Analysis: What's the Opposite of Reducing Your Carbon Footprint?

Jo Borras
by Jo Borras

Why are we switching to electric cars? I mean, I’m not talking about the need to “do better” when it comes to Mother Earth and the baby kangaroos — even Randy Newman wouldn’t bomb the baby kangaroos — but are EVs and billions spent to lower prices and build chargers for the things really going to make the world better if people just look at them as a way to have their cakes and eat them, too? To put it another way, are you really reducing your carbon footprint behind the wheel of a 9,046 lb. GMC Hummer pickup?

That’s right, kids. The upcoming all-electric Hummer will tip the scales at more than 4.5 tons — and that’s “just” the pickup. The SUV will probably weigh more since it’ll be hauling around more glass, seats, and carpets than the pickup. Despite having enough mass to generate its own gravity, the GMC-badged truck can rocket to 60 mph in under 4 seconds, and effectively crush its way through untouched, virgin wilderness in a manner worthy of its heritage as an Army man cosplay favorite (Punisher window sticker not included).

It’s almost enough to make me throw my hands up and say, “Why bother!?” And that, dear B&B, led me to ask myself the question: What would I drive if I just didn’t give a f***?

LET’S STOP PRETENDING WE’RE A PRACTICAL PEOPLE

Efficiency has never been a hot seller in America – a fact that utterly doomed the “first generation” of modern EVs like the Nissan Leaf and tadpole-y Aptera to the also-ran status while the $100k Tesla Model S broke sales records by drag racing Hellcats on YouTube. Similarly, Americans buy literally millions of trucks every year. Guns, too, but this isn’t a political thing, it’s just a statement on America’s buying habits.

We buy that stuff for low-percent use cases. We MIGHT need a gun, so we buy a gun. We MIGHT need a truck, so we buy a truck. That’s America. Do you want to sell to America? Create a compelling 1 percent use case for your premium-priced product, and watch everyone buy it. Think I’m wrong? If you’re old enough to remember “needing” to buy a cell phone “for emergencies”, you know I’m right.

Let’s stop pretending, then, that we want to buy something for the good of someone else or that our needs aren’t handily met by a Corolla or Civic, and just embrace the wretched excess that is the MegaRexx MegaRaptor.

YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT NEED A MEGARAPTOR

If you’re reading this as an American, you might be tempted to think of a small-percent use case whose needs could be met by a MegaRaptor. If you come up with one, then you’re better than me. Even so, it’s hard to not find something strangely compelling in whatever mental disorder led these guys to take a full-sized Ford SuperDuty pickup, lift it, beef up the suspension, then fit it with an aggressively-styled bodykit that’s a full 18 inches wider than stock — and then have the audacity to try and sell the thing.

They’ve sold a few, too — whether that’s to their credit or something that will eventually be used against them in an EPA court hearing remains to be seen.

I imagine a massively powerful, nearly impossibly heavy truck like the MegaRaptor would be the most – uh, whatever the opposite of “green” car might be. Doubly so with the owner rollin’ coal down the highway at 80 mph with single-digit mpg numbers.

Remember that 9,046 lb. of weight the new Hummer will be pulling around? According to Google, the heaviest Ford F-Series F350 Crew Cab Dually weighs in at “just” 7,737 lbs. Even assuming the “worst case” scenario here, it’s hard to imagine the MegaTruxx kit adds 1,300-plus lbs. to the big truck.

Start your MegaRaptor build with the lightest F-350, and your finished ride will still weigh in at more than 3,000 lbs. less than the electrified GMC (3,168 lbs. by my math). There’s no way that balances out with the GMC still being the green choice, does it?

HAVING YOUR CAKE AND EATING IT, TOO

As ridiculous as it sounds, it would appear that GMC’s big Hummer actually is significantly more energy-efficient than the MegaRaptor, despite the weight penalty. Assuming GM’s claims about the Hummer’s efficiency are true, the big truck delivers 1.7 miles of driving range for every kWh of energy use. According to this handy-dandy conversion calculator I found online (And, like, everything on the internet is true, right?), that works out to more than 57 MPGe.

That seems pretty good. I mean – you’re not getting 57 mpg in the MegaRaptor, that’s for damn sure. And, yes, there is more to measuring the carbon impact of a vehicle than just the simple energy efficiency or fuel economy of the thing, but as far as out-of-context statistics go it’s a pretty compelling one.

I don’t really know what to make of that, to be honest. I fully expected the Hummer to be measurably worse than the MegaRaptor, energy-wise, and expected to point a big-ol’ accusatory finger at GM for greenwashing its heaviest product this size of a TopKick, but I can’t do that today. Even the old bogeyman of “you’ll need coal to make all that electricity” has been totally debunked — we’re making more electricity than ever, using less coal than ever, and that’s according to Trump’s 2020 administration.

Luckily, I don’t have to stay confused for long. You’re the Best and Brightest, surely you can look at a 9,000-plus lb. SUV and make it worse for the planet than a 5,000 lb. pickup, right? You can make it make sense.

I really hope you can, anyway – because the Hummer is coming to your street, soon, and the over-manicured fingers clutching the wheel while distractedly yelling at their spoiled, over-privileged children in the back seat are going to run you down with more than 9,000 lbs. of electrified steel. And, if they have more than a 3 count, they’ll do so at more than 60 mph, feeling smug in their “environmental consciousness” the entire time.

Live in fear, people. Live in fear.

[Images: GMC]

Jo Borras
Jo Borras

I've been in and around the auto industry since 1997, and have written for a number of well-known outlets like Cleantechnica, the Truth About Cars, Popular Mechanics, and more. You can also find me talking EVs with Matt Teske and Chris DeMorro on the Electrify Expo Podcast, writing about Swedish cars on my Volvo fan site, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

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  • BSttac BSttac on Dec 20, 2021

    10,000lbs with poor brakes and rapid acceleration creates a recipe for disastrous car accidents. Given that Hummers are never driven by sane people this will be a weapon on the road. Not looking forward to it

    • Kcflyer Kcflyer on Dec 20, 2021

      Just wait until these 5 ton status symbols start driving on wet, icy or snow packed roads. The owners will likely not have any clue how much inertia they are trying to stop with the same friction they had in their previous ride that weighed thousands of pounds less. Gonna be a bad experience for those they hit.

  • IBx1 IBx1 on Dec 20, 2021

    Throw out "MPGe," which is some garbage based on power plant emissions, and just give us miles per kWh. I pay per kWh just like I pay per gallon of gas, and both kWh and gas get turned into some measure of driving range.

  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.
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