A Key GM EV Rivaling Rivian, Ford and Tesla Hits a Speed Bump

TheStreet

Detroit giant GM is in full transition to electric vehicles. One of its key offerings hit a speed bump.

It’s a setback that General Motors  (GM) – Get General Motors Company Report would have liked to avoid in its race to catch up with Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report and try to outrun its eternal rival Ford  (F) – Get Ford Motor Company Report

The Detroit giant is currently aligning its pawns to win the favor of consumers wishing to buy an electric vehicle. 

In this sense, the automotive group still plans to restart production of the Chevrolet Bolt, its first mass market electric car, on April 4. And production of the highly anticipated Cadillac Lyriq, the first EV from the luxury brand, is scheduled for next week. 

These two vehicles plus the GMC Hummer electric pickup form GM’s first three weapons in the battle for the vehicle-electrification space. 

But the Hummer recently took a small but significant hit: GM decided to recall about 10 of them because of a problem with the electric truck’s taillights.

Software Glitch Affects the Tailights

“In these vehicles, embedded software in the taillamps can cause one or both rear taillamps to (a) become inoperative or (b) remain fully or partially illuminated,”  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a notice.

“If the taillamp is inoperative, all taillamp functions (brake light, turn signal, backup lamp, side marker, clearance lamp, and tail light) will be disabled,” the regulator insisted.

The regulator added: “If a taillamp remains fully or partially illuminated, some or all of these taillamp functions will remain activated at all times, even after the vehicle is turned off.”

NHTSA then warned that “a taillamp that fails to illuminate or illuminate incorrectly may reduce the visibility of the vehicle or communicate incorrect information to other road users, increasing the risk of a crash.”

GMC

Daniel Flores, a spokesman for GM, told TheStreet via email that the recall was voluntary.  

“In these vehicles, embedded software in the taillamps can cause one or both rear taillamps to become inoperative or remain fully or partially illuminated,” he said. “If the taillamp is inoperative, all taillamp functions will be disabled.”

Deliveries Continue to Grow

Flores also said that “all customer vehicles in the U.S. have been fixed and we apologize for any inconvenience this issue caused our customers.”

It is the Hummer electric pickup model year 2022 in the U.S. that is affected.

GMC, one of GM’s four brands, began producing the Hummer EV last year and delivered a single unit in the fourth quarter. Deliveries were expected to ramp up this year.

GM declined to tell to TheStreet how many Hummer EVs have already been delivered to customers. The Hummer EV’s main rivals are Rivian’s  (RIVN) – Get Rivian Automotive, Inc. Class A Report R1T pickup, Ford’s long-awaited F-150 Lightning and Tesla’s Cybertruck, whose production has already been pushed back several times.

A spokesperson for GMC said the 10 recalled vehicles do not represent all the Hummer EVs in customer hands today. They added that customer deliveries “continue to grow.”

As we reported in February, GM told suppliers to its electric Hummer and Chevrolet Silverado trucks to plan for production of 21,000 of those vehicles this year, up from the previous plan to build 3,800 vehicles.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra told analysts during the fourth-quarter earnings call that GM has received more than 59,000 reservations for the GMC Hummer EV pickup and SUV, while more than 110,000 Silverado EVs are reserved so far.

“Not surprisingly, some of the first owners (of the Hummer) are very prominent figures in the sports and entertainment industries, and their initial feedback has been just incredible,” Barra said. 

She didn’t give names.

One Powerful Vehicle

The Hummer EV is initially available in a top-of-the-line $112,495 model.

The 2022 Hummer EV Edition 1, whose limited copies have all long been reserved, has almost all the equipment available in addition to offering an extreme off-road package. 

Like the 2023 EV3X Hummer model, its battery powers three electric motors that together generate close to 1,000 horsepower, enough to accelerate from 0 to 40 mph in just over three seconds.

In short, even in a 100% electric form, the Hummer remains a monster, as much by its physical bulk as its skills. The range, up to 329 miles, is interesting on paper but could be much more if the vehicle were lighter.

The Hummer EV pickup will be followed by the Hummer EV SUV.