We can think of only a few things cooler than a fully kitted-out off-roader built for the Special Forces. But when that off-roader is also a technologically advanced fuel cell SUV, well, that’s just off the hook. This, we think, is a fair description of the new Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, revealed at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).
Built on a stretched midsize pickup chassis, Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 looks like something out of a Mad Max movie, standing more than 6½ feet tall and more than seven feet wide, and sitting on jacked up suspension and 37 inch tires. The reinforced personal carrier makes the old Humvees look like a Willys Jeep, not just in terms of looks but also technology. This bad boy features a hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric propulsion system.
While that means Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 is an environmentally friendly war machine, what the designers have in mind is a little different. The hydrogen system has strategic benefits such as 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, and water by-product for field uses, as H2O is the only emission a fuel cell system makes.
But the coolest thing about the ZH2 is that it’s not just a show car. GM is going to continue with its development at their fuel cell laboratories, and in 2017 the vehicle will be turned over to the Army for a year of field testing.