GM Defense has unveiled the Chevrolet Silverado ZH2 Concept to show a rugged military truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
It isn’t just civilians that want to move away from fossil fuels: the US Army is also reconsidering gasoline in their vehicle lineups. While battery-powered vehicles make a lot of sense for the civilian market, the army won’t always have a handy network of charging stations to refill their batteries.
Hydrogen fuel cells make a lot more sense. Last year, GM developed a concept Colorado called the ZH2 with the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC). Instead of needing regular unleaded, the Colorado ZH2 took in hydrogen fuel to power an internal battery pack.
That test vehicle must have been successful since now GM Defense (the military subsidiary of GM) has now created the Silverado ZH2.
Just like on the civilian market, the Silverado ZH2 is the bigger brother of the Colorado ZH2. It uses an evolved form of the same Hydrotec fuel cells and Jouletec battery to provide an estimated range of 400 miles. It can also recharge its fuel cell in just 3 minutes and produce 50-100 kW of power, acting as a sort of mobile power station.
It can also create around 2 gallons of water per hour, something that the military would find very useful in arid combat environments. Although it should be noted, that water will be very warm.
As with anything in the military, you can’t count on nice roads to get you from point A to point B. That’s why the Silverado ZH2 has the same "race proven multimatic dynamic suspension" as the Colorado ZRs, including the DSSV spool valve shocks that make the Colorado such an off-road beast.
Aesthetically, the Silverado ZH2 has some similarities in the front fascia to the upcoming 2020 Silverado HD we’ve seen in spy photos. The tiny LED headlights are likely just for the concept as even the military likes to see in the dark, while the outer paint jobs are meant to appeal to the various environments the ZH2 might find itself in.
There’s no real prototype as the released video is entirely in CG, but if the military shows interest we might see by next year. Or not--this is the military, after all. These things are sometimes kept totally under wraps.