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GM’s Hummer brand could make an unlikely return with electric power

Like the robots played by its most famous owner, General Motors’ Hummer brand could be on the verge of an unlikely return from the scrap heap.

GM plans to launch 20 all-electric models by 2023, and an electric Hummer could be among them, reports Reuters, which cited information from a deal between the United Auto Workers and GM, as well as anonymous sources familiar with the matter. Beginning in late 2021, GM could begin building an electric Hummer at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, according to Reuters. That factory previously built the Chevrolet Volt, and was set to be idled before the most recent round of investments by GM.

The potential electric Hummer model will be part of a new family of electric trucks code-named BT1. This will likely include the electric pickup truck confirmed by GM CEO Mary Barra earlier this year, without stating which brand it would be sold under. That truck will go into low-volume production in 2021, followed by a performance variant in 2022, according to Reuters. Electric SUVs for GMC and Cadillac will follow in 2023, Reuters reports.

GM has also confirmed plans for a new battery plant near its recently shuttered factory in Lordstown, Ohio, according to Reuters. The Lordstown factory previously built the Chevrolet Cruze, which was discontinued in a cost-cutting effort aimed at funding the development of new electric models. Workhorse Group has expressed interest in buying the idled factory to build its W-15 plug-in hybrid truck on other models.

Known for gas-guzzling SUVs, Hummer became a symbol of early-2000s excess. High gas prices and the 2008 financial crisis weakened both Hummer and parent company GM. Hummer was one of several brands shuttered as GM went through bankruptcy proceedings. A deal to sell Hummer to a Chinese automaker fell through, and the brand has remained dormant since 2010.

Almost a decade later, Hummer still attracts interest. GM president Mark Reuss said earlier this year that he was open to reviving Hummer as a brand for electric vehicles. Bringing back Hummer would be a smart idea because “the marketing is already paid for,” Automotive Forecast Solutions vice president Sam Fiorani told Reuters, citing Hummer’s association with celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Whether it’s badged as a Hummer, or something else, it makes sense for GM to launch an electric truck. Startup Rivian has attracted attention with its R1T electric pickup, and Tesla is expected to launch an electric truck as well. GM archival Ford will launch an electric version of its bestselling F-150 pickup.

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