Yesterday, General Motors and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) announced they would reveal a Chevrolet Colorado-based fuel cell electric truck on October 3.
The unveiling will happen at this year’s meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) in Washington, D.C. The AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition, held every October, is the largest Army and industry exhibition in North America.
Hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles offer exportable electric power and quiet operation, attractive features to both commercial and military use. So, GM and TARDEC signed an agreement back in November 2015 to modify a Chevrolet Colorado.
The collaboration will enable TARDEC to use commercial automotive technology, and field-test fuel capabilities without paying to develop a vehicle. Meanwhile, feedback will help GM in future non-standard fuel cell technology applications as well as save money and time by learning how much can the fuel cell last.
The US TARDEC said the Chevrolet Colorado would be the first of many
Consistent with the Department of Defense’s desire, the Army will use the truck to demonstrate the benefits of fuel cell electric technology. Future military vehicles could have quieter mobility, exportable power generation, low-end torque and water production.
According to TARDEC Director Paul Rogers, the Army is focusing on the technology and its capabilities, regardless of the platform. It means the modified Chevrolet Colorado it’s only the first. The Army expects to carry out user assessments and demonstrations in 2017.
GM and TARDEC have fuel cell development and research facilities located 20 minutes apart in Pontiac and Warren, Michigan. There, they will expose the truck to the extreme daily military use for 12 months.
TARDEC has already designed and tested two fuel efficient vehicles on its own. Fabrication for the FED Alpha and the FED Bravo were completed in 2010 and 2011, respectively, and underwent performance testing in 2011.
The vehicles feature fuel-saving subsystems like integrated starter generators, low rolling resistance tires, driver feedback systems, solar panels, and low-drag brakes.
GM will have the hydrogen fuel cell system perfected by 2020
In 2007, GM started its fuel cell electrical technology plan with Project Driveway. It consisted of 119 Chevrolet Equinoxes equipped with hydrogen fuel cell. More than 5,000 consumers drove the vehicles for over 3 million miles.
The tech will help tackle petroleum use and carbon dioxide emissions, two primary environmental pollutants. These type of vehicles can operate on renewable hydrogen from sources like wind and biomass, with harmless water vapor being its only emission.
The Chevrolet Colorado is currently the most fuel-efficient pickup truck in America. Charlie Freese, the GM CEO for Global Fuel Cell Activities, stated the company plans to make it even greener. GM expects to begin production of a commercial fuel cell system by 2020.
Source: General Motors