DETROIT -- General Motors is mulling over the idea of building an electric vehicle that would bring the defunct gas-guzzling Hummer brand back to life.
For now, it’s just an idea GM is considering as it plans which vehicles will be included in a fleet of electrified SUVs and trucks, say people familiar with the matter.
The Hummer name has surfaced as way to tap growing demand for rugged SUVs with off-road capabilities, while avoiding the gasoline-burning image that made the brand something of a pariah a decade ago, said the people, who asked not to be named because the conversations are private.
The idea of an electric Hummer comes as GM is looking to transform itself from a conventional, gasoline-powered-vehicle maker into what CEO Mary Barra calls an “all-electric future.”
Hummer is one of many options GM is exploring as it races to develop the next generation of battery-powered vehicles. Several other car companies also are rushing to produce commercially viable electric-powered models.
When asked about it, GM President Mark Reuss was unconvinced.
“I love Hummer,” Reuss said on the sidelines of a press conference on June 12. “I’m not sure. We’re looking at everything.”
Building an electric Hummer may never come to pass, but without electrification, GM would have a tough time selling a traditional Hummer in an era when emissions rules have become much stricter than in the brand’s heyday.
GM is currently working on two major battery-electric vehicle programs. The first is its BEV3 project, which will develop passenger cars, crossover SUVs and a variety of other small and mid-sized models. That’s part of the automaker’s pledge to put 20 EVs on the road globally by 2023. The second program would make electric pickups and other full-size vehicles, some of which can go off-road.
In its family of brands, GM has large SUVs -- such as the Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade -- as well as hulking GMC vehicles including the Sierra truck and Yukon SUV. GMC also has Denali-labeled models that denote luxury and an AT4 brand for off-road capable trucks. Any of those potentially could be offered with electric powertrains, Reuss said.
“It’s massive. There might be places where we go first that are not just heavy-duty work trucks but more style and capability for off-road,” he said. “There are lots of things that are very attractive.”