Timeline: The Rise, Fall, and Return of the Hummer
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Timeline: The Rise, Fall, and Return of the Hummer

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Return of the Hummer

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Timeline: The Rise, Fall, and Return of the Hummer

The Hummer brand has a relatively short history, but its trucks are some of America’s biggest automotive icons (both figuratively and literally). Originally designed for the military, Hummers are famous for their size, off-road capability, and of course, fuel consumption.

The latter proved to be the Hummer’s Achilles’ heel. By 2007, a recession was coming, and the appetite for oversized gas guzzlers had shrunk. The Hummer brand was discontinued, and its last truck rolled off the production line in 2010.

Over a decade later, GM is reviving the Hummer as a fully-electric off-road vehicle. Preorders have surpassed 65,000 units, but how does this compare to the brand’s heyday in the 2000s?

The Origins

The Hummer traces its roots to 1983, when AM General, a heavy vehicle manufacturer, received $1 billion from the Pentagon to build the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee).

The Humvee became a staple of the U.S. military, and by 1991, 72,000 had been produced. The truck was especially useful in Middle Eastern conflict zones due to its ability to transport troops and cargo over rough terrain.

If you’re wondering how this military vehicle ended up on public roads, you can thank none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

While filming the 1990 action-comedy, Kindergarten Cop, Arnold reportedly fell in love with a Humvee used on set. He later persuaded AM General to produce a consumer version of the truck, which arrived in 1992 under the name “Hummer”.

Apart from adding creature comforts like air conditioning, AM General made very few changes to the consumer-spec Hummer. It was notoriously crude and unsuited for city driving, but its military roots gave it plenty of character. GM saw an opportunity in expanding the brand, so in 1999, it purchased the rights to produce and market the Hummer.

Rise and Fall

GM moved rather quickly after purchasing Hummer. It renamed the truck to “H1”, and released an “H2” just a few years later.

Sales in the U.S. jumped, hitting over 35,000 in 2003 before tapering off slightly. To keep momentum going, GM rolled out the smaller and cheaper “H3” in 2005. Sales once again spiked, and the brand recorded over 71,000 sales in 2006.

Unfortunately, what goes up eventually comes down. In 2009, during GM’s bankruptcy proceedings, the Hummer brand was discontinued along with Pontiac and Saturn.

YearAnnual U.S. Hummer Sales
1992316
1993612
1994718
19951,432
19961,374
19971,209
1998945
1999831
20001,333
2001869
200219,581
200335,259
200429,345
200556,727
200671,524
200755,986
200827,485
20099,046
20103,812
20110

So what went wrong? For starters, the H2 was a victim of the times. It was large, expensive, and extremely thirsty for gas—attributes that don’t fare well during an economic recession.

In fact, the H2 never received an official fuel economy rating from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because it was too heavy. Regulations at the time excluded vehicles over 8,500 lbs from testing, though journalists observed an average of less than 10 mpg.

The H3 mitigated some of these issues by downsizing, and it quickly become the brand’s best selling vehicle. This success was short-lived, as the H3 alone could not sustain the brand.

Jolted to Life

In 2020, GM announced the all-electric Hummer EV. It bears a strong resemblance to the H2, carrying over iconic design elements such as the front grill with vertical slats.

Compared to the H2, this electric model is longer, wider, and heavier. Estimates suggest that it will weigh over 9,000 lbs, which according to EPA estimates, is more than double the weight of the average car. This is primarily attributed to the truck’s vast quantity of battery packs.

Power is also increased thanks to the electric drivetrain, with the “Edition 1” model boasting 1,000 horsepower from its three electric motors (a similar configuration to Tesla’s Plaid platform). Lesser models, which only have two motors, are expected to generate north of 600 horsepower.

A Promising Restart

Will battery power be the key to the Hummer’s long-term success?

So far, GM appears to have played its cards right. New trucks are outselling new cars by a ratio of 3-to-1 in the U.S., and the release of the Hummer EV is well-timed to capitalize on this trend.

The Hummer EV also sheds one of its predecessors’ biggest weaknesses—fuel consumption. With gas prices at all-time highs, can we dare to call the new Hummer “economical”?

Either way, GM is certainly enjoying the economic benefits of its decision. Over 65,000 pre-orders have been received, and production of the Hummer EV is completely sold out until 2024. The truck is being built at Factory Zero in Michigan, which is GM’s first EV-dedicated production facility.

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Green

Interactive: EV Charging Stations Across the U.S. Mapped

Looking for an EV charging station in the states? This interactive map contains every EV charging station in America.

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cropped image of map of EV chargers in America

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Across America: Mapped

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

As the electric vehicle market continues to expand, having enough EV charging stations is essential to enable longer driving ranges and lower wait times at chargers.

Currently, the U.S. has about 140,000 public EV chargers distributed across almost 53,000 charging stations, which are still far outnumbered by the 145,000 gas fueling stations in the country.

This graphic maps out EV charging stations across the U.S. using data from the National Renewable Energy Lab. The map has interactive features when viewed on desktop, showing pricing structures and the connector types when hovering over a charging station, along with filtering options.

Which States Lead in EV Charging Infrastructure?

As seen in the map above, most electric vehicle charging stations in the U.S. are located on the west and east coasts of the nation, while the Midwest strip is fairly barren aside from the state of Colorado.

California has the highest number of EV charging stations at 15,182, making up an impressive 29% of all charging stations in America. In fact, the Golden State has nearly double the chargers of the following three states, New York (3,085), Florida (2,858), and Texas (2,419) combined.

RankStateNumber of charging stationsShare of U.S. charging stations
1California15,18228.7%
2New York3,0855.8%
3Florida2,8585.4%
4Texas2,4194.6%
5Massachusetts2,3284.4%
6Washington1,8103.4%
7Colorado1,7183.2%
8Georgia1,5963.0%
9Maryland1,3582.6%
10Pennsylvania1,2602.4%
U.S. Total52,889100.0%

It’s no surprise the four top states by GDP have the highest number of EV chargers, and California’s significant lead is also unsurprising considering its ambition to completely phase out the sale of new gas vehicles by 2035.

The Best States for EV Charging Speeds and Cost

While having many charging stations distributed across a state is important, two other factors determine charging convenience: cost and charger level availability.

EV charger pricing structures and charger level availability across the nation are a Wild West with no set rules and few clear expectations.

Finding Free Electric Vehicle Chargers Across States

Generous electric vehicle charging locations will offer unlimited free charging or a time cap between 30 minutes and 4 hours of free charging before payment is required. Some EV charging stations located in parking structures simply require a parking fee, while others might have a flat charging fee per session, charge by kWh consumed, or have an hourly rate.

While California leads in terms of the raw amount of free chargers available in the state, it’s actually the second-worst in the top 10 states when it comes to the share of chargers, at only 11% of them free for 30 minutes or more.

RankState nameNumber of free charging stationsShare of free charging stations in the state
1California1,71711.3%
2Florida67323.6%
3New York66221.5%
4Texas60625.1%
5Maryland39929.4%
6Georgia36022.6%
7Washington35819.8%
8Pennsylvania31825.2%
9Colorado27315.9%
10Massachusetts1506.4%
U.S. Total10,29519.5%

Meanwhile, Maryland leads with almost 30% of the chargers in the state that offer a minimum of 30 minutes of free charging. On the other hand, Massachusetts is the stingiest state of the top 10, with only 6% of charging stations (150 total) in the state offering free charging for electric vehicle drivers.

The States with the Best DC Fast Charger Availability

While free EV chargers are great, having access to fast chargers can matter just as much, depending on how much you value your time. Most EV drivers across the U.S. will have access to level 2 chargers, with more than 86% of charging stations in the country having level 2 chargers available.

Although level 2 charging (4-10 hours from empty to full charge) beats the snail’s pace of level 1 charging (40-50 hours from empty to full charge), between busy schedules and many charging stations that are only free for the first 30 minutes, DC fast charger availability is almost a necessity.

Direct current fast chargers can charge an electric vehicle from empty to 80% in 20-60 minutes but are only available at 12% of America’s EV charging stations today.

RankStateNumber of stations with DC fast charger availableShare of DC fast charger available stations in stateShare of free and DC fast charger available stations in state
1California1,75611.6%0.7%
2Florida36012.6%1.1%
3Texas27611.4%1.2%
4Colorado24314.1%1.1%
5New York2347.6%0.8%
6Washington23212.8%1.1%
7Georgia22814.3%1.4%
8Maryland22316.4%2.7%
9Pennsylvania13410.6%1.0%
10Massachusetts1345.8%0.2%
U.S. Total6,54012.4%0.9%

Just like free stations, Maryland leads the top 10 states in having the highest share of DC fast chargers at 16%. While Massachusetts was the worst state for DC charger availability at 6%, the state of New York was second worst at 8% despite its large number of chargers overall. All other states in the top 10 have DC chargers available in at least one in 10 charging stations.

As for the holy grail of charging stations, with free charging and DC fast charger availability, almost 1% of the country’s charging stations are there. So if you’re hoping for free and DC fast charging, the chances in most states are around one in 100.

The Future of America’s EV Charging Infrastructure

As America works towards Biden’s goal of having half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 be zero-emissions vehicles (battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric), charging infrastructure across the nation is essential in improving accessibility and convenience for drivers.

The Biden administration has given early approval to 35 states’ EV infrastructure plans, granting them access to $900 million in funding as part of the $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program set to be distributed over the next five years.

Along with this program, a $2.5 billion Discretionary Grant Program aims to increase EV charging access in rural, undeserved, and overburdened communities, along with the Inflation Reduction Act’s $3 billion dedicated to supporting access to EV charging for economically disadvantaged communities.

With more than $10 billion being invested into EV charging infrastructure over the next five years and more than half the sum focused on communities with poor current access, charger availability across America is set to continue improving in the coming years.

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Energy

Visualizing the Range of Electric Cars vs. Gas-Powered Cars

With range anxiety being a barrier to EV adoption, how far can an electric car go on one charge, and how do EV ranges compare with gas cars?

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The Range of Electric Cars vs. Gas-Powered Cars

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

EV adoption has grown rapidly in recent years, but many prospective buyers still have doubts about electric car ranges.

In fact, 33% of new car buyers chose range anxiety—the concern about how far an EV can drive on a full charge—as their top inhibitor to purchasing electric cars in a survey conducted by EY.

So, how far can the average electric car go on one charge, and how does that compare with the typical range of gas-powered cars?

The Rise in EV Ranges

Thanks to improvements in battery technology, the average range of electric cars has more than doubled over the last decade, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

YearAvg. EV RangeMaximum EV Range
201079 miles (127 km)N/A
201186 miles (138 km)94 miles (151 km)
201299 miles (159 km)265 miles (426 km)
2013117 miles (188 km)265 miles (426 km)
2014130 miles (209 km)265 miles (426 km)
2015131 miles (211 km)270 miles (435 km)
2016145 miles (233 km)315 miles (507 km)
2017151 miles (243 km)335 miles (539 km)
2018189 miles (304 km)335 miles (539 km)
2019209 miles (336 km)370 miles (595 km)
2020210 miles (338 km)402 miles (647 km)
2021217 miles (349 km)520 miles* (837 km)

*Max range for EVs offered in the United States.
Source: IEA, U.S. DOE

As of 2021, the average battery-powered EV could travel 217 miles (349 km) on a single charge. It represents a 44% increase from 151 miles (243 km) in 2017 and a 152% increase relative to a decade ago.

Despite the steady growth, EVs still fall short when compared to gas-powered cars. For example, in 2021, the median gas car range (on one full tank) in the U.S. was around 413 miles (664 km)—nearly double what the average EV would cover.

As automakers roll out new models, electric car ranges are likely to continue increasing and could soon match those of their gas-powered counterparts. It’s important to note that EV ranges can change depending on external conditions.

What Affects EV Ranges?

In theory, EV ranges depend on battery capacity and motor efficiency, but real-world results can vary based on several factors:

  • Weather: At temperatures below 20℉ (-6.7℃), EVs can lose around 12% of their range, rising to 41% if heating is turned on inside the vehicle.
  • Operating Conditions: Thanks to regenerative braking, EVs may extend their maximum range during city driving.
  • Speed: When driving at high speeds, EV motors spin faster at a less efficient rate. This may result in range loss.

On the contrary, when driven at optimal temperatures of about 70℉ (21.5℃), EVs can exceed their rated range, according to an analysis by Geotab.

The 10 Longest-Range Electric Cars in America

Here are the 10 longest-range electric cars available in the U.S. as of 2022, based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) range estimates:

CarRange On One Full ChargeEstimated Base Price
Lucid Air520 miles (837 km)$170,500
Tesla Model S405 miles (652 km)$106,190
Tesla Model 3358 miles (576 km)$59,440
Mercedes EQS350 miles (563 km)$103,360
Tesla Model X348 miles (560 km)$122,440
Tesla Model Y330 miles (531 km)$67,440
Hummer EV329 miles (529 km)$110,295
BMW iX324 miles (521 km)$84,195
Ford F-150 Lightning320 miles (515 km)$74,169
Rivian R1S316 miles (509 km)$70,000

Source: Car and Driver

The top-spec Lucid Air offers the highest range of any EV with a price tag of $170,500, followed by the Tesla Model S. But the Tesla Model 3 offers the most bang for your buck if range and price are the only two factors in consideration.

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