General Motors could have plans to produce a military prototype vehicle based on the upcoming Hummer EV under its GMC brand. The Hummer EV-inspired military transport could come as soon as 2022, officials said.
GM Defense President Steve duMont said the automaker is in the early stages of the project, but it is working on arguably the most important portion of early development: commercializing GM’s EV business to include a Hummer-based “electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle” that could be utilized by military branches, especially the Army.
“The Army’s very excited about the fact that we’re investing in this,” duMont said in an interview with CNBC. “The eLRV, that’s the first purpose-built from the ground, up. You saw it today, it’s our Hummer EV. Our Hummer EV is what we’re going to base that vehicle on.” duMont was visited by Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Secretary of Defense, just after the interview to discuss GM’s electrification plans and GM Defense’s Research and Development stages for the use of EVs as military vehicles.
It should not take much convincing, however. The Department of Defense is “very sold” on the idea of electric vehicles, Hicks said during a tour of GM’s facilities earlier this week. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has even tipped his cap toward EVs and has stated in the past that policies and procedures that could help combat climate change are supported.
GM and the military could work together to create more effective electric military vehicles. “However they want to do it, we can work with them on that journey because we’re doing that today,” duMont said of a potential partnership with the DoD. GM Defense said last year that it had up to $25 billion in potential business for these types of vehicles.
The vehicle that would be introduced to military members as a mode of sustainable transportation will be based off the Hummer EV, which GM plans to begin producing later this year. It will not be an identical twin of the electrified Hummer. Instead, there will be modified parts and components that will make the vehicle more likely to be effective in a military setting. The frame, motors, and Ultium batteries, which GM is putting major weight into for its push to EVs over the next 13 years, will all be modified to work effectively in wartime scenarios.
As for the DoD’s fleet of military vehicles, the government may have plans to make them all-electric. However, it will not occur in the blink of an eye. “Electrifying the non-tactical fleet, that’s a no-brainer,” Hicks said to CNBC in an emailed statement. “With the tactical fleet, it’s about this issue of how we move forward, and the capabilities we gain.”
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