General Motors is planning a fall introduction for its new fuel-cell army vehicle based on the new mid-sized pickup (Chev Colorado/GMC Canyon).
The vehicle was developed under agreement with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and will be tested by the U.S. Army to explore possibilities in quiet mobility, low-end torque, and power and water generation.
“This project is another example of how fuel cell propulsion can play a role in non-traditional applications,” said 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.”
The agreement allows TARDEC to access consumer-driven automotive technology for use in military applications, while providing feedback to GM on non-standard fuel cell technology applications. The Army intends to conduct user assessments and demonstrations in 2017.
”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. With fuel cell technology advancing, it’s an ideal time to investigate its viability in extreme military-use conditions. It also offers additional characteristics attractive to both commercial and military off-road use.”
No specifics on the vehicle were released at this time (Rogers said the Army is concentrating on the technology and its capabilities), but we did receive an image of the vehicle in silhouette on a sand dune during a “golden hour” sunrise or sunset moment, which we tried to enhance to show some side-detail.
The 4-door utility shows bulging fenders and a short rear that could be a trunk-like pick-up box, as well as a muscular front with what looks like a hood air intake. The lights are LED, though these may be running lights, rather than full headlights. The ground clearance looks impressive, as do the massive off-road tires
The vehicle will be unveiled in October at the annual meeting (Oct. 3-5, 2016) of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.