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The Hummer EV could pop a sick wheelie, until the engineers removed the feature

GMC Hummer EV 1
(Image credit: GMC)

On the outside, the GMC Hummer EV looks an awful lot like a regular old Hummer. It’s a gargantuan beast that just happens to be powered by a giant battery. But on the inside, there’s a lot more the truck can do — though maybe not as much as there was prior to release.

In fact, during a recent interview with The Drive, Hummer EV chief engineer Al Oppenheiser revealed that the truck was able to pick up its front tires while in ‘Watts to Freedom’ (WTF) mode. But common sense dictated that this was not a good idea, and that particular quirk was removed.

As fun as it might be to pop the occasional wheelie in a behemoth like the Hummer, it’s obviously not a good idea to let people do it whenever they feel like it. For starters, the Hummer weighs over 9,000 lbs (or 4.5 tons), and that’s not the kind of weight you want off the ground. 

Especially when the front of the car is likely to obstruct your view of the road ahead. 

Oppenheiser told The Drive that the whole situation was an unexpected surprise. WTF mode is Hummer’s take on launch mode, which car lovers will already be familiar with. Launch mode is an assisted driving system designed to produce the maximum amount of both power and traction — all to ensure the car can accelerate from a stop as fast as possible. 

The Hummer EV can spin all four of its tires in this mode, and during the early stages, when trying to balance front and rear torque, discovered that the front tires could lift off the ground. Front wheel torque was consequently reduced to make sure this didn’t happen again.

According to Oppenheiser you could “theoretically” still tune a Hummer EV to pop a sick wheelie and impress all the other suburban dads with your epic car skills. Just “to prove that you still can.” But in the production model “functional safety reasons” mean this won’t be happening.

That’s obviously the right choice. As we’ve seen with all the people napping in the back seat with Tesla Autopilot engaged, you can’t trust 100% of drivers to use these features responsibly. And a vehicle like the Hummer could do a lot of damage if the driver lost control. Plus, let’s be honest, people would attempt a wheelie just to try and show off. 

I’ve seen enough teens doing wheelies on bikes and mopeds to figure out that wheelies are the cool thing to do. Or at least, that’s what the people doing them seem to think. I must be too old to understand why.

The Hummer EV still has plenty of other tricks up its sleeves, however. Beyond WTF mode, there’s also a ‘crab mode’ that is able to move the truck diagonally — the idea being that it slowly get you out of an awkward spot should you ever take the truck off road. The truck also offers GM’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system, a transparent ‘Infinity Roof,’ and modes that raise the truck’s clearance from the 10-inch standard.

Terrain mode adds an extra 2 inches onto that figure, while Extract mode adds another six. The idea being that it will let you drive in water up to two feet deep without issue.

First deliveries of the premium-priced GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 began at the very end of 2021. However that $105,595 monster has been sold out for months, meaning anyone hoping to pick up an electric Hummer will have to wait for the EV3X — due this fall with prices starting at just under $100,000.

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.