Wednesday's energy & environment stories

What we're driving: 2022 GMC Hummer EV

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1. Photo: GM

At $112,595, the 2022 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 pickup truck is the epitome of a "halo" vehicle for General Motors.

  • It's an over-the-top technology showcase for GM's electric vehicle ambitions, even if few people will actually own this limited edition supertruck.

Why it matters: The market for electric pickups is about to explode, and the Hummer EV, along with Rivian's R1T, are first out of the gate.

The big picture: Hummer, known for its gas-guzzling behemoth SUVs, is making a comeback as a zero-emissions sub-brand under the GMC label.

  • The Hummer truck is the first of more than 30 battery-electric models — including a Hummer SUV — that GM will introduce by 2025. All are based on the automaker's new Ultium battery architecture.
  • GM says it is "sold out" of the limited run for the pricey Edition 1; less expensive versions are still a long way off.
  • A $100,000 version comes in fall 2022, followed by a $90,000 model in spring 2023. The lowest-priced version, at $80,000, won't be available until spring 2024.
  • Production of the Edition 1 is just starting, but I got to drive a near-final prototype recently in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan — hardly the extreme off-road environment it was designed to tackle.

Still, the technology on this truck will blow you away.

  • It has an estimated 1,000 horsepower, a range of 350 miles per charge, and goes 0-60 mph in 3 seconds.
  • The Hummer EV can actually drive sideways, thanks to its four-wheel steering and a feature called CrabWalk.
  • The adjustable air suspension can lower the truck 3½ inches, or raise it as much as 6 inches.
  • Underbody cameras — with windshield wipers! — on each wheel let drivers see exactly what's happening under the truck.

One feature in the Hummer that's likely to permeate all of GM's vehicles is an enhanced version of Super Cruise, GM's hands-free assisted-driving system.

  • With the Hummer EV, Super Cruise is introducing automatic lane-changing capability.
  • It worked perfectly during my test drive, identifying an opening in traffic and then carefully navigating around slower-moving cars.
  • Tesla already has this feature in its cars, but safety advocates say GM's technology is better because it has a driver-monitoring system to ensure that drivers are paying attention.

The bottom line: The GMC Hummer EV is too extreme for most people's tastes, but its mission is to excite people about the potential of electric vehicles.

Chile's future government will fall on a political extreme

A voter casts her ballot during national elections on Nov. 21, 2021 in Arica, Chile. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Chile's centrist candidates were completely shut out in Sunday's first-round vote, which now heads to a runoff election between a far-right and a far-left candidate.

Why it matters: The outcome of the second round of voting on Dec. 19 will have repercussions for an increasingly polarized Chile and how the country's economy, which is supported by key natural resources such as copper, is handled.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 23, 2021 - Technology

GM plunges into electric marine transport

Photo courtesy of Pure Watercraft

General Motors' expanding electric vehicles' business left dry land Monday when the auto giant announced it's acquiring a 25% stake in the electric boating company Pure Watercraft.

Why it matters: "The investment in Pure Watercraft represents the first time GM will commercialize all-electric marine products and applications," Mark Lubin, a GM spokesman, tells Axios.

What's next for the Fed on climate change

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Getty Images photos: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP and Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket

The Federal Reserve is poised to increase its climate focus even as President Biden's nomination of Chairman Jerome Powell to a second term disappointed advocates of policies to tilt the economy away from fossil fuels.

Catch up fast: Biden on Monday announced Powell's nod and said he's tapping Lael Brainard — a Fed board member who's outspoken on climate — as vice chair.

U.S. to release 50 million barrels of oil from strategic reserve

Biden speaking from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 22. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden directed the Department of Energy on Tuesday to release 50 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help lower fuel prices.

Why it matters: It's the Biden administration's most direct effort yet to tamp down on high gasoline prices that have become a political headache for the White House amid wider inflation.

British Columbia bracing for "parade of storms" amid flood recovery

Satellite images taken last Friday of flooding in Sumas Prairie to the east of Abbotsford in British Columbia, Canada, near the border with the U.S. Photo: Maxar Technologies

Canadian officials warn a "parade of storms" is set to pummel British Columbia with more heavy rains this week.

Why it matters: The province is still reeling from last week's "atmospheric river event" that hit the Pacific Northwest, triggering record rainfall, extensive flooding and mudslides. The deadly storm displaced thousands of people, CBC News notes.