If you think GM’s Hummer brand was totally dead think again! In 2008 GM Hummer debuted a concept car called the HX Concept. In an eleventh hour effort to bring Hummer’s gas guzzling days to an end GM proposed a smaller, lighter, more efficient version of its laughably yet highly desirable ‘in your face kind’ larger siblings H2 and H3. Effectively it was too little too late, GM decided to sever the brand in 2009 and focus on trying to salvage the rest of its portfolio.
After the recession hit the automotive industry GM was faced with many tough restructuring decisions and subsequently messily handled the dissolution of the Hummer brand. However, just like Saab – another of GM’s brands fed to the wolves – Hummer had something that ultimately is priceless, it has the legacy of a remarkably iconic design. Built as a military vehicle by AM General and under the name of Humvee the Hummer adopted a similar architecture to say the Mercedes Gelandewagen or the Land Rover Defender, with upright windscreen, horizontal front end, block bonnet and simple box sections. Using the same utilitarian design cues but adding authentic American spirit the Hummer quickly became a celebrity car in its own right and in no small way thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger (who drives a Vegan version these days!).
It was no wonder that when GM decided to sell off Hummer many parties were interested in licensing the ‘look’. In some countries, such as China, a Hummer is still a status symbol. But all bids fell through, money could not be secured and in the midst of it all a small company called MEV, My Electric Vehicle, secured GM’s official licensed product Hummer seal of approval. They proceeded to take what was wrong with the Hummer, notably size and poor efficiency and reduced it to the max…quite literally!
There was no way that the Hummer could have been electrified efficiently retaining its size; Raser Technologies tried and failed to market the product competitively. So when MEV decided to shrink wrap the HX Concept packaging around their 2 seater golf cart platform a little magic happened. Not only was the issue of size and weight addressed but the outdated and much criticised poor fuel consumption eradicated. What you end up with in MEV’s HX™ and HX-T™ is the best of both worlds really, the fun ‘bling’ looks of the Hummer and a relatively guilt-free electric vehicle. Yes we know not all electric cars are clean, but anything is better than 10 mpg + toxic emissions.
The Electric Hummer is in town! We got to test drive the HX-T™, the T is for Topless, and will be following this article with a test drive of the closed – warmer – version the HX™. While the golf cart underpinnings and its toplessness clearly mean that the HX-T™ is destined for a better life in the sun it was immediately apparent that the power of the Hummer brand lives on. People stared, smiled, and questioned about availability and price during our short tour of central London and Hyde Park. The fact that the HX-T™ is a mini version of the original at a fraction of the price, starting at £10,995, means that a larger market is able to get a piece of the celebrity pie. Realistically, however, with a range of up to 40 miles per charge with basic batteries, extendable to 60 miles with the Lithium option (add £7,495 to the bill) the car is more suited to what it is marketed as…a resort vehicle. If your resort is Central London that works too!
The HX-T™ has something that most EV’s these days lack in spades, and that is charisma. Yes, the build quality is not to the high standards MEV claims – side view mirrors felt loose and plasticky – and true that wheel cover on the back is purely for show – you won’t find an emergency tyre in there – but it is real fun. The proportions fit the technology well, the vertical seating position reinforces the boxiness of the design and its not trying too hard to be something its not. The world, and specially congested London, didn’t need another Hummer but the EV culture sure needed the HX-T™, in the very least it detracts from the eye sore that is the G-Whiz. The MEV HX looks even cooler, we are looking forward to driving that soon…stay tuned!
Photographs by Olgun Kordal
HX-T™ available from MEV UK Dealer
PO BOX 7013
T: +44(0)845 0766298