Army Tests Hydrogen-Powered Chevrolet Pickup

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Can a pickup truck powered by a fuel hydrogen cell endure the rigors of military missions?

Over the next 12 months, General Motors and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) will deploy a Chevrolet Colorado, equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system where is will be exposed to daily military use.

"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.

Fuel cell propulsion has 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," said TARDEC Director Paul Rogers. "FCVs are very quiet vehicles. 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. They will evaluate fuel cell designs and materials in TARDEC's resting center.

Toyota is selling its Mirai fuel cell sedan in California and Japan. GM has been jointly developing a fuel cell car with Honda that it intends to begin selling in 2020.

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.

This article originally appeared on USA Today

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