2024 GMC Hummer electric SUV: Here's how it compares to the H1 Alpha 'Humvee'
In 2006 GM gave us the ne-plus-ultra in Hummer capability, the H1 Alpha. How does The General's new electric SUV stack up against the original army-turned-civilian special?
Emme HallFormer editor for CNET Cars
I love two-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, seven-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.
Well, GM is at it again, having just revealed an SUV version of its forthcoming all-electric Hummer. This model looks to be just as much of a rock-crushing, dirt-flinging, whoop-eating machine as the recently revealed GMC Hummer pickup and it got us thinking about the last time we saw the original Hummer H1 flagship in dealerships -- and how the old model and this new one compare.
We saw the first Hummer in 1992 as a civilian version of the military-minded M998 Series High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle from AM General. In the late '90s, GM bought the Hummer brand from AM and in 2006 GM released the H1 Alpha, the culmination of Hummer capability. Offered as an open-top truck or a hardtop wagon, the Alpha sported a 6.6-liter Duramax turbo V8 diesel putting power down to all four wheels through a 5-speed Allison transmission. Output? 300 ponies and 520 pound-feet of torque, which was pretty dope for the times. Remember, though, the H1 also weighed around 8,000 pounds -- roughly twice as much as a modern full-size, regular-cab pickup.
My, how things have changed. This new 2024 electric Hummer by GMC goes big, with the available three motors cranking out up to 830 hp and a GM-claimed 11,500 pound-feet of torque. That torque number sounds insane, but GM is measuring wheel torque, not motor torque. When measured in the more traditional manner, the Hummer SUV is nevertheless expected to produce over 1,000 pound-feet of twist -- still far more than most folks will ever need.
The old Alpha was never going to be efficient -- after all it was a big block of chunky steel originally designed to transport armed troops. GM claimed a range of 570 miles out of the H1's two fuel tanks totalling 51.5 gallons. That works out to about 11 miles per gallon.
The 2024 EV will have a range of 300 miles, slightly less if you opt for the off-road package with 18-inch wheels, lockers, upgraded axles, underbody protection and a whole mess of cameras.
Watch this: 2024 GMC Hummer SUV: An all-electric rock crawler
Hummer H1 Alpha vs. GMC Hummer EV SUV
2006 Hummer H1 Alpha
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV
1,000 pound-feet (est.)
Back in the day, the H1 took 13.5 seconds to go from a standstill to 60 mph. A 1980 Toyota Corolla is quicker than that, but with that kind of weight and those aerodynamics, you can only exploit physics so much. Frankly, we're surprised the Alpha wasn't a few seconds slower.
The battery-powered 2024 GMC Hummer SUV, meanwhile, is crazy quick, shaving 10 seconds off that 0-to-60-mph time. Yep, the automaker says 3.5 seconds is all it takes for its Hummer SUV to reach 60 mph. That's what instant torque does for you. GMC remains hush-hush about the SUV's weight, but all those batteries aren't light. We wouldn't be surprised by a 6,500-pound curb weight, but we'll have to wait and see.
The new Hummer SUV is a foot longer than the H1 Alpha of yore, but it goes with a nearly 14-inch shorter wheelbase. We know, that sounds weird, but remember, the H1 had its front wheels pushed out so far they were darn near under the front brush bar, which contributed to the vehicle's extra-long wheelbase.
In fact, those pushed-out front wheels accounted for the H1 Alpha's unheard-of 72-degree approach angle. This truck could practically climb a wall and not scrape a fly off the front. Departure angle was just as impressive at 37.5 degrees, while breakover angle sat pretty at 32.5 degrees.
By comparison, the new Hummer sacrifices a lot of approach angle, but don't be mistaken -- at 49.6 degrees, it's still the best in the biz. GM has pushed the rear wheels of the EV to the corners, giving it a stellar departure angle of 49 degrees. With the shorter wheelbase the breakover angle is better: 34.4 degrees.
Both SUVs have 16 inches of ground clearance, but the H1 could 'only' ford 30 inches of water. The electrified version can cross 32 inches.
Of course, to kick some butt off-road, you'll need some meaty tires. The Alpha went for 37-inch tires on 17-inch wheels with an on-board air compressor that could inflate and deflate tires on the go for the ultimate in off-road traction. The new Hummer makes do with 35-inch rubber on 18-inch wheels. There is air suspension, but alas, no central tire inflation system.
Remember how terrible the H1 was to actually turn around? Its turning circle was 51 feet -- much larger than a modern full-size truck. If you ever got into a U-turn situation on the trail in an Alpha, you had to attempt eleventy-billion three-point turns before you ever got the thing pointed in the other direction. Such are the perils of an extra-long wheelbase, folks.
Now, the 2024 Hummer may have a shorter wheelbase, but it's still sitting at 126.7 inches, about the same as a Toyota Tacoma. However, the Hummer will be available with four-wheel steering, including a cool CrabWalk mode that helps reduce the EV's turning circle to 35.4 feet, about the same as the much smaller Chevy Bolt EV.
If you wanted a top-of-the-line H1 Alpha in 2006, you'd have been signing on for an MSRP of at least $140,725 (including destination), and the optional off-road package with a winch, front and rear lockers and 17-inch wheels would've added another $5,726 dollars to the bottom line. All told, the H1 cost the modern equivalent of over $194,000 inflation-adjusted dollars.
While these are obviously totally different vehicles, that makes the $110,595 price for the 2024 Edition 1 Hummer SUV seem like a veritable bargain. Further, that price includes destination and the $5,000 off-road package, which you should 100% get.
If you'd like an 2006 H1 Alpha of your very own, well, good luck. GM only made around 400 of the wagons, one of which sold last year on Bring a Trailer for $175,000. There is currently one for sale on Cars.com with just 3,255 miles on the odometer selling for a cool $250,000. We should see the all-electric Hummer SUV on sale in early 2023 as a 2024 model, but if you just can't wait, the pickup truck comes online this Fall.