It is the most physically imposing and extreme
fuel-cell-powered EV in the world. I am talking about the
Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 Concept which was unveiled during the
recent Association of US Army (AUSA) exposition held in
Washington, D.C. It is the brainchild of the partnership
between General Motors and the U.S. Army’s Army Tank Automotive
Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).The
partnership is aimed at exploring hydrogen technology and how
it can be applied for military use.
If adopted, the vehicle will greatly transform the face of the
U.S. military, which has a “one fuel” battlefield strategy
since 1986. The strategy poses that every vehicle in a combat
should be running on the same type of fuel. As such, in future,
all U.S. military vehicles may run on hydrogen fuel.
Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 Concept Exterior
The 2016 ZH2 concept is a huge macho truck from whichever
direction you look at it. The only resemblance with regular
Colorado trucks is its center cab. The front fascia has a
subtle similarity with Colorado trucks. The grille and
headlights have a subtle resemblance of the regular Colorado
models. The concept features narrow slats on the grille
and a squinty design of the headlights that is not available on
your regular Colorado.
There is a gigantic power bulge on the hood that helps to
accommodate the fuel cell power-plant. On the other hand, the
bumper features LED lighting units and a recovery winch. There
are also D-ring shackles that are adopted from the discontinued
Hummer H3. At the top most part of the front after the
windscreen is a light bar with LED light pods.
From the first glance, you can tell how tall the model is, the
height is enhanced by its huge ground clearance courtesy of the
modified suspension and its giant wheels wrapped in 37-inch
BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires. The model features running boards
just under the doors to help soldiers step in easily. The
boards are also meant to protect the body from desert debris.
At the rear, the vehicle features a small compartment to store
dirt clothes and bulky items. Under this compartment is a space
for a power converter. This helps soldiers to convert the
Colorado to a mobile power supply to run other equipment while
on the field. It also comes with D-ring recovery points painted
in red as well as a two-inch receiver hitch.
Dimension-wise, the Colorado wheelbase stretches 11.1 feet long
that falls between standard and long-wheelbase of the regular
Colorado trucks. The truck is a whopping 7 feet wide and stands
at a height of 6.5 feet. It has an approach angle of 48 degrees
and a departure angle of 39 degrees, which makes its suitable
for the unpredictable desert terrain. Finally, the model weighs
a whopping 6,038 pounds, 1,200 pounds more than a standard
Colorado 4X4 diesel truck. The exterior styling is finished off
in Army camouflage paint
Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 Concept Interior
Unlike the exterior, the cabin of new Chevrolet Colorado ZH2
Concept looks similar to what we are accustomed to in
regular Colorado trucks. To start with, the model comes with
the same dashboard and regular door panels. However, the truck
features Recaro racing seats at the front. For enhanced
support, the seats feature Simpson harnesses that are tied to
the B-pillar-mounted bar for extra support. Its floor is
covered with full-coverage mats.
Its gauge cluster features a KW output whose figures should be
multiplied by 10 to get real output at a given time. Its output
can reach as much as 160 kW in the field. It also comes
with two toggle switches; one operates the front differential
while the other operates the rear locking differentials. The
switches work independently. The model also features a
two-speed transfer case that is electronically controlled.
These two features will help the model conquer just about any
Other features look stock. There was no pressure to add more
features as this is not your regular road-going truck. It is
purposefully made to help in the battlefield and other army
operations where funky gadgets are not needed.
Engine and performance
The Concept’s power-plant is still being refined and the
automaker did not reveal much about it for security reasons.
However, the engine will feature an “Exportable Power Take-Off”
(EPTO) unit. This unit enables the fuel cell system to power
other activities apart from the vehicle itself in situations
when other power sources are nonexistent or not tactically
Unlike noisy engine-powered automobiles and generators, the
fuel cell stack is paired with a huge synchronous AC motor that
channels power to all wheels. The system does not produce any
sound making the truck quite advantageous in stealth army
approaches. Its low thermal heat signature minimizes chances of
being detected by the enemy’s FLIR system.
Away from its stealthy approach capability, the model’s
electric motors give the truck instant torque for superb
acceleration on short notice and an awesome off-road climbing
capability. In addition, the byproduct of the fuel cell system
is environment friendly. Actually, it produces water that is
hard to come by in a desert thus adding another technical
advantage to soldiers. When a soldier gets thirsty, all he/she
has to do is just step out of the vehicle and take a
refreshing sip from the revitalizing water from the truck’s
exhaust system, so cool, isn’t it?
We will update you with more information, one the GM makes it
Price and release date
GM has not said anything about the beast’s prices or release
date. However, considering it’s a military concept vehicle the
price of the initial concept may be in millions. However, I
expect the price to fall significantly if the, military
contracts GM to build production models.
The automaker is set to hand over three testing mules to the
Army in April next year for field-testing at Fort Benning,
Georgia; Fort Carson Colorado and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.