By James Baker
In a viral video (see below) from a YouTube channel that specializes in electric vehicles, a man who tries to plug the Hummer into his home to charge finds it will take, at best, one day to charge — and that’s with special equipment installed.
Without it, you could be there for four days.
The video begins with standard 120V charging — or Level 1 charging, to use official jargon. This is the standard current your home already offers.
“Right now it’s about 6 p.m. on Tuesday,” the man says. “And it says it will be full by Saturday at 10:55 [p.m.], which is four-plus days of charging. Wow.”
To be fair, however, this won’t be how most Hummer owners will be charging their vehicle. Level 2 chargers are upgraded home stations which deliver a significantly higher amount of electricity than your regular home circuit would be able to deliver — but they require special equipment and installation.
According to Compare.com, the cost of a Level 2 charger is about $500 without installation, which must be done by a professional electrician.
However, our intrepid Hummer owner had one of those — the JuiceBox, a 240v charger, installed in his garage.
How much difference did that make? Not as much as you might think.
“Now it says it will be done tomorrow by 6:30 [p.m.],” the video narrator says. “So about 24 hours of charging from four percent to 100 percent.”
Of course, you don’t have to go to full charge; the vehicle’s screen says the Level 2 charger was adding 14 miles of range per hour. However, when you can fill a gas-powered truck in five minutes and not have to worry about installing a fast charger or leaving your truck plugged in every night, that’s not exactly easy or convenient.
And by the way, it’s not entirely cheap, either — especially if you decide you don’t want to charge your Hummer at home but at fast-charging stations that can get the job done in two hours.
Car and Driver went to an Electrify America charging station, where it cost over $100 to “fill up” the Hummer at 43 cents per kilowatt hour.
This is roughly consistent with how much it would cost to fill up a gas-powered Hummer made in the final production year — although Electrify America does provide a membership program that reduces the cost by roughly one-quarter. If you charge it at home, you’ll only be spending about $35 to fill it up — but you’ll be waiting quite a while.
And, by the by, don’t expect to use your electric truck to do truck-like things quite as well as gas-powered trucks do.
Automotive YouTuber Tyler “Hoovie” Hoover put Ford’s F-150 Lightning — another electric truck, although somewhat more modestly priced than the Hummer — to the test by towing an empty aluminum trailer 32 miles, and then assessing how well it handled its maximum towing capacity by then ferrying a recently purchased 1930 Ford Model A pickup truck back to home base.
Hoovie called the experience a “complete and total disaster from beginning to end.” He started with a 200-mile charge but lost 68 miles of range in the 32 miles he was towing just the aluminum trailer. Once the Model A was aboard, he lost “almost 90 miles of range in 30 miles.”
Cheer up, Hoovie. Plug that baby into a Level 1 charger and you’ll be ready to make a return trip in another few days.
Now, I don’t pretend that most — in fact, almost any — Hummer owners are going to be using Level 1. If you can drop a cool $86k on a retro-styled EV pickup truck, you can also get a Level 2 charger installed in your garage without your bank account incurring too much of a scrape. That still means 24 hours of charging, though, something that could be critical in an emergency.
Say you live in the state of California, which plans to outlaw the sale of new gas vehicles by 2035. Let’s also say your residence is suddenly threatened by a wildfire — I know, a very unusual thing in California, but we’re just spitballing hypotheticals here. If you only have 10 percent charge and you have to load everything you can into your vehicle, you don’t have a day to get a full tank. Good luck getting far and good luck finding an open fast-charging station on the highway, particularly in times of natural disaster.
Look, this isn’t to say electric vehicles don’t have their time and place. If you don’t mind the charging times and high price, the Hummer is actually a pretty sweet ride; it can go from 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds, something the original Hummer might not have been able to do in 3.3 hours. It’s a high-tech, versatile vehicle that, from all appearances, is a blast.
But let’s be clear: The Hummer and its electric brethren aren’t at the point where they can replace gas-powered trucks, the same way EVs across the spectrum aren’t at the point where they can replace equivalent internal-combustion vehicles. Why are we on the precipice, then, of forcing new-car buyers to pay more for a vehicle that’s less convenient and often can’t do the work they need it to do?
EV technology won’t be ready to replace gas-powered cars anytime soon, and ignoring reality doesn’t make it go away — no matter how many pro-EV laws the Democrats pass.