The United States military has had a longstanding relationship with domestic automotive manufacturers. From the original Bantam Jeep to late-80s Chevrolet trucks and Blazers, our military has used many vehicles that were variations of typical street vehicles we see on a daily basis. Some started as a military vehicle, some started as street vehicles but all of them are wicked dependable. Just earlier today, a new General Motors concepts was unveiled at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2.
GM has been pushing their advanced technologies for multiple applications, including the military. The new Colorado ZH2 no regular Colorado. The chassis was stretched, the suspension was specially modified to help the vehicle climb over and descend all sorts of terrain and 37-inch tall tires were mounted on. The biggest mod, however, is the hydrogen fuel cell system. The military intends to test the new fuel cell system for near silent operation, reduced acoustic and thermal signatures, high wheel torque at all speeds using the electric drive system and even exploring the usefulness of the water by-product the fuel cell creates.
GM collaborated with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to bring the idea from contract to concept in less than a year. “The speed with which innovative ideas can be demonstrated and assessed is why relationships with industry are so important to the Army,” said Paul Rogers, director of TARDEC. “Fuel cells have the potential to expand the capabilities of Army vehicles significantly through quiet operation, exportable power and solid torque performance, all advances that drove us to investigate this technology further.”
The Colorado ZH2 will undergo calibration testing early in 2017 before the US Army takes it for a year of field testing. Earlier this year, it was announced that GM was working with the US Navy on a fuel cell powered Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) that is currently being pool tested before being deployed.
Hydrogen fuel cells are gaining some reputable miles. GM has put more than 3 million miles on their 119-vehicle fleet of fuel cell powered vehicles recently. For more information on the new Chevy Colorado ZH2, head over to the GM Corporate Newsroom.