Biden’s test drive of electric Hummer helped increase reservations, GM says


U.S. President Joe Biden gestures after driving a Hummer EV during a tour at the General Motors ‘Factory ZERO’ electric vehicle assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan, November 17, 2021.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

DETROIT – President Joe Biden’s visit last week to a General Motors plant that’s producing the GMC Hummer electric pickup caused a notable increase in reservations for the truck, the automaker said Tuesday.

Duncan Aldred, global head of the GMC, said reservations for the vehicle increased sevenfold compared to an average day, as traffic to the brand’s website increased by about 230%. He said the event led to this month being the highest amount of reservations for the Hummer, including a SUV version, outside of when the vehicles separately debuted.

“It just shows that the customer intrigue and interest and willingness to buy remains super high,” Aldred told reporters during a briefing Tuesday.

Aldred declined to disclose the specific number of reservations, which require a $100 refundable deposit. He said the automaker has more than 125,000 “hand raisers” that have requested information about the vehicle on its website. He expects to convert “most of those” into buyers.

Biden’s visit on Wednesday included a tour of the factory as well as the commander-in-chief zooming around in the truck with GM CEO Mary Barra outside the plant. Biden also made several supportive comments promoting the vehicle during a speech at the facility, including calling it “one hell of a vehicle.”

Aldred on Tuesday confirmed that GM plans to begin delivering a roughly $113,000 special “Edition 1” version of the vehicle by mid-December. That timeframe would mean the Detroit automaker achieved deliveries of the new flagship truck on time from when it was unveiled in October 2020.

President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the General Motors Factory ZERO electric vehicle assembly plant, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Detroit.
Evan Vucci | AP

“This really culminates on what has been an amazing journey of two years. It’s the fastest program General Motors has even done,” Aldred said. “Not only is that a monumental effort, but considering this isn’t any vehicle, it’s the world’s first supertruck, this is a pretty amazing feat.”

But the vehicles will have a slightly lower electric range than initially anticipated at 329 miles, down by 6% from about 350 miles.

Aldred cited the amount of features in the “Edition 1” models as reasons for the lower range. He alluded to lesser-equipped versions of the vehicle having a longer range in the coming years.

The event last week at GM’s Factory Zero was largely to promote the  bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which includes tax incentives of up to $12,500 per vehicle to spur consumer demand in electric vehicles.

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