Off-Roading

GMC Hummer EV shown scaling Moab rocks in new video

The GMC Hummer EV is in Moab, Utah testing its technology.

Photo courtesy of GMC

Every vehicle is tested to the extreme before it his the market. Usually, it's done while the model is wearing camouflage, first, usually in mule form then in a more final state as production nears. GMC has been pulling the curtain back on its testing as the automaker builds excitement toward the launch of the 2023 GMC Hummer EV.

First, the battery electric truck was shown taking off for upstate Michigan to undergo winter weather testing. Now, it's shown scaling the rocks in Moab, Utah. This, combined with the pronounced arrival of Ford's Bronco concept cars at this year's Easter Jeep Safari are a shot across the bow at Jeep's decades of off-road dominance.

There's a big difference between the Jeeps and Fords, and the GMC. The Hummer EV's climb is quiet thanks to its all-electric powertrain. The electric vehicle (EV) is based on General Motors' Ultium architecture, which keeps the battery at the bottom of the car between its wheels.

According to GMC, driving at Moab included testing and calibration of the adaptive air suspension hardware, Extract Mode, Terrain Mode, one-pedal driving, electric four-wheel drive (e4WD), torque distribution, electric lockers (eLockers), stability control, rear steering, CrabWalk, and more.

GMC is working to make one-pedal driving a solution to the accelerator-brake routine of traditional off-roading with its capability extending to low-speed operations. One-pedal driving is traditionally used on rural roads and in busy city traffic.

"One-Pedal Driving offers a great feeling of control by optimizing the regenerative braking, friction braking and drive motor torque all through the accelerator pedal," said Aaron Pfau, GMC Hummer EV lead development engineer. "Drivers will quickly realize the benefits once they try it off-road."

Extract Mode is designed to raise the height of the truck by approximately six inches to help the vehicle negotiate extreme off-road situations, such as clearing large rocks and fording deep water.

"The GMC Hummer EV was a blank slate that was filled out by a dedicated team of engineers who are hardcore off-road enthusiasts," said Pfau. "Features like One-Pedal Driving2, Terrain Mode and Extract Mode1 result in an absolute off-road beast that will take you to new places."

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Larger tires headline the upgrades.

Jeep

The off-road wars are heating up. This year alone, we've seen the new Ford Bronco, Rivian's R1T electric pickup truck, new off-road models of the Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, and Chevrolet Silverado, and more rugged versions of the Subaru Outback and Forester. Jeep, already deep in the game, doesn't need to do much to bolster its off-road offering, but the brand is doing just that for 2022. The automaker is offering a new Xtreme Recon Package for the Wrangler Willys SUV, which brings more capability and style to the boxy off-roader.

Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package The package can be ordered for Wrangler Willys models later this year. Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package

Beyond beefy 35-inch tires tires, the Wrangler Willys with Xtreme Recon Package gets a 1.5-inch factory lift, a 4.56:1 axle ratio, 17-inch wheels and swing gate reinforcement. Jeep says those improvements give the Willys best-in-class approach and departure angles, ground clearance, and water fording capability. Approach angle improves to 47.4 degrees, breakover angle improves to 26.7 degrees, and departure angle jumps to 40.4 degrees. The extra ride height also pushes ground clearance to 12.9 inches and the water fording depth to 33.6 inches.

The package's 35-inch tires make the Willys Jeep's third Wrangler model with hardcore rolling stock. It joins the Wrangler Rubicon and Wrangler Rubicon 392 in the 35-inch club, all of which can be equipped with the tires directly from the factory.

Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package A factory lift helps improve ground clearance and capability.Jeep

The Xtreme Recon Package can be ordered starting in October and will be available for the Jeep Wrangler Willys with 3.6-liter eTorque engine. The package adds $3,995 to the Wrangler Willys' price tag, which brings the total starting price to $40,930, including a $1,495 destination charge.

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New electric luxury vehicles

Three new Mercedes-Benz EVs we can't wait to see

Mercedes showed off its electric future at the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is going electric, and though it only recently announced its firm plans to do so, it already seems that the German automaker is moving quickly toward that goal. At the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Munich, Mercedes showed off some of its upcoming electrified products. We've seen the EQS, a flagship electric sedan, but three newcomers made an appearance at the show.


Mercedes-Benz EQB EQB will be Mercedes' electric family SUV.Mercedes-Benz


EQB

EQB is the brand's family-sized SUV, offering seating for up to seven people. A long wheelbase of 111.3 inches and adjustable second-row seating allows more interior space for people and gear. Mercedes says the EQB will offer two powertrain configurations: The EQB 300 4MATIC will get 225 horsepower and the EQB 350 4MATIC will sport 288 horsepower. A front-wheel drive configuration will go on sale later and a long-range model will follow.


Mercedes-Benz Concept EQG The EQG will eventually become the brand's electric off-roader.Mercedes-Benz


EQG

Concept EQG is a preview of the eventual electrification of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, its boxy, upper-crust off-roader. This concept is far closer to a design exercise than something we'll actually see in production, but it's an interesting demonstration, nonetheless. With 22-inch wheels, wild exterior lighting touches, and what the automaker says will be legendary off-road abilities, the EQG will be an exciting vehicle when it does make an appearance.


Mercedes-Benz EQE EQE will follow the EQS as a smaller, sportier electric sedan in 2022.Mercedes-Benz


EQE

EQE is the second car to use Mercedes' EVA2 electric architecture, following the EQS sedan. The car is currently scheduled for a staggered release in mid-2022 and will feature a more compact and sportier design than its predecessor. Mercedes says that the car will be available with either 19- or 21-inch wheels, and notes that its size is comparable to the current CLS coupe-sedan. The car offers an impressive range of up to 410 miles on a single charge from its 90kWh battery and special charging capabilities through the Mercedes me Charge network.

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