Chevrolet has introduced a military-specification off-road machine based on its mid-sized Colorado pickup truck that will use hydrogen fuel cells to power its silent electric motors to sneak up on the enemy.
Chevy calls the Colorado "mid-sized," but in its ZH2 military guise it is a monster that stands six and a half feet high, riding on off-road racing-style 37-inch tires.
Speaking of racing, the concept truck shown at the meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C. carried sophisticated Multimatic racing-grade shock absorbers like those Chevy pioneered for production car use in the 2014 Camaro Z28. Such shock absorbers will let soldiers make the most of the ZH2's ground clearance of nearly a foot to speed over rough terrain.
No matter the conditions, they will go no faster than 61 mph, because that is the ZH2's limited speed, accelerating to that pace in 15.4 seconds.
Army soldiers and Marines will put the ZH2 through its paces for next year while Chevy and the Department of Defense finalize the design and features for trucks to be deployed.
The fuel cell not only permits the ZH2 to run silently, its is also a source of pure water, producing two gallons per hour when it is running. That is a valuable resource to support troops in some areas where they work.
The truck also carries a removable fuel cell pack in its bed that soldiers can carry off to serve as a remote power generator that creates 25 kilowatts of continuous power or a peak of 50 kW.
Key advantages of fuel cell electric vehicles over battery electrics include quicker refueling and the aforementioned water supply.