Hydrogen Fuel Cell Chevrolet Colorado on its way thanks to US Army TARDEC and GM

Article by Andrew Christian, on December 4, 2015

A prototype of the Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup that’s meant to run on a commercially made hydrogen fuel cell propulsion cell is currently in the works. However, it’s not meant for the consumers just yet.

This Colorado prototype is a collaboration between General Motors and the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC). According to Charlie Freese, who is executive director for Global Fuel Cell Engineering Activities at GM, the collaboration is meant to test GM’s hydrogen fuel cell technology to its limits.

Freese said that collaborating with the military creates an opportunity for the company to use heavy military usage as a means to gauge the performance of the technology. As for TARDEC, its director Paul Rogers stated that the collaboration will give the outfit the opportunity to gauge the potential that hydrogen fuel cell technology can bring to the military.

Rogers described the potential of hydrogen fuel cell in military applications as extraordinary. According to Rogers, vehicles that run on the technology are quiet, making it a technology for military vehicles that specialize in tasks that require stealth, like scout vehicles.

Rogers also explained that FCVs can create water as well, which makes the vehicles environmentally friendly and also advantageous when used in austere environments. In addition, the technology gives vehicles exportable electric power, making it a must-have not just for the military but for commercially available vehicles as well.

In addition, the technology produces high low-end torque figures that are needed for off-road conditions. Hydrogen fuel cell propulsion technology helps address two major environmental challenges with automobiles today – petroleum use and carbon dioxide emissions.

Fuel cell vehicles can operate on renewable hydrogen from sources like wind and biomass. There’s only one emission and that is water vapor. These capabilities make hydrogen fuel cell propulsion technology an ideal technology that should be integrated into next-generation vehicles.

It totally eliminates petroleum use, and the resulting CO2 emissions. Instead of petroleum, the technology generates hydrogen from renewable sources and uses it to power the engines. The only by-product of the process is water vapor, which can be harnessed as well instead of emitted.

To facilitate the collaboration, GM and TARDEC built research facilities in both Pontiac and Warren in the state of Michigan. With the two facilities being only 20 minutes away from each other, it will be easy for the two entities to trade information on fuel cell designs and materials that will be used in the construction of equipment that use the technology.

GM is no stranger to fuel cell propulsion research. It began its efforts with the launch of the “Project Driveway” fleet in 2007. This fleet is comprised of 119 Chevrolet Equinoxes. More than 5,000 consumers participated in the project, achieving an accumulated mileage of 3 million miles.

Since the launch in 2014, the Chevrolet Colorado has raised the bar for midsize pickups with class-leading horsepower, torque, fuel economy, trailering capabilities and safety technologies. The Colorado provides true truck capabilities in a refined, fuel-efficient midsize package with three available powertrains.

Paired with the available 2.8L Duramax diesel, the Colorado is the most fuel-efficient pickup truck in America. More information on the Chevrolet Colorado can be found at www.chevrolet.com/colorado. The Chevrolet Colorado is the perfect choice for this undertaking.

It’s at the top of its class in terms of horsepower output, torque, fuel economy ratings, thresholds for trailering and the features intended to keep the driver safe. It’s available with three options for engines, with the 2.8L Duramax diesel engine being the most fuel-efficient among the three choices. Find out more about the Chevrolet Colorado at www.chevrolet.com/colorado.

Press Release

GM AND U.S. ARMY TO DEMONSTRATE EXTREME OFF-ROAD HYDROGEN FUEL CELL CHEVROLET COLORADO

General Motors and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) are modifying a Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup truck to run on a commercial hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system and will expose the truck to the extremes of daily military use for 12 months.

“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.

Fuel cell propulsion has very high low-end torque capability useful in off-road environments. It also offers exportable electric power and quiet operation, attractive characteristics to both commercial and military use.

"The potential capabilities hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can bring to the Warfighter are extraordinary, and our engineers and scientists are excited about the opportunity to exercise the limits of this demonstrator," said TARDEC Director Paul Rogers.

"FCVs are very quiet vehicles, which scouts, special operators and other specialties place a premium,” he said. “What's more, fuel cells generate water as a by-product, something extremely valuable in austere environments."

GM and TARDEC have fuel cell development and research facilities located 20 minutes apart in Pontiac and Warren, Mich. The two collaborate to evaluate new fuel cell designs and materials, and TARDEC’s state-of-the-art facility enables it to test and integrate fuel cell systems it has been developing for more than a decade.

In 2007, GM launched “Project Driveway,” a 119-vehicle fleet of hydrogen fuel cell-equipped Chevrolet Equinoxes that were driven in daily use for more than 3 million miles by more than 5,000 consumers.

Hydrogen fuel cell propulsion technology helps address two major environmental challenges with automobiles today – petroleum use and carbon dioxide emissions. Fuel cell vehicles can operate on renewable hydrogen from sources like wind and biomass. Water vapor is the only emission.

Since the launch in 2014, the Chevrolet Colorado has raised the bar for midsize pickups with class-leading horsepower, torque, fuel economy, trailering capabilities and safety technologies. The Colorado provides true truck capabilities in a refined, fuel-efficient midsize package with three available powertrains. Paired with the available 2.8L Duramax diesel, the Colorado is the most fuel-efficient pickup truck in America. More information on the Chevrolet Colorado can be found at www.chevrolet.com/colorado.

Additional product details and specific vehicle timing will be announced later.

About General Motors Co.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM’s brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.

About TARDEC
Headquartered at the U.S. Army Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich., TARDEC is a major research, development and engineering center for the Army Materiel Command’s Research, Development and Engineering Command and an enterprise partner in the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. TARDEC is the Nation’s laboratory for advanced military automotive technology and serves as the Ground Systems Integrator for all Defense Department manned and unmanned ground vehicle systems. With roots dating back to the World War II era, TARDEC develops and integrates the right technology solutions to improve current force effectiveness and provides superior capabilities for future force integration. More information can be found at http://tardec.army.mil.

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