This is not the sort of experience we expected with our brand new $115,000 GMC Hummer EV.
Without waffling around the issue, let’s cut right to the core: TFL’s brand-new GMC Hummer EV broke down on a busy highway within one day of ownership. We just traded our long-term Ford F-150 Lightning for this truck and we’re charting out all the coverage we want to bring you guys with it over the coming months. The premise is simple: Just how much of a hit or miss is GMC’s over the top, all-electric truck?
Then, in the process of filming those videos, Roman ended up stranded on a busy highway when the Hummer EV refused to power cycle using the ignition button. Its electric shifter also did not move the truck out of park, even to allow a “limp mode”. The truck just did not move, leaving Roman to bring the team in (and a tow truck) to help out.
It all started with the truck throwing another steering-related fault and saying that it needed to go to the dealer for service. But the story ended up getting much more complicated from there.
As you’d imagine, this is not the ideal sort of place to break down. Fortunately, a police officer soon arrived to help move traffic away from the Hummer, while Roman coordinated the rescue operation. However, even though we brought a truck along, we faced two major problems in moving the disabled GMC out of harm’s way. It’s stuck in park, so you couldn’t hook onto the recovery points to flat tow it (side note: GM insists you don’t flat tow this truck at all), because it won’t move. Even if it was in neutral, though, you’re still trying to pull a massive 9,400 pounds — so you’d have to bring a vehicle capable of moving that sort of heft.
What about calling OnStar?
“Of course, I called OnStar. They routed me to like 14 different people, kept asking for my phone number. They said I needed premium service, and finally they said the soonest they could get a tow truck here is in an hour,” Roman said of his experience doing the first thing most GM owners would probably do when they break down. For context on that, OnStar asked for his phone number in case he was disconnected, and the operator also (strangely) asked for the truck’s VIN.
When the Hummer EV finally did sort of power cycle, the instrument cluster flashed a message: “Start vehicle to view Application”. Unfortunately, that means the truck did not fully power on, even with Roman’s foot on the brake, and still refused to budge. The incident also stopped Roman from being able to open the frunk using normal means, be it the button inside the truck or the key fob.
So…what is the fix?
Ultimately, with Tommy’s help Roman was able to hard reboot the Hummer EV, by disconnecting the battery once they were actually able to get the front trunk open. Pro tip: If you need to manually open the GMC Hummer EV’s frunk, there’s a small cable pull embedded deep underneath the dashboard to do it. In our situation, the hard button under the grille to open the frunk did not work, nor did the interior electronic switch or the key fob.
After reconnecting the battery, there’s a restart procedure to disengage the shifter lock:
- Press brake for 20 seconds;
- Open then close driver window;
- Then open and close passenger window;
- Open then close left rear window;
- Open then close right rear window;
- Cycle passenger window (again);
- Press brake for 20 seconds
Yes, you have to cycle through all those prompts to get the shifter to unlock. Fortunately, Tommy and Roman were able to drive the vehicle back to the dealer after getting the Hummer EV out of this dicey situation.
What happens next?
At time of writing, our local GMC dealer technicians are working to diagnose and remedy the problem. When we have an update on that, we’ll let you know.
While this is a frustrating situation to be sure, we’re showing an unfortunate real-world situation we faced almost immediately upon delivery of our GMC Hummer EV. Depending on where this could happen, it could lead to dangerous circumstances for a Hummer EV driver or surrounding motorists.
To recap this truck’s life so far, here’s where we stand. GM’s Factory Zero (Hamtramck) plant built the truck back in March 2022. From there, several months elapsed before the truck finally arrived this month. We don’t know with certainty where the truck was or how it was stored/shipped during the interim months, but the GMC Hummer EV arrived here in Boulder, Colorado with delivery mileage.
Obviously, if you were to spend $115,000 on a brand-new electric truck and face these issues, you’d rightly be upset and demand answers. That’s what we’re working to do, so stay tuned for more updates as the story develops.