Chevy paints a fuller picture of the Colorado ZH2 fuel cell truck

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Chevy Colorado ZH2 at SEMA 2016(Credit: General Motors)

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When it introduced the ZH2 fuel cell truck a month ago, Chevy dazzled the world with pictures of its impressive Colorado reconstruction, but it withheld most of the juicy details like power, torque, full dimensions and performance figures. That wasn't because the information was top secret truth you can't handle, but seemingly more because Chevy wanted to split the reveal out between the initial debut at the Association of the United States Army's fall meeting and an official auto show intro at SEMA 2016, where it's talking more about all the details, filling in some major blanks.

Before it gets shipped off for US Army testing next year, the Colorado ZH2 is serving as a highlight of GM's SEMA exhibit, where it stands tall as a rather extreme example of automotive conversion. Not only is it half a foot taller than the stock Colorado, with serious exterior modifications, but it features a powertrain you won't find in any average pickup: a 177-hp (132 kW) electric motor powered by a fuel cell stack mounted transversely below the power dome hood. Torque is one of the key advantages GM and the US Army plan to capitalize on with the off-road military truck, and the motor sends 236 lb-ft (320 Nm) of it through a 4WD system with front and rear electronic locking differentials.

A proprietary damper system provides improved body control during trail running and extended travel during slow, measured rock crawls. Not wanting to spoil all the details at once (or twice or thrice), Chevy says that it will provide more information about that system in the future.

Other newly revealed numbers include the 48-degree approach angle, 39-degree departure angle and 12-inch (30 mm) ground clearance. The wheelbase stretches 133.5 inches (339 cm) of the 210.5-in (535 cm) overall length, with the remaining 77 inches split up 35 on the front overhang, 42 on the rear. Within that length, Chevy has pushed the cab back by 5 inches to make room for the upsized 37-inch Mud Terrain tires holding firm around the 17-inch beadlock wheels set on 67.4-inch (171-cm) tracks. Estimated curb weight drops in at 6,038 lb (2,739 kg), and payload is roughly 1,300 lb (590 kg). The truck has a 6:1 gear ratio.

All those weights and measures add up to a top speed above 60 mph (96.5 km/h) and a truck that can ascend, descend and restart on 40 percent grades. Chevy also says it can navigate 20 percent side slopes.

The Exportable Power Take-off (EPTO) is located in the clamshell box at the rear. It can provide usable power for everything from firing up tools, to operating communications equipment, to running the likes of a small field hospital. The unit draws high-voltage DC from the fuel cell stack and converts it into 120- and 240-volt AC power, delivering 25 kW continuously or 50 kW peak.

Chevy will get the most detailed feedback when the US Army begins testing the ZH2 early next year, but it's also fishing for more general SEMA feedback on the ZH2's mix of fuel cell tech and off-road construction. The ZH2 appears with other Chevy vehicles, like the Camaro COPO and Z71 Hurley.

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