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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    GM's SURUS Combines Hydrogen and Autonomous Tech

    General Motors has brought back a concept idea from their past for the modern era. This is SURUS (Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure) which takes the hydrogen skateboard platform from the GM Autonomy and Hy-Wire concepts from the early 2000s and supersizes it.

    The platform uses GM’s new Hydrotec fuel cell system that is comprised of a gen 2 fuel cell, storage tank that can provide a range of 400 miles, electric drive units, and a lithium-ion battery. This is placed onto a commercial truck chassis that will allow it handle various tasks and terrains such as military transport or a mobile medical unit in an area after a natural disaster. The platform also features autonomous tech.

    “SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments. General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business.

    GM will be showing off SURUS fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) from October 9th to 11th.

    Source: General Motors
    Press Release is on Page 2

    GM Outlines Possibilities for Flexible, Autonomous Fuel Cell Electric Platform

    Washington, D.C. — General Motors aims to solve some of the toughest transportation challenges created by natural disasters, complex logistics environments and global conflicts. The company will display its Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS), a flexible fuel cell electric platform with autonomous capabilities, at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) from Oct. 9-11, 2017. The commercially designed platform could be adapted for military use.

    SURUS leverages GM’s newest Hydrotec fuel cell system, autonomous capability and truck chassis components to deliver high-performance, zero-emission propulsion to minimize logistical burdens and reduce human exposure to harm. Benefits include quiet and odor-free operation, off-road mobility, field configuration, instantaneous high torque, exportable power generation, water generation and quick refueling times. 

    Fuel cell technology represents a key piece of General Motors’ zero emission strategy. It offers a solution that can scale to larger vehicles with large payload requirements and operate over longer distances. SURUS was designed to form a foundation for a family of commercial vehicle solutions that leverages a single propulsion system integrated into a common chassis. The SURUS platform is equally well-suited for adaptation to military environments where users can take advantage of flexible energy resources, field configurability and improved logistical characteristics.

    GM is evaluating multiple applications for SURUS, such as:

    • Utility trucks
    • Mobile and emergency backup power generation
    • Flexible cargo delivery systems
    • Commercial freight
    • Light- and medium-duty trucks, improving upon the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 that has been evaluated by the U.S. military under guidance of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and is undergoing testing on bases
    • Future military-specific configurations

    SURUS will deliver highly mobile autonomous capability and agility in unpredictable terrain. Operating multiple vehicles in a leader-follower configuration could reduce manpower needed. For future potential military uses, the system’s inherent low heat signature and quiet operation offer benefits in environments to reduce detection and risks. TARDEC has been in discussions with GM evaluating the commercial SURUS concept as a next step of the broader collaboration to evaluate fuel cell technology for future military applications.

    “SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business. “General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers.”

    The SURUS platform leverages GM’s vast experience in fuel cell technology, high-voltage batteries and electric drive systems, autonomous driving and vehicle manufacturing. The platform boasts:

    • Two advanced electric drive units
    • Four-wheel steering
    • Lithium-ion battery system
    • Gen 2 fuel cell system
    • Hydrogen storage system capable of more than 400 miles of range
    • Advanced propulsion power electronics
    • GM truck chassis components
    • An advanced, industry-leading suspension

    Hydrotec Technology

    The SURUS commercial platform draws on GM’s more than 50 years of research and development of fuel cell technology. The scalable and adaptable technology enables land, sea and air applications across commercial and military environments.

    Since April 2017, the Army has been testing the commercial Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 on its U.S. bases to determine the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles in military mission tactical environments. The vehicle has been operating in off-road conditions to evaluate its power generation, reduced odor, acoustic and thermal signatures, high wheel torque, extended operating range and the potential to use the byproduct water.

    Military testing has shown the ZH2 reduced acoustic non-detection distance by 90 percent compared to current military vehicle in operation. This means the ZH2 can get 10 times closer before being detected. Leaders also observed the potential advantages for stationary power generation over diesel generators, including a significant reduction in idle noise and fuel use. Testing will continue through spring 2018.

    Partnerships remain an important part of GM’s electrification strategy. Last year, the U.S. Navy unveiled a GM fuel cell-powered Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) for testing purposes that leverages GM fuel cell technology common with the Colorado ZH2.

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    Cool tech, yet with that said, Hydrogen is an Energy looser as it takes more energy to produce hydrogen fuel than other solutions.

    I can see a CNG generator to produce kWh of juice for a pure EV platform. To me that would be more realistic I think.

    Be interesting to see what they want to really use this for besides the stated uses above.

    I will say that the Medical Unit and the Container hauler in a shipping yard are very cool autonomous uses of this tech.

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    Fuel cell is going no where, waste of money to even bother with it.  Developing better batteries is the break through.    Toshiba says they will have a battery in 2022 that can get 300 miles of range in 5 minutes of charge.  That is the stuff to work towards.  Even most gasoline cars don't have 300 miles of range in 5 minutes of pumping gas.

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    10 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    Fuel cell is going no where, waste of money to even bother with it.  Developing better batteries is the break through.    Toshiba says they will have a battery in 2022 that can get 300 miles of range in 5 minutes of charge.  That is the stuff to work towards.  Even most gasoline cars don't have 300 miles of range in 5 minutes of pumping gas.

    Agree that I would not waste money on the tech either, but it is understandable as GM and Honda have teamed up to spend 85 million on the tech in support of the EPA and US Military that is funding the research.


    I would say that the bulk of GM's announcement is really focused on EV and they will keep a few hundred peeps working by spending the tax dollars from the two gov agencies to show what can be done.

    This DOES NOT mean it is economically feasible.

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