Automotive

GM previews big, bad, clean military truck

GM previews big, bad, clean mi...
GM will light the new fuel-cell vehicle up in October
GM will light the new fuel-cell vehicle up in October
View 4 Images
GM will light the new fuel-cell vehicle up in October
1/4
GM will light the new fuel-cell vehicle up in October
GM released this teaser photo when it announced the project last November. Clearly some squinty headlights on this truck
2/4
GM released this teaser photo when it announced the project last November. Clearly some squinty headlights on this truck
GM will light the new fuel-cell vehicle up in October
3/4
GM will light the new fuel-cell vehicle up in October
GM released this teaser photo when it announced the project last November. Clearly some squinty headlights on this truck
4/4
GM released this teaser photo when it announced the project last November. Clearly some squinty headlights on this truck
View gallery - 4 images

General Motors and the United States Army have been collaborating on various fuel cell vehicle technology projects for more than a decade. The automaker and the Army's TARDEC are now preparing to show the latest fruits of their efforts, a Chevy Colorado-based fuel cell vehicle built for off-road, off-grid military service. Judging by the teaser photo released Tuesday, it should definitely be a big, bruising battlefield beast. We'll see it within the next two months.

GM and the US Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) detailed plans to work together on an "extreme off-road hydrogen fuel cell Chevrolet Colorado" last November. And that's still about all the information we have about the vehicle itself. In announcing its unveiling on Tuesday, GM reiterated that it's a Colorado-based fuel cell electric vehicle, but it didn't drop any additional specs or hints, save for a single teaser photo.

The shadowy photo shows an off road-fortified utility vehicle with what appears to be a shortened bed. Judging by the view of the sunset-tinged sky through the open air below the frame, it has some serious ground clearance, helped out by the big, grippy tires. It definitely looks to go even more rugged than the 2014 Colorado ZR2 concept, and if we're really getting out there with wishful thinking, looks like it could be a nice GM answer for the upcoming Jeep Wrangler pickup.

While it's the vehicle we're waiting to see, TARDEC's focus is the fuel cell technology itself, according to director Paul Rogers, not the vehicle platform.

"Fuel cell propulsion has low-end torque capability that is useful in an off-road environment," Rogers says. "We expect the vehicle to be quiet in operation and ready to provide electricity generation for needs away from the vehicle. With fuel cell technology advancing, it's an ideal time to investigate its viability in extreme military-use conditions."

GM released this teaser photo when it announced the project last November. Clearly some squinty headlights on this truck
GM released this teaser photo when it announced the project last November. Clearly some squinty headlights on this truck

The Army will conduct user assessments and demonstrations in 2017. The project will give GM insight into non-standard fuel cell applications.

"FCVs are very quiet vehicles, which scouts, special operators and other specialties place a premium," Rogers said when the vehicle was announced last year. "What's more, fuel cells generate water as a byproduct, something extremely valuable in austere environments."

While the Paris Motor Show has been known to have its fair share of interesting off-road vehicles, the new vehicle will be debuted at a venue that's less "auto," more "army" – an October meeting of the Association of the United States Army in Washington, DC.

We look forward to seeing it in the light.

Source: GM

View gallery - 4 images
4 comments
Galymax
Fuel cell vehicles are not off-grid, they require an expensive and complex hydrogen infrastructure, very similar to gas vehicles. Battery electric will be the way to go for the military, not only is it much easier to produce energy in remote areas with solar cells, but electricity also can be transferred completely wirelessly via microwaves, which is not efficient but will make a lot of sense for military applications.
Tanstar
I wonder if they will sell these to the public as well?
ljaques
galymax, I'm on a similar page to yours. The problem with solar is power density. The vehicles + soldiers' electronics would easily consume 10x the output of as many solar panels as you could fit in these things. The new layered solar panels might be a breakthru we're needing. The much quieter and less visible electric vehicles are a definite direction to look forward to in the military. Cross your fingers. Also, with fuel cells, how would you protect all hydrogen tanks and feed lines in these? A single hit would cause a much greater explosion than gasoline or diesel fuel. How would hydrogen tankers do the same, transporting fuel anywhere near a battle? Modular micro nuclear power plants are probably going to be the final answer here.
Helios
More of the same wet dream material that is always coming from the military.
These guys are either sociopathic killers or desk jockeys fulfilling their soldier of fortune geek fantasies.
In what world are these people living in where a quiet vehicle is a necessity? Any military that is remotely a threat to us has technology that allows for constant recon. This is pitched like we are going to be able to sneak up on our enemies....laughable.