Hydrogen power may fuel U.S. military's next-generation vehicles
The U.S. military may soon roll out a hydrogen-powered vehicle after General Motors (GM) and the and the U.S. Army TankAutomotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) said that they will be revealing a Chevrolet Colorado-based fuel cell electric vehicle.
The collaboration signed in 2015, allows TARDEC to access consumer-driven automotive technology which they could use in their military applications. Meanwhile, it provides GM with feedback on non-standard fuel cell technology applications.
“Hydrogen fuel cells as a power source have the potential to bring to the force incredibly valuable capabilities. 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,” said Paul Rogers, TARDEC director.
In line with the Department of Defense’s desire to leverage commercial innovation, the Army will use the vehicle to demonstrate capabilities of fuel cell electric propulsion and power generation systems that it can bring to the military, such as quieter mobility, exportable power generation, low-end torque, and water generation. Also, the Army plans to conduct user assessments and demonstrations by 2017.
“This project is another example of how fuel cell propulsion can play a role in non-traditional applications. We need to continue pursuing these opportunities along with our plans for production of a commercial fuel cell system in the 2020 time frame,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s Global Fuel Cell Activities.
“Fuel cell propulsion has low-end torque capability that is useful in an off-road environment. It also offers additional characteristics attractive to both commercial and military off-road use,” added Rogers.
Other than these, both sides did not say anything further about the vehicle specifics.
The unveiling of the Chevrolet Colorado-based fuel cell electric vehicle will be held in Washington, D.C. at the meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA).