Sometimes, manufacturers like to show off their fancy new wares at the Woodward Dream Cruise. It’s largely done through static showcases with big displays for the public to gawk at. However, GM did something a little different with its GMC Hummer EV truck this year.
Instead of parking it at the Chevy and GM display area, it took to Woodward Avenue itself to show off the Hummer in pre-production form. Not only did GM drive the electric truck on the road in front of thousands, but it crab walked the whole way.
This was our first time, and probably most of the public’s first time seeing the Hummer EV crab mode in person. Judging from the crowd’s reaction (GM got its wish of everybody paying attention), folks are impressed, and maybe a bit confused at the Hummer’s sideways movements.
It’s a strange spectacle to see in person. At first, the truck appears as though it’s sliding sideways on ice in a smooth, graceful slide. That’s because even though the wheels are turned, the front of the truck is still pointing dead straight ahead. The GM employee behind the wheel of the prototype appeared to be moving forward at about 5-10 mph — it appears shockingly quick in person for the way this behemoth of a truck presents itself.
The tech making it work is rather simple in concept. GM simply took existing rear-wheel steering technology, then amplified and modified it for this type of movement. Whereas most cars with rear-wheel steering max out at around 5 degrees of lock with the rear wheels, this Hummer can turn the wheels up to 10 degrees. Turn the wheel left or right in crab mode, and the Hummer moves diagonally down the street. If you use it for its intended purpose, crab mode is meant to help you navigate the Hummer through trails it might otherwise be too big to fit through using regular steering.
In reality, we suspect most folks might use crab mode in the exact same fashion as GM did this past weekend: to impress people. And honestly, we can’t blame them. It was a seriously cool sight to see.
Crab mode in action: