In January, a Army began officially testing a Chevy Colorado ZH2, a initial ground-mobility fight car that, if fielded, would be powered by a insubordinate new hydrogen fuel cell. The outcome of a $4 million partnership between GM and a U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC), a organic hydrogen fuel dungeon would meant a severely discontinued feverishness signature and near-silent electric energy system, creation a ZH2 not only a some-more fit pickup for infantry operations, though a strategically profitable item downrange. Less sound means reduction exposure, that means reduction risk of display adult on rivalry scopes.
Hydrogen fuel cells have prolonged been an object of skepticism for engineers and designers, though after months of development, a ZH2 is finally removing a contrast it deserves. In early April, GM shipped a antecedent ZH2 to a proof belligerent in Milford, Michigan, to give a robust new pickup a off-road exam it deserves — a exam we can (partially) observe, interjection to this brief video from Trucks.com:
“The car can energy by … unfettered by a terrain, and you’re doing it efficiently,” GM Global Fuel Cell Activities executive Charlie Freese told Trucks.com. “We’re doing it with some-more than twice a potency of a inner explosion engine.”
The infantry has been contrast hydrogen fuel cells in belligerent vehicles for some-more than dual decades, and TARDEC field-tested a initial fuel cells in dual Ford Escape SUVs as recently as 2009. But with GM’s Milford tests complete, a association is strictly handing over a ZH2 to TARDEC for another turn of evaluations by infantry personnel.
“What we’re doing by this bid is bargain a full intensity of a technology,” pronounced TARDEC executive Dr. Paul Rogers told Autoweek. “As we can see here, in this form, it’s phenomenal. Now what we wish to do is take a demeanour during a infantry application of it.”
Here’s what that ‘utility’ will substantially demeanour like, as Marty Skovlund Jr. reported for Task Purpose in January:
The ZH2 also integrates an Exportable Power Take Off (EPTO) section — basically, a generator. This will concede soldiers to move energy to areas where it is not straightforwardly available, like remote fight outposts (COPs), or concede a reconnoitering component to stay in their regard post (OP) longer while gripping their communications and notice apparatus operational. This could lend a game-changing capability to infantry units, either they are in a city that had a energy knocked out from airstrikes, or patrolling on a high behind roads of a K-G Pass in Afghanistan.
It should be remarkable that, since of a compress design, a ZH2 would not be a sum deputy for a MRAP or Stryker, both of that are able of carrying squad-sized elements. Judging by a judgment photos, a ZH2 appears to be able of carrying 4 soldiers in full kit, with one additional infantryman as a tip gunner. The initial thing that comes to mind for such a pattern is that it would be a ideal fit for a form of mounted reconnoitering conducted by U.S. Army’s cavalry scouts.
It’s misleading when a ZH2 would indeed strike a terrain with U.S. infantry in tow. When a Army initial unveiled a partnership with GM in Oct 2016, officials settled that evaluations would “take place over a march of a year” with soldiers from Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and Fort Carson, Colorado. But should all go according to plan, a ZH2 could open a floodgates for serve applications of hydrogen fuel cells in a field.