Vehicles have been getting heavier for years, but EVs have pushed the limit. Even small electric vehicles weigh significantly more than their gas-powered counterparts, and a few models smash the scales with unbelievable curb weights. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) usually tests vehicles for their crash safety, but ultra-heavy EVs have led it to test its equipment for readiness.
The organization released a video to explain its equipment testing process. The presenters note that IIHS is concerned about current and upcoming EV models that could weigh as much as 9,500 pounds. They don’t explicitly state that they’re talking about the GMC Hummer EV, but it’s no secret that the massive vehicle is pushing the boundaries of road-legal passenger vehicle weights.
Despite having more cameras and safety tech than the Pentagon, the Hummer is so heavy that Europeans may need a commercial license to drive it. Earlier this year, Jalopnik reported that the EV’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) makes it ineligible to be driven without a CDL, even unloaded. American roads may be more accommodating to larger vehicles, but there’s no getting around the safety issue posed by having such a heavyweight next to much smaller cars in traffic.
The Hummer’s heavy, but it’s far from the only high-BMI EV. The Rivian R1T, which is briefly shown in the video, weighs more than 7,000 pounds. Its contemporary, the Ford F-150 Lightning, weighs more than 6,000 pounds. Both dwarf traditional full-size pickups like the standard F-150, which tops out at under 6,000 pounds. The organization was unsure if its testing propulsion system could handle vehicles that heavy, noting that crash tests are performed by pulling a vehicle across the crash area instead of having them drive under their own power.
Torture-testing equipment involved using a beat-up Ford truck with concrete weights stuffed in the back. Crash testing happens at 40 mph, so the equipment needed to pull the 9,500-pound test F-150 down the 600-foot runway. The test was successful, and the tow system could get the truck up to speed without issue. The truck, on the other hand, met its end violently as the enormous weight smashed into the cab on impact.