000 pounds. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this weighs about 4,000 pounds more than the heaviest Chevrolet Silverrado 1500 pickup and more than double the average new car.

The car and driver reported that the Hummer EV pickup has a rating of 47 MPGe, equivalent to the range of an electric vehicle per gallon mile. That’s about 33% less than competitors, including the smaller Revian R1T pickup and Ford Motor’s upcoming F-150 Lightning. GM declined to confirm the MPG.

The Hummer version 1, currently in production at a plant in Detroit, has an electric range of 329 miles, surpassing the Revian and Ford electric pickups. Along with every automaker, Tesla has said that long-range options for their pickups will be available at a later date.

Easter eggs

Other hidden or amazing features of the car, also known as “Easter Egg”, range from moon-inspired design elements to customizable graphics for digital helper buttons. Optional images include dynamite and skulls, as well as a Hummer EV running over a Tesla cybertrack.

“We’ve had so much fun with this thing that we can’t usually do it in your average car,” Malkezowski said.

Hummer EV features customizable graphics for digital auxiliary buttons. Optional images range from dynamite and skulls to one of the Tesla cybertruck vehicles.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

A center knob has a specially placed button that currently does nothing. Pressing says, “Your mode. Your mission. [email protected]” GM wants owners to submit their own ideas for a feature for the button that will then be added via a remote OTA or over-the-air update.

The button, a small “H” surrounded by three symbols in the shape of a triangle, can be used for additional off-road or performance modes. Or other features For vehicles, Pfau said.

“We want everyone to respond right now, ‘Hey, what do you want?’ He said. “We’ve seen all sorts of different features that we can do with control.”

Such hidden features and remote updates are a big issue for traditional automakers like GM, but for Tesla, the industry leader in electric vehicles. Barra says GM will keep Tesla at the top in U.S. EV sales by 2025.

At the center of the knot is a specially placed button that, when pressed, says, “Your mode. Your mission. [email protected]” GM wants owners to submit their own ideas for a feature for the button that will then be added via a remote update.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

It looks profitable

Since the Hummer EV pickup was unveiled in October 2020, GM has received over 65,000 reservations for trucks as well as an upcoming SUV version of the car.

According to Aldred, eighty percent of reservation holders have ordered the most expensive model of car.

“We had a goal, we had a business case, we were hitting it,” he said, refusing to compare profits with traditional internal combustion models. “We were very, very profitable in these cars, for example, with a 40 or 50% mix at the top of the line.”

GM has promised investors that its next-generation vehicles, starting with the Hummer, will be profitable. Hummer’s limited “version 1” launch version starts at 110,295. Other, lower-priced versions will follow – starting at around 80,000 to 100,000.

Production is now set to begin at the former Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, less than two years after GM announced a massive 2.2 billion investment to completely renovate a variety of all-electric truck and SUV manufacturing facilities.

Photo by Jeffrey Sagar for General Motors

While the Hummer EV pickup is for sale, new orders will probably not be met until 2024 due to the number of current reservations, Aldred said. The SUV, which was unveiled last year after the GM pickup, is not expected to arrive by 2023.

“What we’re seeing now is how can we create the maximum amount and how can we distribute, fill these reserves as quickly as possible?” Aldred says. “We’re studying it all, and we’re confident we’ll be able to go much faster than we initially thought, but it still means a reservation will probably be delivered in ’24.”

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