Pedestrian fatalities, unresolved safety issues, overachieving and overweight trucks — overweight electric trucks — and divisive attitudes about vehicles equipped as is the new Hummer EV, are very much on the mind of Robinson Meyer.
Mr. Meyer, who suggests that the 1,000-horsepower pickup is a cross “between an ambulance and a race car,” is a staff writer for The Atlantic, a well-respected, long-lived journal founded in 1857. His recent essay in the monthly’s flagship magazine starts off describing a scary video clip posted online by Edward Barseghian that features the 9,000-pound Hummer hurtling full tilt towards three lanes of cars idling at a light (the driver stops it in time). Then he goes on to pretty much berate the machine.
“The Hummer EV haters and lovers had discovered one of the most important facts about electric ‘super trucks‘: They are very heavy, and they go very fast,” he writes. “If you imagine an ambulance that can accelerate as fast as a Formula 1 car, you’re imagining a vehicle only slightly more unwieldy than the new Hummer.”
Meyer goes on to discuss the issue of allowing battery powered vehicles that weigh as much as the Hummer does onto public roads. “The weight of EVs is a safety issue that drivers — and cyclists and pedestrians — will only have to keep worrying about as these cars go mainstream,” he explains. “Suffice it to say that cars as huge as the Hummer EV need to face some kind of regulation, especially in cities and towns, where they pose a distinct threat to the public.”
To Hummer devotees, them’s fightin’ words. But Meyer takes pains to present a sort of response from Anthony Schiavo, a research director at Lux Research, a global advisory firm: Why is the Hummer so heavy if its batteries weigh only about 3,000 pounds?
“It’s absolutely a design choice and a marketing choice,” Schiavo answers. “People like larger vehicles, and the reason why those larger vehicles are getting made is because they sell.”
The author concludes by bringing into his thesis the issues of climate change, liberal and conservative politics. In some places, his arguments wander; they become muddled. But for those enthused about electrics and big trucks, “Frankenstein’s Hummer” is worth a read.