Last week General Motors and U.S. Army engineers showed the public how they’re coming along with a jointly developed prototype fuel-cell electric truck based on a Chevy Colorado ZH2.
Featured at a hydrogen-pump equipped Arco gas station in La Canada Flintridge, Calif. GM and members of the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) were on hand to explain the technology.
The two parties have been working on the technology for year to tap into the benefits of fuel cell technology in military applications. It took about nine months for the prototype to be built.
Joe Mercurio, manager of new business development for GM, said the vehicle manufacturer has been working for years to realize the applications of fuel cell technology for high-level military use. Developing the Chevy Colorado unit took about nine months to build out from frame to completion.
So far, those driving the truck like what they’re getting.
“There’s a big advantage in the sound element,” said Joe Mercurio, manager of new business development for GM
Mercurio said that the truck is about 10-times quieter than a diesel-powered military truck. On the emissions side, it’s much cleaner than diesel, and it’s producing its own water.
“And water vapor is the emission, so if you think of operations in the desert, the vehicle itself could produce some amount of water,” he said.
TARDEC and GM conducted a test run of the truck at Fort Carson, Col., in late June. Soldiers driving the test model evaluated the vehicle’s off-road capabilities, torque, silent mobility, high exportable power, and fuel cell technology.
You can watch what’s its like to drive one off-road in the video below.
The hydrogen station in La Canada Flintridge is managed by FirstElement Fuel, which has so far installed 17 of its True Zero hydrogen fueling stations throughout California.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well it’s done since it opened,” said Shane Stephens, co-founder and chief development officer for the company, reporting more than 4,500 fill-ups since its opening. “It took off a little faster than we expected.”
SEE ALSO: Chevrolet ZH2 Colorado Fuel Cell Army Truck is ‘Mission Ready’
He estimates there about 2,200 fuel cell vehicles in California now, with more coming soon. Hyundai plans to sell 3,000 units by 2019. GM, BMW, and Mercedes have plans to produce their own fuel-cell vehicles by 2020, Stephens said.
Los Angeles Times
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