The ZH2 Colorado is a hydrogen-fuelled concept that will be tested by the US military to see how the fuel cell technology suits in applications.
The military sees advantages in fuel cell tech for its long-range operations, including near-silent running, low thermal footprint, and having water as its only by-product. The high torque of the electric motors is also well-suited to the off-road application they would have for this vehicle.
The ZH2 concept rides on a stretched and reinforced Colorado chassis and 37-inch off-road tyres fixed to modified suspension. There is a power pack mounted in the tray that stores power generated by the fuel cell; it’s used to power other electric devices.
GM and the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Centre (TARDEC) collaborated to develop the Colorado ZH2 from contract to concept.
GM is leveraging a range of advanced technologies for multiple applications, including military.
“The speed with which innovative ideas can be demonstrated and assessed is why relationships with industry are so important to the Army,” said Paul Rogers, director of 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.”
The ZH2 will be handed over to the US Army for a year of evaluation exercises.
“Over the next year, we expect to learn from the Army the limits of what a fuel cell propulsion system can do when really put to the test,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Activities.
It will be interesting to see how this technology can be applied to recreational off-roading in the future.