General Motors and the U.S. Army will reveal a new fuel-cell vehicle this fall. It’s based on the Chevrolet Colorado pickup and will be used in field tests beginning in 2017.
The EV is being developed thanks to a partnership GM made with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in 2015.
Once the Colorado-based fuel-cell EV is revealed in October, the next step will be to get it into the field. That’s where the U.S. Army will test out its propulsion and power generation capabilities next year.
The U.S. Army’s goal is to develop quieter vehicles with exportable power generation, low-end torque and water generation for use in extreme military-use conditions. For instance, low-end torque capability is great in an off-road environment.
”Hydrogen fuel cells as a power source have the potential to bring to the force incredibly valuable capabilities,” said TARDEC Director Paul Rogers. “We expect the vehicle to be quiet in operation and ready to provide electricity generation for needs away from the vehicle.”
We’re still waiting for more vehicle specifics, but Rogers says the Army is focusing on the technology and its capabilities, regardless of the platform.
GM is benefiting from the project, too.
“This project is another example of how fuel cell propulsion can play a role in non-traditional applications,” says Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s Global Fuel Cell Activities. “We need to continue pursuing these opportunities along with our plans for production of a commercial fuel cell system in the 2020 time frame.”
By the way, GM is also working with the U.S. Navy on a fuel-cell submarine.
The Naval Research Laboratory recently concluded an evaluation of a prototype UUV equipped with a GM fuel cell at the heart of the vehicle powertrain. The tests, a key step in the development of an at-sea prototype, were conducted in pools at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Carderock, Md.