Just a few hours ago, I said “Hopefully, this doesn’t turn into a right-wing political story about how electric vehicles are unreliable” after a Hummer had a breakdown. It didn’t, at least not yet. But TFL finds itself in the middle of a different kind of controversy after one of its videos regarding the charging speed of the GMC Hummer EV got picked up by Fox News.
Presenter Andre Smirnov shot a short YouTube video (and TikTok) where he tried charging the Hummer EV using three levels. The slowest would have taken about 4 days, and Fox News picked up this clip, turning it into an attack directed toward president Joe Biden.
Not only is that a cheap shot, but I’m also upset because watching YouTube videos and turning them into stories is supposed to be my job! What next, are Fox going to cover drag races and renderings too?!
Jokes aside, this really is a cheap shot at the president. Yes, electric cars can take a while to charge. So what? One of the biggest media outlets in the country should try to find out why Joe Biden is so supportive of General Motors instead of watching YouTube. Because driving a Hummer or Cadillac obviously has nothing to do with liking Corvettes.
Now, I’m not saying this is a conspiracy of lizard men who own the underground lithium reserves and run the government. But Biden driving a Cadillac EV and giving TikTok “what do you do for a living” interviews is about as forced as Audis in Marvel movies. GM would never do something like that, right?!
Charles Erwin Wilson, nicknamed “Engine Charlie” by president Eisenhower, was influential in the creation and subsidization of the modern American highway network that significantly boosted the sales of automobiles in the second part of the last century. What did he do before that? President and CEO of General Motors. And that is how the American dream was born… batteries sold separately.
Hummer EV charging: the facts
TFL recently bought its own $115,000 Hummer EV, but the one used by Andre in the shorts was borrowed from GM. Now, it’s important to note that this vehicle is like the Double Quarter Pounder of EVs… literally.
An early Tesla Model S from about 10 years ago could have just 60 kWh, and now 100 kWh is pretty standard on that car. GM doesn’t provide the exact numbers, but the Hummer EV Edition 1 is believed to have 210 kWh of usable capacity. In addition, the cells alone weigh 2,923 pounds, about the same as a small crossover like the Hyundai Kona or a Corolla compact.
So the battery is big and that’s why it takes a while to charge. And on a full battery, it’s supposed to have 350 miles of range. Are you going to do that much driving every day while charging at home? Probably not.
In their short video, TFL was simply showing what people can expect when using different types of chargers. And like we discussed in the F-150 Lightning “towing disaster” story, sensationalizing is a normal part of car YouTube videos, and it shouldn’t be taken out of context by the traditional media.
But you have to admit, plugging in on Saturday and having your EV fully charged by Tuesday sounds terrible. That’s with a simple Level 1 system. The much more common Level 2 chargers can add about 16 miles of range per hour. That’s 128 miles in 8 hours, which is plenty.
However, the Hummer EV is actually the current fastest charging EV on the market. Several months ago, TFL hooked it up to an Electrify America station and was getting up to 180 kW speeds, with 78 miles of range added in 13 minutes.