It's basically quadrasteer on steroids.
Scores of GM employees took to social media in unison last week to generate hype for a new feature coming to the GMC Hummer EV dubbed "Crab Mode", leaving us to speculate as to what, exactly, this feature is. We finally have something in the way of an answer, thanks to a new teaser video from the Detroit-based automaker.
The video provides a tightly cropped shot of the forthcoming Hummer's wheels with Crab Mode engaged and the steering wheel turned to the right, showing the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the fronts, and allowing the Hummer to strafe diagonally off to the right without the body actually turning at all. Cool.
The feature is vaguely reminiscent of GM's "Quadrasteer" active four-wheel steering system from the early 2000s. That system was a flop, selling for just four years on GM's full-size pickup trucks before being axed, although it served as a precursor to many of the four-wheel steering systems available today.
Quadrasteer knew just two tricks: turning the rear wheels opposite the fronts at low speeds to shrink the turning circle and turning them in the same direction at higher speeds to improve stability. Crab Mode adds a third move to its repertoire: turning all four wheels in the same direction at low speeds to sort of crab-walk forward along a diagonal.
If there's any group of buyers with whom Crab Mode might be a hit, it's with off-road enthusiasts, who will eagerly take all the extra maneuverability they can get for tackling tough terrain. The GMC Hummer is being developed as a bona fide capable off-roader, much like its gas- and diesel-powered forebears, as future electric trucks like the Rivian R1T and Tesla Cybertruck look to join the fray.
The GMC Hummer starts production before the end of 2021, offering a range of powertrains with one, two, or three electric motors, and an advanced, next-generation "Ultium" battery pack providing an expected range of around 400 miles or so. GM has just announced an official reveal date - Sunday, October 20, 2020 - at which point the automaker will also start accepting reservations.