The Chevrolet ZH2 Is a Hydrogen Concept Built For The Battlefield
When you lock a bunch of Chevy designers and engineers in the same room as the folks from TARDEC (the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center) you’re clearly going to end up with absolute madness. Here’s the details on Chevrolet’s military-bound ZH2 concept.
It might take styling cues from a Colorado, but the ZH2 has had its frame stretched and it’s track-width widened by a significant amount to make the vehicle more stable over technical terrain while carrying the heavy loads a military vehicle should be able to handle.
The most-important part of the ZH2 concept is the last two bits of it’s name—H2—it’s powered by a hydrogen fuel cell that provides power to the electric engines, allowing the military to operate the vehicle over extreme distances. Chevy’s put over 3.1 million miles on hydrogen fuel vehicles through Project Driveway, their 119-vehicle fleet driven by more than 5,000 people in a multi-year fuel cell experience program.
The concept’s Exportable Power Take-Off unit (EPTO) also has the ability to act as a generator to provide power in areas that otherwise would be without electricity. Considering that the ZH2 has 37-inch tires and race-inspired suspension, that means there’s few places that it won’t be able to reach. Remote medical camps, temporary supply bases, even use as a backup generator are all within the capabilities of the ZH2. It’s probably a bit overkill for charging drone and camera batteries, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t use it!
“The speed with which innovative ideas can be demonstrated and assessed is why relationships with industry are so important to the Army,” said Paul Rogers, director of TARDEC. “Fuel cells have the potential to expand the capabilities of Army vehicles significantly through quiet operation, exportable power and solid torque performance, all advances that drove us to investigate this technology further.”
We probably won’t see the ZH2 in civilian hands any time soon, but we’re excited to see the potential of this technology when it trickles down to Chevy’s consumer division. Instant torque from electric motors paired with low range gearing could take us pretty far down the unbeaten path. Chevy also promises a low thermal signature, just incase you’re messing around with your mates with some night vision goggles in the bush.
Would you drive it?