U. S. Army begins testing Chevy Colorado ZH2 hydrogen fuel cell truck

The U.S. Army has begun testing Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 hydrogen fuel cell powered electric pickup truck at its Fort Carson, Colorado facility. The Army is testing the vehicle for noise, detectability, torque, fuel economy and water vapor discharge.

The Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, powered by General Motors’s GM Hydrotec fuel cell technology, features a silent engine that could provide the Army with a stealth mode of land transportation.

In addition to its near-silent engine, the ZH2 also features reduced acoustic and thermal signatures, low fuel consumption across operating range and water by-product for field uses.

It was developed, assembled and tested at GM sites in Michigan in cooperation with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).

Chevrolet Colorado ZH2

The ZH2 shares several components with the production Colorado, including the cab, doors and roof. The standard Colorado production cab was moved back 125mm to accommodate 37-inch off-road tires.

At the front, the ZH2 hood incorporates a power dome to accommodate a transversely mounted fuel cell stack. The front fascia is a dramatic departure from the production truck. Cooling was enhanced and moved to the rear to help regulate temperatures while exporting electric power in a stationary, hot environment.

The Exportable Power Take-off (EPTO) electric power conditioning unit allows the operator to draw high-voltage D/C from the fuel cell and convert it to both high- and low-voltage A/C (240V or 120V). The EPTO unit delivers 25 kW continuously or up to 50 kW peak. The system can power a subdivision, tools at a worksite, communications equipment or a small field hospital for hours.

The chassis is designed and engineered for off-road use. It starts with 37-inch BF Goodrich tires mounted to 17-inch beadlock wheels. Power is transferred from the 93 kW fuel cell system to the 132-kW electric motor, which produces 236 lb.-ft. of instantaneous torque. That torque is then delivered to the transfer case and a 4-wheel drive system with front- and rear- electronic locking differentials.

Off-road performance is further enabled by proprietary damper technology that provides body control for trail running and expanded wheel travel for rock crawling.

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