The all-new Hummer EV aims to rewrite the rulebook on what an off-roader should be, replacing internal combustion with an advanced all-electric powertrain. By comparison, the Hummer H1 featured here is on a similar mission, running a hybrid powerplant that combos batteries and biodiesel with the aim of exploring the South Pole without using a drop of fossil fuel.
Captured on display at the recently reopened Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, this extensively modified Hummer H1 is the product of the Zero South project and Drive Around the World non-profit organization.
“In the harshest, most unforgiving environment on earth, a team of visionaries will travel more than 1,000 miles through the most remote and inhospitable terrain this planet has to offer, using two uniquely modified hybrid-electric Polar Traverse Vehicles (PTVs),” Zero South explains on its website.
This particular Hummer H1 is one of those hybrid-electric PTVs, and comes equipped with a swath of heavy-duty equipment to help it cover the unforgiving Antarctic terrain. Dubbed “Tuezday” (volunteers built this particular machine on a weekly basis every Tuesday), the Zero South team started with a 1998 Hummer H1, and retained the original chassis, body, and parts of the driveline. However, the axles, differentials, geared hubs, suspension, and steering were upgraded with components pulled from a 12,100 GVW High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or Humvee for short).
The modified Hummer H1 PTV also uses ambulance hardtops from the military-spec HMMWV, with extensive insulation to protect against extreme temperatures. Further thermal systems and climate controls were added, with ESPAR glycol heaters to keep the electric and mechanical bits safe from negative-60-degree weather.
The Hummer H1 PTV’s powertrain consists of two 150-kW UQM electric motors, one for the front differential pinion, and another for the rear differential, while a third UQM motor is connected to the flywheel of a six-cylinder turbodiesel powerplant. The battery system includes two packs in series with four 96-volt lithium-ion modules per pack, which is good for a total of 387 volts and a stored capacity of 24 kWh. The setup is classified as a series hybrid, with the diesel engine running on renewable aviation biofuel called Synthetic Paraffin Kerosene.
Power is put to the ice by way of Mattracks front and rear. Performance for the upgraded Hummer 1 PTV includes a max speed of 45 mph on the tracks, or 93 mph on tires, with an estimated max range of 628 miles in hybrid mode, and 32 miles running on electric power alone.
The Zero South team brought this hybrid Hummer H1 exploration machine to Alaska in 2016 for a 27-day testing expedition. Unfortunately, it looks as though the PTVs never made it to Antartica, but either way, the build is impressive, and just goes to show what’s possible with ingenuity and clever engineering.
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