GM's view of hydrogen fuel cells: great for military use

General Motors thinks there's a future for hydrogen fuel cells, but it's not in your driveway.

Unless you're a member of the armed forces and your driveway is, say, Fort Bliss.

The Detroit automaker is and the U.S. Army are collaborating on a modular experimental light- and medium-duty fuel-cell truck platform with a name so military that it could have come from a Tom Clancy book: Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure, or SURUS.

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GM presented the nearly silent-running, zero harmful emissions SURUS to the Army on Monday. Next week, the SURUS concept will be on display at the Association of the U.S. Army's fall meeting in Washington, D.C.

General Motors’ Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS)

General Motors’ Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS)

Not only does SURUS' tailpipe only emit water (which isn't potable but could be converted), it is capable of driving itself.

SURUS started life as a heavy-duty consumer-grade truck frame, but it has four-wheel steering and each axle has its own electric drive system.

ALSO SEE: Hydrogen fuel-cell Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 first ride

It's one of 20 electric and hydrogen fuel-cell products GM intends to have on the road globally by 2023.

GM suggests that SURUS vehicles could operate as a lead-follow convoy. With its 400-mile range, the vehicle has a multitude of potential uses.

For military use, hydrogen fuel-cell technology makes a lot of sense. Cost is far less of an object and the armed forces are used to carrying their own fuel.

General Motors’ Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS)

General Motors’ Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS)

The U.S. Army is also capable of extracting hydrogen from its J8 fuel.

Hydrogen, of course, is highly flammable, so it's not likely that SURUS in its current state will be a combat vehicle.

It's all a follow-up to the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 mule currently undergoing testing at a number of military bases across the U.S. An unmanned vessel for underwater use developed with GM's fuel-cell technology is also currently undergoing Navy testing.

Green Car Reports had the opportunity to ride in the nearly silent Colorado ZH2 recently when it was visiting Fort Carson near Colorado Springs, Colo.

While it's not ready for combat in its current state, the technology could help ensure that the Army will have more green than just camo.

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