General Motors’ defense division has released an enigmatic video showing a military-spec, Silverado-based concept truck powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.
This isn’t the first time GM has dipped its toes in the world of hydrogen-powered, Halo-like war trucks. It unveiled the equally menacing Colorado ZH2 in 2016 and began testing the truck in field conditions in 2017. The Silverado benefits from the next generation of the company’s fuel cell drivetrain. It’s made up of three hydrogen tanks mounted to the truck’s frame and a fuel cell installed in the space normally occupied by the gasoline- or diesel-powered engine. Technical specifications are spectacularly vague (and probably classified at this point) but GM Defense promises four-wheel drive and over 400 miles of range.
Why would the American army need hydrogen trucks? It’s certainly not to hang out with Tesla and Prius drivers in California’s HOV lanes. Hydrogen-powered vehicles are quieter than comparable gasoline- or diesel-powered models so they’re much harder to detect, and they emit nothing but water vapor which is helpful in a desert climate where every drop counts.
The Silverado ZH2 needs to conquer the type of terrain that would scare even dedicated off-roaders into submission. To that end, it’s fitted with a tougher evolution of the Multimatic suspension found in the Camaro ZL1 1LE and the Colorado ZR2, among other models. Originally designed for race cars, the Multimatic system relies on hydraulic valves to absorb bumps in the road (from ruts or stones, for example) before they judder the occupants. This technology makes high-speed travel over rough terrain possible, and it also helps the truck last longer because the suspension soaks up energy before it reaches the frame.
The ZH2’s design is intriguing, too. Look through the camouflaged paint job and you’ll notice it’s not exactly identical to the brand-new 2019 Silverado. Some of the front end’s styling cues remind us of the 2020 Silverado HD which Chevrolet released a teaser photo of in April 2018. The ZH2 could preview the big-bodied Silverado.
GM Defense refused to provide additional details about the Silverado ZH2. The company plainly told Digital Trends the truck is a concept that made its debut in October 2018 at a trade show organized by the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). GM Defense has little to gain from outlandish marketing stunts so odds are this isn’t the last time we see the ZH2. Stay tuned, we’ll bring you more details about the truck as soon as they emerge.