Hummers to carry shock troops of the zero carbon revolution
The Hummer is an incredible vehicle. Bear with me.
Developed as the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, from which we somehow get the name 'Humvee') for the US Army, it is a pretty amazing piece of engineering. It's extremely rugged, highly adaptable, can go pretty much anywhere and does cool stuff like reinflate its tires through the axles. In fact, it's been so successful in replacing the Jeep and other light military vehicles that the American military now employs it in 17 different roles.
But like many things, it is only desirable when used for the purpose for which it was made. Nobody is going to start asking a soldier in Iraq to try and navigate hostile highways in a G-Wiz. It should be a similar mark of delusional insanity to consider the Hummer a suitable suburban vehicle for a trip down to the shops.
Until now. The Wired blog 'Autopia' tells of a firm in Utah that has taken this symbol of all that is environmentally wrong with the internal combustion engine and turned it into a 100mpg-equivalent electric pussycat that's 'greener than a Prius'.
The rationale is pretty interesting. Most commercially available electric cars are built 'around the battery packs', but with a unit the size of a Hummer there's plenty of space for batteries, engine, generator and motor, plus luggage, people, cattle and other things you conventionally haul around in cars.
As Jim Spellman of Raser Technologies, who built the eco-Hummer, says: 'SUVs [sports utility vehicles] and trucks are the number one selling vehicle in America. Unlike the Prius, which is a mild hybrid vehicle, an eco-friendly SUV will get people's attention.' You can say that again.