General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) and the US Army revealed that they are teaming up for the development of hydrogen cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado. The car manufacturer and the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) had signed an agreement back in November 2015 for the development and testing of the hydrogen fuel technology under extreme military conditions.
This hydrogen-powered vehicles will be introduced at the Association of the United States Army’s fall conference, which will be conducted in the month of October. This partnership will enable the Army of the United States to utilize the mentioned vehicles for the demonstration of fuel-cell electric propulsion, as well as systems for power generation.
Meanwhile, this will give the auto giant some crucial and real-world information on hydrogen fuel cell applications and technology with zero emissions, which General Motors are seeking to commercialize in the future.
TARDEC director, Paul Rogers stated: “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 the director of TARDEC Mr. Paul Rogers.
Based on reports, the US Army is planning to hold demonstrations and evaluations in the following year. This plan is in line with the intention of the US Department of Defense to incorporate commercial innovation in its technologies. S
General Motors’ brands have not yet marketed their hydrogen-fuel cars for personal usage. The auto giant is still working on the technology, but has introduced a 3-year trial in 2008 by supplying 100 Chevrolet Equinox Sports Utility Vehicles with fuel-cell powertrain and hydrogen cell tanks.
In exchange for the hydrogen fuel cell car of General Motors, TARDEC will provide feedback regarding how the vehicle worked using military applications.
“The 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 timeframe,” said the executive director of General Motors’ Global Fuel Cell Activities Mr. Charlie Frees.
This is actually not the first time that the auto giant has partnered with the United States’ military. Back in the month of June, General Motors revealed that it was collaborating with the US Navy with regards to hydrogen fuel-cell technology application in order to power the unmanned vehicles underwater.
However, it is not easy for General Motors to utilize fuel-cell technology because it is costly. With this, GM thinks twice before integrating this type of technology to mass-market vehicles.
Aside from that, another headwind for the automaker is locating hydrogen sources. Currently, there are only about a dozen retail hydrogen pumps in the United States and this has limited the retail hydrogen fuel cell cars’ availability to Southern California.