Chevy is building a hydrogen fuel-cell transport vehicle for the Army

Timothy J. Seppala
Chevy is building a hydrogen fuel-cell transport vehicle for the Army

Chevy's venture into working with the Army on alternative-fuel vehicles isn't stopping with the Colorado ZH2. No, the pair are pushing forward with the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) that takes the ZH2's hydrogen fuel cell power plant and mates it with what Defense One describes as a "flatbed truck trailer or even a railroad flatcar." The idea behind SURUS -- named for Hannibal's war elephants -- is to be an adaptable form of transport that can do anything from carrying injured troops to moving large amounts of cargo like diesel-powered generators in the theater of war.

Of course, the truck can also be outfitted with guns and rockets. Other plans include the potential for remote control or autonomous driving, rather than having a human behind the wheel. The head of GM's fuel cell division, Charlie Freese, noted how capable SURUS is and that the truck has the potential to reduce the amount of vehicles the Army needs to keep on hand.

And since it's powered by a near-silent fuel cell engine rather than in internal combustion one, SURUS will be able to travel behind enemy lines with decreased chance of being discovered. "They're basically able to get 10 times closer without being detected," Freese said. Unlike the ZH2, this sounds like it was built from the ground up for military applications, versus retrofitting fuel cell tech onto an existing truck like an off-road-equipped Colorado. It also shows that the military is pretty happy with the ZH2 so far.

The SURUS will be on display at next week's Army AUSA trade show and convention in Washington, DC.

Defense One