Last Thursday, lead HUMMER designer Carl Zipfel took an hour out of his day for a chat on GMnext.com. We took him up on the opportunity – check out some of the highlights below:
HummerGuy.net: Happy Valentine’s day, Carl. You met your wife during a moto-cross event – what do two off-road enthusiasts do for Valentine’s day – anything different?
Carl Zipfel: Not much different in the cold Michigan winters. I have get flowers on the way home.
Carl Zipfel: We have so much snow, I am off-roading just getting around these days.
HummerGuy.net: Don’t forget, or it will be even colder when you get home. It says in your bio that you’re leaving your mark on the next generation H2 – what can you tell us about that vehicle?
Carl Zipfel: I can’t get specific on H2 but we have a lot going on strategically for the entire portfolio. It was good to hang out with you in Chicago. What did you think of H3T?
HummerGuy.net: I like the H3T – and can’t wait to drive one. I was impressed that even with the bed, you were able to keep the great departure angle.
Carl Zipfel: Thanks, Starting with H3 made it easy to continue with great off-road metrics.
Carl Zipfel: The prototypes did really well at Rubicon and Moab, and Swamp Lake. More testing happening next week at Moab.
HummerGuy.net: Everyone was impressed with the HX – especially the design – where do you pull inspiration from for the HUMMER brand?
Carl Zipfel: The inspiration really comes from a variety of places/things. With all the designers involved from my team, there are many different ideas being inspired by many things. Many of us on the team are looking at all off-road vehicles, ATV’s, bikes, racing vehicles, purpose built rock-crawlers and then we also are looking at non off-road things like architecture, aircraft, athletic equipment, etc.. Specific to HX we had Robbie Gordon’s Paris to Dakar truck in the studio for a while so we took advantage of that.
C. Zipfel Moderator: Another interesting fact is that the HUMMER designers spend several days each year at the AM General HUMMER Driving Academy. Not only do they drive the current gen vehicles on the course, they talk to the instructors and gather ideas on how to improve current and future gen vehicles.
HummerGuy.net: Unfortunately, it looks like his Dakar truck got more action in your studio than at the race.
Carl Zipfel: Yeah, Kind of disappointing but I was told the vehicles are still there waiting to race the Central European Rally. Robbie will also race an H3 bodied SCORE trophy truck this summer.
Another user asked about the future of diesel engines in HUMMERs – here was the response:
Carl Zipfel: We view diesels as a key ingredient for Hummer and off-roading in general . We have a global small diesel in our H3 coming soon and have many studies underway for a U.S. 50 state diesels
Cool, I had other things going on. Glad I made it for the HX chat though.
Thanks Brian for your Question to Carl about Diesels in Hummers.
Hopefully Carl’s term “small” is in US of A terms. I think a modern technology Gutsy Diesel as an option in a H3 or H3T (Alpha as well) would be a step in the right direction. Comfort and performance with fuel economy (a Barrel of crude oil reaching a record high today) plus big towing capacity (A 4wd Nissan Diesel 4 door pickup in Australia has a 6600lb tow rating) . Why should the Leader of the pack only be A V8 Gasoline powered unit. The F250 is an example for that in Australia at least. Give the Europeans a four cylinder option where its warranted. Dont get me wrong im loving what ive seen so far of the H3 and H3T but im diesel thru and thru, a low horsepower diesel unit will kill it stone dead for me and many others i believe. No news on transmission detail yet im guessing? cheers murray