GM, U.S. Army Build Chevrolet Colorado Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle
Nov 20 2015
TARDEC has been working to integrate fuel-cell systems for more than a decade, while GM launched Project Driveway in 2007 in which 119 fuel-cell-equipped Chevy Equinoxes were driven more than 3 million miles by more than 5,000 consumers in an early test program.
General Motors said Thursday it will build a hydrogen fuel cell version of its Colorado pickup for the US Army, giving soldiers a quiet and fuel-efficient reconnaissance vehicle for tough combat environments.
Both GM and TARDEC have fuel cell development and research facilities in MI easing the collaboration between the two entities.
"Hydrogen fuel cell technology is important to GM's advanced propulsion portfolio, and this enables us to put our technology to the test in a vehicle that will face punishing military duty cycles", said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM's global fuel cell engineering activities, in a statement.
The Chevrolet Colorado has been toughened and will be subjected to "extreme" military use to see how a fuel-cell power source can withstand tough use.
Advocates of the technology say that the hydrogen tanks are lighter and can be filled more quickly than the battery packs needed to provide an equivalent range, but detractors, like Tesla's Elon Musk, point to the high cost of producing and delivering the hydrogen gas as a major drawback.
The Army also believes that fuel cell vehicles and their near-silent operation are also ideal for many uses, notably combat situations.
"FCVs are very quiet vehicles, which scouts, special operators and other specialties place a premium", he said. He also noted fuel-cell vehicles generate water as a by-production which would come in handy in harsh environments such as the desert. The only by-product is water vapor from the tailpipe.
While fuel cells haven't taken off commercially as EVs have, Toyota Motors (NYSE:TM) on October 21 officially began selling Mirai, the first commercially available fuel cell powered auto, in the U.S.