GM, U.S. Army Unveil Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 Fuel Cell Truck

GM and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) revealed the jointly developed Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 today. The concept is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and was intended to explore hydrogen technology for military applications.

The modified Colorado rides on 37-inch tires and stands at more than 6.5 feet tall. The truck is also more than 7 feet wide and is built on a stretched, reinforced Colorado chassis. The truck features a specially modified suspension that will help it handle the rugged terrain of the extreme field tests scheduled for next year. Those tests will determine hydrogen-powered vehicles' viability on the battlefield.

The Colorado ZH2 uses an Exportable Power Take-Off (EPTO) unit that can be detached to provide electricity in remote areas where power would otherwise be unavailable. One benefit a fuel cell offers over a traditional generator is its near-silent operation. Another is that water, a precious commodity in the field, is produced as a fuel cell's only emission. The trials will evaluate the ZH2 for its quietness, reduced thermal signature, electric wheel torque at all speeds, fuel consumption and range, and water production capabilities.

Most of the Colorado ZH2 was assembled at GM's Advanced Vehicle Integration center in Warren, Mich. Vehicle calibration then began at Milford Proving Ground, and will continue into 2017. After calibration is concluded, TARDEC will take over for field trials. GM says its 119-vehicle hydrogen test fleet has racked up 3.1 million miles on fuel cell power. We'll find out whether or not fuel cells will work for the military sometime next year.

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