Chevrolet Reveals Hydrogen Fuel Cell Colorado ZH2 at Military Expo
U.S. Army Will Put Truck into Service Next Year
General Motors and the United States Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) showed the fruits of their extensive labors today at the fall meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army. Built on a stretched version of the civilian Colorado pickup’s platform, the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 is a hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle that will be pressed into military service next year.
Nearly 7 feet tall and more than 7 feet wide, the Colorado ZH2 has an imposing stance highlighted by massive 37-inch tires. A reinforced chassis and specially modified suspension provide robust performance in a wide variety of terrain, according to General Motors. In spite of the added capability, the ZH2’s primary function is to serve as a testbed for hydrogen’s viability in the military as a propulsion method.
Potential benefits to the fuel are many, including nearly silent operation since the hydrogen powers electric motors, reduced thermal signatures compared to internal combustion engines, and instant torque thanks to the aforementioned electrified powertrain. Furthermore, since the primary byproduct of hydrogen fuel cells is water, operating the Colorado ZH2 is environmentally friendly and provides an added source of water for extended operations in desert environments.
Furthermore, the fuel cell features an exportable power take-off (EPTO) that allows the Colorado to power activity away from the vehicle. In essence, this turns the ZH¬2 into a mobile power generator in places where electric power is unavailable or unreasonable.
GM and TARDEC first announced their collaboration on the then-unnamed Colorado ZH2 a year ago. Both entities have fuel cell research facilities just 20 miles apart from one another in Michigan, and the pickup marks the second collaboration this year between GM and the military. In June, the U.S. Navy unveiled a submarine drone powered by a similar GM-designed fuel cell, which the company says demonstrates the powerplant’s flexibility in a variety of situations.
The Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 will continue to undergo calibration and testing at GM’s proving grounds until next year, at which point it will be turned over to the Army for a year of field testing.
Source: General Motors