The climate impact of bigger electric vehicles like the GMC Hummer EV can be equal to that caused by the emissions from small gasoline-powered cars, data from the MIT Trancik Lab shows.
Larger, heavier EVs produce a greater environmental impact than their diminutive relatives, and the GMC Hummer EV weighs in at more than 4.5 tons in some configurations.
Large electric pickups and SUVs like the GMC Hummer EV are the main culprits when it comes to matching small ICE vehicles for pollution, the New York Times reports. EVs do not directly generate emissions, but manufacturing processes for both the vehicles and their batteries as well as the electricity generation providing them with power all release pollutants into the atmosphere.
This isn’t the first time the GMC Hummer EV has drawn criticism for its environmental footprint and other perceived problems. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) cited the immense weight of the GMC Hummer EV as making it more polluting than a Chevy Malibu, generating 341 grams of C02 emissions per mile driven compared to the Chevy Malibu’s 320 grams. The Malibu’s emissions come from the tailpipe while the Hummer’s are “upstream emissions” from fossil fuel use at power plants.
The limited-run Hummer EV Pickup Edition 1’s curb weight does indeed tip the scales at a whopping 9,046 pound (4,103 kilograms). Its battery alone weighs 2,900 pounds (1,315 kilograms), the same as an entire 2015 Toyota Corolla. However, as GM pointed out in a statement to GM Authority responding to the ACEEE study, the vehicle is a halo product encouraging electric vehicle adoption.
A company representative said “the GMC Hummer EV (and other performance-oriented EVs) are accomplishing more in bringing EV skeptics into the EV fold than any of these glass-half-empty criticisms ever will.”
Critics, and even defenders, of the GMC Hummer EV also tend to forget the battery-powered giant is a niche vehicle. It will never sell in large volumes on the mass market. However, the criticisms also apply to the upcoming Chevy Silverado EV and the GMC Sierra EV, which are intended, like the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Ram 1500 REV, to be sold to a wider market.
Whatever the merits of the arguments against the relative high upstream emissions produced by the GMC Hummer EV, the public response to the vehicle seems strongly positive. GM reported in a media briefing attended by GM Authority last October that both the pickup and SUV variants of the Hummer are sold out for a minimum of two years.