The GMC EV HUMMER EarthCruiser’s Journey to Chicago

Share this Post:

Everyone was sceptical…

Yes, it isn’t easy. Yes, it takes planning, and yes, there is a lot of downtime, but Lance and I drove our EarthCruiser Hummer EV from Bend to Chicago for the Chicago Auto Show. Frankly, the experience was pretty good, and I, too, had been skeptical.

We were asked by the GMC dealers to attend the show and be on the GMC stand. We thought what a good time to get some real-life experience in an EV and essentially ‘practice what we preach.’ So, we started doing our research and plotting our route. We knew that the Hummer had a J1772 charger outlet and at full charge supposedly a 329 mile range. So we started with Plug Share, which allowed us to create a route and see available J1772 chargers along the way, and we determined that we’d try to stay way under the max range as we had no real data to back it up. Then we looked at the GMC app and cross-referenced their route with our PlugShare route and charging locations. Ok, we felt pretty good, and off we set. First stop Burns, OR, where there is a 65kwh charger at the Chamber of Commerce. Hooked up, went to lunch came back two hours later. Charging veryyyyyy slowly that final 20%. Not a great first impression. Part of our plan was to go to GM dealers along the way, show them the EarthCruiser Hummer, gauge interest, and use their chargers. After all, they were GM dealers, so we thought they’d have good charging. Boise next stop, GM dealer. It was nearly closing time, found the charger, plugged in, talked to everyone there–interest level high– charging, however, may as well have been a trickle charger. OK, let’s be smart: book a hotel with a charger. Checked in, plugged in, and guess what, its a 6kwh charger, which will fill us up in 2 days!!!! At this rate, we’ll never make it in time for the show.

From that moment on, we decided only the big 350kwh chargers would do, and fortunately, we found one in Boise. Electrify America has 50, 150, and 350 kWh chargers as well as CHAdeMO chargers, and they have a pretty good network. Rumor has it that Electrify America came out of the recent VW debacle. We then had a new strategy. The Electrify America chargers are usually at Walmarts or grocery stores. There’s not very much to do around them, so they definitely are a bit of a time suck. By this point we were pretty sure our real range was somewhere between 280–285 miles with the EarthCruiser camper and staying just below 70 mph. So, we had a new plan and mission. Stop frequently, charge to 80%, and keep going. Only charge to 100% 1x/day, preferably in the evening if possible. And we made it to Chicago, and the show, on schedule.

On the way back, Lance was on his own. But this time, he had a Tesla charger adapter, which meant that he could stop at hotels and charge overnight. Not every Tesla charger worked, but they are changing that so Tesla chargers will be available to more people and more places. Although this didn’t cut the time to get home due to blowing headwinds, uphill climbs, and freezing temperatures, which changed range yet again, he was still able to make it and enjoy his trip.

In all, I think there is a place for EVs in the world, and if you have time to plan, they provide a great, quiet, emission-free way to travel.

find more inspiration

More Articles