GM plans to produce military vehicle based on Hummer EV in 2022
Steve duMont, President of GM Defense talks to Kathleen Hicks, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense on November 8, 2021 at GM Technical Center Warren (Mich.).
Steve Fecht, GM Defense Photographer
WARREN, Mich. – General MotorsOfficials told CNBC that plans are in place to build a prototype military vehicle based on the GMC Hummer EV, according to officials.
According to Steve duMont, GM Defense President, the plan represents an important first step towards commercializing automaker’s electric vehicles business. It includes a Hummer-based “electric light reconnaissance vehicle,” or eLRV for possible use by the Army.
“The Army’s excited about the fact we’re investing into this,” he stated to CNBC while speaking at an automaker’s technology campus near Warren, Mich. It’s the Hummer EV, you saw it today. The Hummer Electric EV will be the base of that vehicle.”
DuMont commented on Monday after a visit to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen HicksTo hear more about GM’s plans for electrification, and specifically GM Defense research into EVs to support the defense industry.
Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary, has indicated that he supports policies and procedures for climate change mitigation. It is an important priority under the Biden Administration.
CNBC heard last year from GM Defense, that it had identified $25 billionIn potential future businesses.
Officials from GM Defense said that the eLRV will be based on the Hummer EV. GM Defense will use the frame and motors of the Hummer EV to modify the eLRV’s components. It will be designed to military specifications and won’t likely look like the consumer vehicle, officials said.
Similar to what GM Defense did for a new Infantry Squad Vehicle, it is currently making for the Army. The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, an offroad version of this mid-sized pickup, was the basis for the vehicle.
2022 GMC Hummer Electric EV Sport Utility Truck
Rick Kewley (GM Defense vice president for product development advanced engineering) said that the company plans to start assembling eLRV prototypes based on Hummers next year. This will allow them to test and evaluate their military capabilities.
It’s not yet certain that the eLRV program will succeed. Army officials have asked companies if they would be willing to provide information on such vehicles. Defense News reported that 10 companies including GM brought in electric vehicles to allow the Army to test its off-road capabilities, set goals, and provide possible solutions.
After the information phase is complete, the military would release specifications and drawings for this vehicle to companies for them to make prototypes. Two companies would be chosen by the military to produce their vehicles. The military is expected to make a decision by the mid-decade.
Hicks was supportive of EVs in the Department of Defense during Monday’s tour of GM facilities, but she questioned whether there is enough charging infrastructure.
During a visit to GM’s battery laboratory, she said that “you don’t have to sell me.” Then she added that “We are extremely sold.”
DuMont indicated that GM Defense could recharge such vehicles just like how the military currently refuels planes and traditional vehicles with an internal combustion engine through fixed locations.
Remote refueling is possible because of the fact that duMont stated that they can “work with them however they wish to.”
Steve duMont, President of GM Defense talks to Kathleen Hicks, U.S. Deputy secretary of Defense on November 8, 2021 in General Motors’ Battery Lab at its technical centre in Warren (Mich.).
Steve Fecht is the photographer for GM Defense.
Hicks was not available to answer questions following the tour. He said that fully switching over the U.S. army’s fleet of EVs would take “very difficult” and require time. The DOD could prepare for additional EVs in some areas.
In an email statement she sent to CNBC, she stated that electrifying non-tactical vessels is a simple task. The tactical fleet is about the issue of moving forward and the new capabilities that we can gain.
Hicks cited the quietness and lower emission of EVs to be positives. However, he said that there are still questions about charging and retrofitting existing operations for EVs.
She stated that once they can demonstrate this, and we will need industry support, then we’ll need operators to try out different approaches. So we won’t be able to just jump into any new concept of electrification operation, but we think we can move very quickly.
GM Defense was awarded its first major military contract last year. It is to manufacture and maintain infantry squad vehicles for the Army. This contract cost $214.3million.
Kathleen Hicks (US Deputy Secretary for Defense) drives an Infantry Squad Vehicle of GM Defense, Nov. 8, 2021 at GM Technical Center Warren, Mich.
Steve Fecht, GM Defense Photographer
While the specifications of government vehicles were traditional internal combustion engine, GM also made an all-electric ISV earlier this year. Kewley termed the electric concept a “stepping stone” that would show how military EVs might be driven.
On Monday, Hicks drove the ISV version but not the electric one. The vehicle was built with EV parts of the Chevrolet Bolt.
Kewley explained that “it works very well for a demonstration about where we are headed.” As we produce and market the Hummer EV we will be able take that propulsion system to make a vehicle of similar size.