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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Chevrolet's Colorado ZH2 Isn't Like Any Colorado Before

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      This is what happens when GM and the U.S. Army team up


    Madness! That was our first thought when we saw the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 - the result of a joint venture of General Motors and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). 

    Even though it might be called a Colorado, it is unlike anyone you'll find at your nearest Chevrolet dealership. The model is 6.5-feet tall and over 7-feet wide. To accodimate for the larger size, Chevrolet used a lengthened and reinforced version of the Colorado's chassis. A set of 37-inch tires and specially modified suspension help the ZH2 go though any terrain that the Army will throw its way. That's because the ZH2 will be undergoing a number of field tests to determine the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles on military missions. Yep, the Colorado ZH2 is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

    General Motors doesn't provide many details on the fuel cell's powertrain except that it will feature a Exportable Power Take-Off (EPTO) unit. The truck can generate electrcity for the unit which then can be taken away to provide power for various devices.

    “The Colorado ZH2 is a terrific example of GM’s engineering and design skill in creating an off-road vehicle relevant to a range of potential users. 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.

    Source: General Motors
    Press Release is on Page 2


    Mission-Ready Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 Fuel Cell Vehicle Breaks Cover at U.S. Army Show

    • Modified midsize pickup goes into extreme military field testing in 2017

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The physically imposing Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, the most extreme off-road-capable fuel-cell-powered electric vehicle ever from General Motors, was revealed today at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).

    Standing more than 6½ feet tall and more than seven feet wide, the Colorado ZH2 was built on a stretched midsize pickup chassis. Reinforced inside and out, the ZH2 rides on 37-inch tires and a specially modified suspension that helps the vehicle climb over and descend all manner of terrain.

    The U.S. Army will test the Colorado ZH2 in extreme field conditions next year to determine the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles on military missions.

    The Colorado ZH2 features an Exportable Power Take-Off unit (EPTO) that allows the fuel cell to power activity away from the vehicle, such as remote locations where electric power may otherwise be unavailable.

    GM and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) collaborated to develop the Colorado ZH2 from contract to concept in less than a year.

    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 Army will evaluate the ZH2 fuel cell for:

    • Near-silent operation enabling silent watch capability
    • Reduced acoustic and thermal signatures
    • High wheel torque at all speeds via electric drive
    • Low fuel consumption across operating range
    • Water by-product for field uses

    GM and TARDEC have fuel cell development laboratories located 20 miles apart in southeast Michigan. Most of the Colorado ZH2 was assembled in GM’s Advanced Vehicle Integration facility in Warren. Calibration testing at GM’s Milford Proving Ground will continue into early 2017, when the vehicle will be turned over to the Army for a year of field testing.

    “The Colorado ZH2 is a terrific example of GM’s engineering and design skill in creating an off-road vehicle relevant to a range of potential users,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Activities. “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.”

    The Colorado ZH2 contract is GM’s second vehicle development with a U.S military branch announced this year. In June, the U.S. Navy unveiled a GM fuel cell-powered Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) that is currently in pool testing before eventual deployment. The UUV leverages GM fuel cell technology common with the Colorado ZH2, demonstrating the flexibility to power a range of mobile and stationary devices.

    GM has accumulated 3.1 million miles of hydrogen fuel cell testing via Project Driveway, a 119-vehicle fleet driven by more than 5,000 people in a multi-year fuel cell experience program.

    Edited by William Maley

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    Very Cool, but will never see the daylight of production even in the Military. The energy deficiency of Hydrogen makes no sense especially when deployed outside of this country. That is to clarify and say that while Hydrogen has power as a fuel, the ability to create the fuel to power a hydrogen engine is negative as it takes far more energy to create the fuel than you get out of it.

    Concept, an 11 on the 1-10 scale.

    Coolness Factor - 11

    Reality factor - (-11)

    The Military would do far better putting these tax dollars into an EV rapid assault vehicle that is whisper quiet or quieter that can sneak up on the enemy and with fast swap out energy cells.

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    @ocnblu

    Ocnblu, giving me a negative is fine, please post your own thought about this concept, why or why not it will work or what you think is a better solution.

    Anyone that follows alternative energy knows that Hydrogen is very wasteful to produce yet very green for the planet. So why not look to other forms of propulsion.

    Coming from a multi-generation military family, being stealth and sneaking up on your enemy in todays terrorist world is now more crucial than ever.

    So why not have a PURE EV assault vehicle that can have fast swap of energy cells to keep the auto moving. If there is a better idea, name it and explain why please.

    I loved the TV Series Terra Nova

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1641349/

    The auto's were all quiet electric ones with quick change energy cells that also quickly recharged off solar.This I would think would be perfect for a Military auto.

    i551316.jpg

    terra-nova-car.jpg

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    I don't think they want to use it to sneak up on anyone.  It has another purpose.  Plus with all the current hoopla over electrocution, why didn't GM go with that alternate propulsion method in this truck instead?  Because maybe there is something about hydrogen, or this truck in particular, that made the military ask for this instead.  I downvoted you because lately you have gone into every single thread and said that whatever the subject of that thread is... it would be better as an EV.  Even if it is about puppies and dandelions.  Or a ham sandwich.  I'm trying to help.

     

    WEHT natural gas anyway, sir?

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    5 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    I don't think they want to use it to sneak up on anyone.  It has another purpose.  Plus with all the current hoopla over electrocution, why didn't GM go with that alternate propulsion method in this truck instead?  Because maybe there is something about hydrogen, or this truck in particular, that made the military ask for this instead.  I downvoted you because lately you have gone into every single thread and said that whatever the subject of that thread is... it would be better as an EV.  Even if it is about puppies and dandelions.  Or a ham sandwich.  I'm trying to help.

     

    WEHT natural gas anyway, sir?

    GM needs to get their Hybrid on and stop just messing around with the Volt, that is a proven powertrain that should be in every CUV as well as they better have plans for EV's in other models.

    The planet is changing and with it, humans needs to change and adapt. Being set in one's way is a sure way to become extinct.

    GM gave the Military what was asked for as this was a Hydrogen Project. I also think they should have also looked at other options. Yes this hydrogen truck can make electricity for use by troops. Something EV is not ready for doing but moving in that direction. Someday we will have solar panels that can recharge quickly battery cells.

    I just personally think that the whole hydrogen thing is a waste of money. The military would have been far better off going with natural gas. As proven by the truck companies, you can have CNG or LNG on a generator with electric motors moving the actual rig.

    That is a fuel now that the Military can use for all the same reasons as they are stating about Hydrogen without the expensive cost of creating hydrogen.

    I am still very much a pro supporter of natural gas, but also clearly see a valid use for ev's. The technology is there now to start converting fleets of delivery trucks, vans, etc. to pure EV in the city reducing smog, emissions and noise as the cities become more quiet and a better place to live for those that like the city. We also have EV buses that can clearly go the miles on 1 charge for a day long service.

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    11 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    I also think they should have also looked at other options.

    Do you honestly think they haven't/aren't looking at other options? Do you think they made a phone call to GM and said,  "Build us a Colorado to run off of hydrogen."  Or the more likely scenario where they said what they needed out of a vehicle, and all of the supporting characteristics, and GM went hydrogen thinking it was the best for the given requirements. I think it's a little oblivious to think the government isn't looking into EV's for themselves. I don't know if hydrogen powered vehicles require the computers quite like an EV does but maybe they're trying to keep them from being hacked? If there's a computer, it can get hacked. That's why I said I don't know as much about hydrogen powered vehicles but it's just an idea.

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    2 hours ago, ccap41 said:

    Do you honestly think they haven't/aren't looking at other options? Do you think they made a phone call to GM and said,  "Build us a Colorado to run off of hydrogen."  Or the more likely scenario where they said what they needed out of a vehicle, and all of the supporting characteristics, and GM went hydrogen thinking it was the best for the given requirements. I think it's a little oblivious to think the government isn't looking into EV's for themselves. I don't know if hydrogen powered vehicles require the computers quite like an EV does but maybe they're trying to keep them from being hacked? If there's a computer, it can get hacked. That's why I said I don't know as much about hydrogen powered vehicles but it's just an idea.

    We know that you can build an EV without all the computers, this is being done all the time by the hobbyist groups.

    I know based on monitoring the DOD, that they have EV projects, this project was called out for by the DOD to explore this technology. I just think it is a waste of Tax dollars as the facts show it takes more energy to produce Hydrogen than what you get out of it. So I just think they could have invested in research for other better options.

    Why not a CNG/LNG truck that could easily do everything this truck could do and we have a ton of supply already available.

    That is all.

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