The Army recently began testing a Chevrolet vehicle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell at Fort Carson, Colorado, reports USA Today.
The Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 features a silent engine that could provide the Army with a stealth mode of land transportation. It was developed by General Motors in cooperation with U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren, Michigan.
During trials at Fort Carson, the Army will be testing for noise, detectability, torque, fuel economy and water vapor discharge. In addition to its near-silent engine, the ZH2 also features reduced acoustic and thermal signatures, low fuel consumption across operating range and water by-product for field uses, according to General Motors.
"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."
Developed from the body of the gas-powered Chevrolet Colorado, the ZH2 will go through a year of field tests with the Army.
"The speed with which innovative ideas can be demonstrated and assessed is why relationships with industry are so important to the Army," said Dr. 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."
In addition to the ZH2, GM has also been working on the fuel cell-powered Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) that is currently in pool testing before eventual deployment for the Navy. The UVV uses fuel cell technology similar to the ZH2.