GMC’s first electric vehicle, the Hummer EV, is built at General Motors’ new Factory Zero assembly plant in Detroit-Hamtramck, Mich., but it also has a cool Canadian connection.
It was rigorously tested at one of GM’s most remote cold weather facilities in Kapuskasing, Ont., more than 800 kilometres north of Toronto.
“GM is the only manufacturer in North America that owns its own cold-weather proving facility and validates to the extent that we do,” said Josh Walton, operations leader at GM’s Kapuskasing Proving Grounds.
The cold weather test facility, which opened in 1973, spans 272 acres and includes a four-kilometre test track, a 13-vehicle garage, a battery lab, and two vehicle testing lines.
The Hummer EV pickup was put through its paces at the facility last November in the snow and frigid temperatures - minus 25 degrees Celsius at that time. Working around the clock, 24/7, the test cycle lasts 12 weeks, which is equivalent to two years of customer cold weather driving, according to Walton. Dozens of engineers and staff drivers tested everything from the windows, to make sure they roll down in the deep freeze, to the finishes and stitching on the dash, to one of the most important features on the EV, the Hummer’s high voltage Ultium battery.