THE United States Army is to be involved in the development and testing of a hydrogen fuel cell Chevrolet pick-up truck, which is being produced by General Motors.
The Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 concept is an electric truck powered by hydrogen fuel-cells, and is based on a modified version of the standard Colorado chassis, which underpins the brand’s best-selling truck in its domestic market.
The hydrogen fuel cells convert hydrogen into electricity and provide longer range and endurance than battery power. Recharging takes minutes and the truck can run on renewable hydrogen from wind and biomass, with water vapour as the only exhaust emission.
Standing at 6ft 6in tall and 7ft wide, the Colorado ZH2 rides on 37-inch wheels and is designed for off-road applications. It has been developed by GM in conjunction with the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Centre (TARDEC), and real-world testing is set to begin next year.
TARDEC director Paul Rogers said: “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.”
“Over the next year, we expect to learn from the Army the limits of what a fuel cell propulsion system can do when really put to the test.”
The Colorado ZH2 concept also features an Exportable Power Take-Off unit that allows the fuel cell to power activity away from the vehicle, such as remote locations where electric power may otherwise not be available.
The Colorado ZH2 was assembled at GM’s Advanced Vehicle Integration facility in Warren, Michigan, and calibration testing will continue until early 2017 at GM’s Milford Proving Ground in the same state.
GM has been developing hydrogen fuel cells since the late 1990s and has invested nearly US$3 billion into the technology. It also has a long-term agreement with Honda Motor Company to co-develop a fuel-cell system, hydrogen storage technologies and a broader infrastructure for the fuel.