Why the First GMC Hummer Electric Pickups and SUVs Come in One Color
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Blame the need for speed for the fact the first batches of the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup and 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV only come in one color. To paraphrase Henry Ford: you can get one in any color so long as it’s black.
Rival General Motors did not plagiarize Ford’s black, but GM did pick the color choice to introduce the first models in the Hummer family of large electric vehicles.
The run of Edition 1 special edition 2022-23 GMC Hummer EV pickups all come in white, with black above the beltline. The first batch of 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUVs will be painted Moonshot Green Matte with black uppers. The black top will be a signature of all Hummer EVs, even when the full color palette becomes available. Brighter options will become available later—you can see a few of the possibilities in the video above.
Henry Ford made the comment about the Model T in 1909 as part of an announcement that Ford would build one model, the Model T, with the same chassis for every car, and customers could have one painted any color so long as it is black. By doing these things, it would be affordable for the working man.
In other words, it was a decision borne of logistics. That is also the case for GM’s decision with its new Hummers.
GM’s Aggressive EV Push
Under CEO Mary Barra, GM is aggressively advancing its plans for a full portfolio of electric vehicles. The buzz centers largely around the Hummer pickup as electric trucks have captured the public’s attention. Ford has an electric F-150 coming out in 2022, production of the 2021 Rivian R1T electric pickup is scheduled for June, Ram is pursuing an electric truck, as are other newcomers such as Bollinger. Tesla continues development of its Cybertruck.
The Hummer team was given some challenging marching orders to develop the electric pickup quickly.
“The reason Edition 1 SUT [pickup] is one color, one way, the high-performance, all bells and whistles off-road variant, is because we were given a distinct timeline by our senior leadership of when we had to go into production,” Hummer chief engineer Al Oppenheiser told MotorTrend.
Oppenheiser, who spent most of his career developing Camaros, was transferred to the Hummer program to give it an adrenalin shot. He started work in April 2019 on a full-size truck GM wanted in production in the fall of 2021—lopping about two years off the normal development time. It was dubbed Project O for “obtainium,” a play on “unobtainium,” a phrase used at GM for seemingly impossible tasks.
Tapping Other Teams, Tools to Meet Hummer’s Development Deadline
Oppenheisser tapped members of the Camaro and Corvette teams as well as truck and off-road experts. They worked from the production date backward, relying on computers, digital tools, and simulations with no time for the usual physical prototypes. The team had Hummers virtually catching air and landing perfectly—they have yet to make the leap in a real SUV.
“When we changed the way we do vehicle development, we cut two years out of our normal development cycle,” Oppenheiser said. “We had to come up with how to get it into production. From day one we said, ‘How do we get to a fall 2021 launch?'”
Complexity can really set back a new launch, Oppenheiser added. To minimize time to production, the team decided to initially offer the vehicle one way. That meant no complexity in the electrical harness, or modular drivertrain, or even color. Starting with one color simplified things for suppliers of painted parts who normally need multiple lines in their facilities.
Making it Easier for the Plant to Build
“It makes it fairly simple for our engineers, designers, and manufacturing people who only have to set up the plant one way,” Oppenheiser said. All Hummers are being built at the Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan, plant that has been retooled and renamed Factory Zero because it will be dedicated to making only electric vehicles. GMC will introduce more colors once the plant is up and running and able to fill all orders for Edition 1 pickups.
Similarly, with the SUV, once the plant has batch-built the Edition 1 models in Moonshot Green Matte, GMC will open up the color scheme for the rest of the trim levels. “By first-quarter 2023 we will have our full color palette for both SUV and SUT,” Oppenheiser confirmed.
GM is investing $27 billion and plans to offer 30 all-electric vehicles globally by the end of 2025, with four out every five vehicles offered in the U.S. powered purely by electricity. The automaker aspires to stop selling new vehicles with combustion engines by 2035.
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