The agreement between General Motors and the US Army has produced its first vehicle: a hydrogen powered Chevrolet Colorado for extreme off-road challenges.
GM announced ten days back it had signed a contract with US Army by which the automaker would build for the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center division a fuel cell reconnaissance vehicle, for testing purposes. Now, both sides have declared that they are working on modifying a Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup truck to run on a commercial hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system. The new extreme off-roader will be exposed to the extremes of daily military use for 12 months. “Hydrogen fuel cell technology is important to GM’s advanced propulsion portfolio, and this enables us to put our technology to the test in a vehicle that will face punishing military duty cycles,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s Global Fuel Cell Engineering activities.
But why does the Army need such a technology? Fuel cell propulsion has very high low-end torque capability useful in off-road environments and it also offers exportable electric power and quiet operation, most important characteristics to both commercial and military use. “The potential capabilities hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can bring to the Warfighter are extraordinary, and our engineers and scientists are excited about the opportunity to exercise the limits of this demonstrator,” said TARDEC Director Paul Rogers. TARDEC is the Nation’s laboratory for advanced military automotive technology and serves as the Ground Systems Integrator for all Defense Department ground vehicle systems.