No vehicle quite represents our addiction to oil, quite like the H1 Hummer. An agent of American foreign policy in military vehicle guise and ridiculously heavy on fuel as a civilian private transport solution, one could never imagine driving the H1 with a clear CO2 conscience.
A man who is given to driving heavy metal, but also has a notable environmental conscience, is that great Austro-American, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The greatest actor to never conquer standard English and former governor of California is a Hummer H1 owner and now he can drive it all over the Sunshine state with all the moral superiority of a Tesla acolyte.
How? Well, because some very clever Austrian friends of Arnie have electrified his H1. The 6.5-litre V8 diesel has been replaced with a battery pack and electric motor, at no cost to performance. Kreisel Electric are the people involved and they’re one of the world’s leading innovators in the electric automotive propulsion scene, having done complex electric vehicle conversions for VW and Porsche.
In an amazingly short timeframe, a mere two months, Kreisel’s engineers and technicians managed to craft batteries capable of 100kWh capacity for both of the Hummer’s axles, ensuring it retained its famed off-road ability. Performance is excellent too, with a peak system output of 360kW, sufficient to shame many ‘performance’ SUVs and good enough to make sure Arnie’s never embarrassingly left behind, trailing traffic.
Range? That’s deeply impressive too, for a vehicle which weighs 3.3t. Kreisel claims that its Hummer electric should manage 300km between recharges. Considering it has more than twice the power of a diesel V8 H1, and not much less range, it’s a total win for the Terminator and illustrates that retrofitting electric power might enable many iconic vehicles to be sustainable in a zero emissions future.
“Kreisel Electric electrified my G-class last winter, and now a Hummer,” commented Schwarzenegger. “If Kreisel keeps it up at this pace, I will soon be able to fly [to Austria] from LA in an electric airplane.”
Tesla might be claiming all the headlines, but with Kreisel now having moved into a new, larger, R&D facility in Rainbach, Austria, this could very well be the company to watch in a future where electrification joint ventures might become the only sustainable reality for many established automotive brands.