Drawing on a variety of design influences – kitchenware, product, bicycles – the interiors team has created a simple, durable aesthetic shot through with subtle motifs
For interior designers, the goal was to make the cabin as utilitarian as possible while raising the bar in terms of aesthetics and quality. “We felt the interior had to be very capable, rugged, and tough, while introducing a premium, luxury feel to the Hummer name,” says Christopher R. Fusco, interior design manager on the HUMMER EV. “This definitely was a challenging project, where the previous branding was resting for quite a long time and now we’re going to resurrect that and insert it into the GMC portfolio.” The result? “This interior leverages the opposition of warm and cool tones to create an environment that is truly unique, bold, but harmonious,” says colour and trim designer Tara Ellis.
Fusco says the overall interior was inspired by product design. “It’s not something that was styled; we used a lot of product influence throughout all the products that we use in our life today in terms of tech, kitchenware, different bicycles, motorcycles … all of those really influenced us to have a different way of thinking about the interior.” He points to the upper grab handle as an example. “It’s a very nice industrial design product execution; it doesn’t look like a typical grab handle but it’s still very functional and very strong to lift yourself up and hold yourself when you’re doing some serious off-roading.”
The instrument panel has an upright, angular feel, dominated by a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 13.4-inch centre touch screen, a first for GM. “The IP is a very elegant piece of architectural- inspired forms,” Fusco explains. “They’re very simple, they’re beveled, they’re chiseled, and then on the ends you have big vertical air vents that really anchor the IP and give it a sense of strength. For the center screen, we have an elegant, thin tablet execution, just like you have in your home with your iPad.”
"And as you live in it , you pull back the layers and notice details in little areas"
Beneath the central display is a secondary screen that can toggle through multiple climate control functions, saving space and reducing the amount of switches on the IP. The analogue, piano-key-style switches are finished in chrome with a highly textured pattern.
The centre console houses the shifter and a circular switch that controls the HUMMER EV’s ride modes, both of which also feature textured elements. “There’s a lot of fine ribbing strategically placed throughout the interior,” Fusco says. “And as you live in it and experience the interior more and more, you kind of pull back the layers and notice details in little areas. The team spent a lot of time placing those details.”
The floor console was another element inspired by architecture, laid out in a linear and organized fashion. Thanks to the flat floor enabled by the electric architecture, designers had space to create a hollow, pass-through storage area beneath. “The floor console is like a bridge that cantilevers over all this open space, very purposefully and very honestly integrating into the instrument panel on the end. There’s no organic integration of forms in this interior, they’re very true and honest, but they still speak to one another regardless of how the intersection is,” Fusco says.
In keeping with the space theme, the door panels of the HUMMER EV were inspired by Delta Wing jets, “which is synonymous with some NASA vehicles, so it really shows a sense of movement,” Fusco explains. And a map of the moon’s Sea of Tranquility, the landing site of Apollo 11 in 1969, is etched on the metal speaker grilles, as well as beneath the floor console and on the rubber floor. The dead pedal of the prototype we saw in Los Angeles was moulded in the shape of Neil Armstrong’s boot print, but we’re told that cheeky detail won’t make it onto the production vehicle.
And about that floor: “One of the ways we tried to bring premium attributes to the interior was the flooring,” Fusco tells us. “We tried to emulate the Pirelli rubber flooring that’s synonymous with European upscale commercial and home floors.” Co-developed with the engineering team, the removable flooring is highly tailored to the architecture of the vehicle and is washable for easy cleanup after off-roading. Removable inserts in the driver, passenger, and rear area can be swapped out for carpeting for more a more plush, urban feel.
The removable roof necessitated an aesthetic harmony between the exterior and interior design, which Fusco believes the team achieved. “It really opens up the whole interior and gives you a chance to experience all the sounds of nature,” he says. “Because it’s an electric vehicle it’s super quiet, so that’s a very unique experience.” In addition to the four removable glass panels, a center “i-bar” on the roof that intersects the driver and front passenger is removable and stores neatly under the rear seats.
As with the exterior, the HUMMER EV interior will launch in one colour theme, called Lunar Horizon. “One of the first things that really strikes you and hits you pretty hard is this high-contrast interior,” Fusco says. “There’s a lot of detail sprinkled throughout the interior; it’s designed just a little different in every area to pull all of the details together.” Ellis adds, “Our goal was to provide a strategy that embodies the look and feel of modern adventure. Our colors and materiality are technical in feel and utilitarian in execution. It’s got really technical graining on our cut-and-sew and we have our color-blocking in there, which we’re super excited about.”
"Our goal was to embody the look and feel of
"Our goal was to embody the look and feel of modern adventure"
Colour and trim designer, Liz Wilkins, explains that the high-contrast concept came to the team after looking through photos of rovers and space vehicles, along with images of the glowing moon against the blackness of space. “Just having that lunar exploration being the main source of our inspiration and always coming back to that and being true to our customer was something that was really important for us,” she says. “We chose grey and jet black because we really wanted to highlight the architecture of the interior. The lighter colour emphasizes the soft trim and brings the customer’s eyes throughout the horizon line of the vehicle and really lets them focus in on these unique aspects of the interior. The black really grounded it and allowed for a foundation to the interior while keeping it very durable and functional and highlighting our advanced technology.” In addition, all of the lighter-coloured areas in the interior, including on the seats, are made from soft-touch materials.
The colour blocking is set off by décor accents in a tech bronze metallic finish, inspired by high-performance vehicles and high-end motorcycles. “We didn’t want chrome or anything that would be too ostentatious,” Zak tells us. “We wanted to try something that was new and fresh.” Designers used the bronze trim in smaller areas on the doors, floor console, and instrument panel, as well as in HUMMER EV logos on the seats. “It’s strategically placed in areas just enough to make those elements very rich and very premium looking,” Fusco says. Wilkins expounds, “The tech bronze finish was something really exciting for us to be able to figure out as well as a challenge. We wanted it to be a focal point of the interior, but we also wanted it to be a touch point for the customer. So we had to figure out how to get it onto the components of the knobs and the buttons to make sure it would look great there, as well as on the exterior, like the wheels. It was about making sure we could take one finish and apply it throughout the whole vehicle instead of feeling like each separate area got a unique treatment.”
While designers won’t yet talk specifics about the fabrics and treatments slated for the production car, Zak did reveal, “There are no animal products on the interiors, which really speaks to the direction GM is going toward, moving from traditional leathers to and more sustainable materials.” Wilkins adds that choosing not to use the typical animal grain usually found in truck segments allowed the team to enhance the technical, precision-type of accents that are true to the GMC brand. “We really wanted it to feel advanced; we wanted to highlight the technology pieces, and we wanted it to feel very futuristic, so that’s where you start to see more of this precision technical grain on soft trim, and having that be a real accent piece for the vehicle.” And in line with the Hummer’s utilitarian nature, Wilkins says the fabrics will be durable and easy to clean. “With the lighter color it can be a concern to the customer, but it’s very easy to wipe the seat, and we chose all of the finishes to make sure it’s not going to be a burden.” she says.
Another recurring theme, also echoed in the exterior, is the letter H (for Hummer, of course). It can be found in obvious places such as on the steering wheel and seats, but also in more subtle ways, such as on the brake and accelerator pedals. The variation in the letter’s design was completely intentional. “We worked closely with our branding team and also interior design to find locations for these that were appropriate, and to make sure that when this logo came up in different areas, it wasn’t exactly the same each time,” Wilkins says. “We worked to make sure that it looks really precise and technical on the finishes that we chose, without feeling too repetitious.”
The team isn’t yet revealing details about any future trims or colour schemes, but one can assume the lineup will eventually expand beyond Edition 1. Meanwhile, Wilkins says it was refreshing for the team to work on a single theme. “Branching out from our traditional trim walkups freed us up in a way where we could be more creative,” she says. “That was a way for all the design team to really rally around a theme and get excited about it, and it translated into a lot of cool details, from the Easter eggs to the way that we approach our décor finishes. We can at times get bogged down in the complexity of things, but really paring it down in this simplistic form gives the customer exactly what they want in terms of capability and aesthetics.”
"Branching out from our traditional trim walkups freed us up so we could be more creative"
Interior designers also echo the collaborative way all the teams developed the vehicle. “Having this holistic team approach was great,” Wilkins admits. “With all of our vehicles we try to have a close connection with all parts of the studio, but this was different since the timeline was moving so rapidly. We wanted it to be this consistent story from the exterior to the interior, and that entails everybody being on their A-game communicating with each other. It was something that from the beginning had very high energy in the studio and a lot of excitement about.”