Car Tech

4 Wild Features of the GMC Hummer EV

The Hummer brand is responsible for some of the most iconic and over-the-top vehicles ever, and the huge, hulking truck maker stayed true to its reputation even though it’s now only building fully electric vehicles (EVs). While the new GMC Hummer EV is no longer the gas guzzler it was before, it still is as wild as the originals with an intimidating stance, larger-than-life footprint, and otherworldly capability.

Mark Alger, National Marketing Manager for GMC Trucks and SUVs, invited AutoTrader to take a spin in the Hummer EV SUV and experience a few of the truck’s unique abilities, including the Crab Walk and Extract Mode.

Crab Walk

The Crab Walk, as Alger explains, uses four-wheel steering technology. The rear wheels can turn up to 10 degrees in either direction, which allows the Hummer to drive diagonally. “It turns you into a parallel parking expert overnight,” he laughs, “and it will get you into and out of some tight spaces.”

Parallel parking with the Crab Walk feature requires you to wrap your mind around what the Hummer EV can do, and almost forget everything you learned when mastering the art of parallel parking.

“You don’t need as much space as you think you do,” Alger explains. “You just have to get used to that feeling of literally moving sideways. You almost can’t believe it’s happening because it doesn’t move like a regular vehicle. It moves diagonally.”

In a conventional vehicle with two-wheel steering, the rear wheels follow the front. With four-wheel steering, that dynamic changes. Instead, with all the wheels moving and steering together, you feel like the vehicle is sliding sideways, almost like it’s sliding on ice.

When not in Crab Walk mode, the wheels can turn in opposite directions to tighten the Hummer’s turning radius. According to GM, when equipped with four-wheel steering, the Hummer EV SUV has a turning radius of 10.8 metres (35.4 feet), which is impressive when you consider that this massive SUV has a turning radius similar to GM’s much smaller Chevrolet Bolt EV at 10.6 metres (34.8 feet). Without four-wheel steering, the Hummer EV SUV has a turning radius of 12.8 metres (42 feet).

Extract Mode

Extract Mode is something Hummer EV SUV drivers can take advantage when off-roading. This feature is activated with the Driver Mode Control dial on the centre console. With the press of a button, the Hummer’s Air Ride Adaptive Suspension system raises the vehicle an additional 15 centimetres (6 inches) to a height of 40.6 cm (16 inches) to improve ground clearance. This feature is designed to help the Hummer clear obstacles when driving over challenging terrain.

As impressive as Extract Mode may be, Alger says that most Hummer EV owners will probably never take advantage of it.

“My guess is that 90 per cent of customers will never use it,” he adds, “simply because they don’t get into environments where they need to get up six inches over an obstacle. It’s too nice a vehicle. A lot of people dream of having a Hummer in their driveway, but they don’t want to take it off-road. It’s a status vehicle.”

Watts to Freedom

GM’s so-called “Watts to Freedom” mode rockets the Hummer to highway speeds in a heartbeat.

“Watts to Freedom takes you from zero to 60 miles [97 km/h] in three seconds, which means you have supercar speed in a monster truck,” Alger explains. “That’s always cool to experience, it never gets old, and it always puts a smile on your face.”

This technology takes advantage of the Hummer’s 11,500 lb-ft of torque, which allows for extremely fast acceleration, especially for a truck this size. Prior to jumping into Watts to Freedom mode, the Hummer EV SUV lowers itself by 50 mm (two inches) to reduce wind resistance.

Limited Edition

GM offers two versions of the Hummer EV, the Pickup and SUV, both starting at $134,229 (including freight). Alger explains that GM is also coming out with a new Omega Edition Hummer, which is a limited-edition vehicle available for roughly $174,000. How limited is this “limited edition” vehicle? “Approximately one per dealer,” Alger says. With about 400 dealers in Canada, that’s about 400 limited edition Hummers coming to market later this year.

“We want to make sure that we always have something exciting in the portfolio,” he adds. “Something to dream about.”