The Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, a new off-road-capable, fuel-cell-powered electric vehicle, was revealed today at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army.
Standing more than 6.5 feet tall and more than 7 feet wide, the Colorado ZH2 was built on a stretched midsize pickup chassis. The vehicle features 37-inch tires, a specially modified suspension that helps it climb over and descend a variety of terrain, and an Exportable Power Take-Off unit that allows the fuel cell to power activity away from the vehicle.
GM and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren collaborated to develop the Colorado ZH2 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,” says Paul Rogers, director of the 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.”
Starting next year, the Army will test the vehicle in extreme field conditions to evaluate it for near-silent operation enabling silent watch capability, reduced acoustic and thermal signatures, high wheel torque at all speeds via electric drive, low fuel consumption across operation range, and water by-product for field uses.
GM and the center have fuel cell development laboratories located 20 miles apart in southeast Michigan. Most of the Colorado ZH2 was assembled in GM’s Advanced Vehicle Integration facility in Warren. Calibration testing at GM’s Milford Proving Ground in Milford Township will continue into early 2017, before the vehicle is turned over to the Army for testing.
The Colorado ZH2 contract is GM’s second vehicle development with a U.S military branch announced this year. In June, the U.S. Navy unveiled a GM fuel cell-powered Unmanned Undersea Vehicle that is currently in pool testing. GM has accumulated 3.1 million miles of hydrogen fuel cell testing via Project Driveway, a 119-vehicle fleet driven by more than 5,000 people in a multi-year fuel cell experience program.