By on October 6, 2017

General Motors SURUS platform

Regardless of whether it’s brought upon us by climate change, divine intervention, or civil unrest, the end times are right around the corner — and the government is going to need a rugged and versatile vehicle for the impending apocalypse. The automaker with the chops to deliver such a platform? General Motors.

Apparently not Skunk Works levels of classified, GM publicly announced the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) on Friday morning. While not the classic image of a motorized vehicle, the design is intended to serve as the underlying architecture of governmental and commercial transports alike. While the specific government applications are a question mark, the platform’s fuel cell system allows it to run silently with a minimal heat signature — making it ideal for sneaking men and munitions behind enemy lines.

At least, that’s the theory. 
General Motors SURUS platform

SURUS is also designed to be undeterred by lousy terrain. Its computerized brain allows for autonomous capabilities, in case you want to drive it through a minefield or something. That system also allows it to be lined up in a convoy of other robot-controlled units. It also has external power ports, which would be ideal for camping or construction.

With four-wheel steering and two motors, the lithium-ion battery pack and second generation Hydrotec fuel cell system allows for a total range of 400 miles. Of course, when you do gas up at the motorpool, there will need to be a hydrogen tanker on hand to accomplish the job. That might handicap it for commercial applications, since the United States’ hydrogen fueling network is one step away from nonexistent. But the U.S. Army typically has to take its fuel into whatever region it’s operating in, so it might not be that big of an issue. Then again, I’m not in the army so it could also be a logistical nightmare.

General Motors SURUS platform

General Motors will showcase SURUS at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) from October 9th through the 11th.

It’s hoping officials will embrace the idea of blank slate electric chassis that can be outfitted to perform whatever task is needed. However, the manufacturer already has a few ideas on how to utilize it and included mockups in its announcement of the platform undertaking all manner of roles 

General Motors SURUS platform

General Motors SURUS platform

General Motors SURUS platform

[Images: General Motors]

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25 Comments on “Here is General Motors’ New ‘Truck’ Intended for Governmental Use...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    sarcasm/ So is this basis of the new Silverado 6500?

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …looks like an evolution of the fuel-cell platform GM introduced fifteen years ago…

    https://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/24/forgotten-concept-2002-gm-autonomy/

  • avatar
    Yuppie

    Are hydrogen fuel cells a good idea in a combat environment?

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    The problem with modular platforms is that they are not optimised for purpose, so for example the centre of gravity will be higher than with a purpose designed off road truck.

    The heat signature thing is a bit of a furphy, fuel cells are not anywhere near 100% efficient, so they still radiate heat.

    Nice clickbait anyway

  • avatar
    brakeless

    The shipping container body style is pretty sporty, but the visibility must be awful.

  • avatar
    Steve65

    For maximum logistical flexibilty, the US military runs virtually all its ground vehicles on commercial grade Jet-A fuel. (as of 2014 anyway). If this can run or be adapted to run on that, it’s got a shot. If it must run on something else, it’s going to be a very tough sell.

    http://blogs.platts.com/2014/02/13/us-defense-department-switching-to-civilian-grade-jet-fuel/

  • avatar
    hurricanehole

    For those not familiar with the USA military. USA military has been a force for good in civil rights and dignity for all members. USA military recognizes that climate change and petro chemical availability is a threat to our security and has strong goals for using renewable energy. Apparently GM has been listening or maybe even asked if they can develop a transportation platform using renewable energy. Looks like a good start to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      This looks like a “future possibilities” design exercise, not a hardware proposal. That is traditionally accomplished with several vendors in competition for a vehicle that meets proposed specs, with a procurement contract as reward. It looks like GM came up with this on their own, possibly in response to a request for development ideas.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Bros rolling water vapor, is sooo much nicer than them rolling coal…….

  • avatar
    George B

    Not happening. Hydrogen one of the most difficult fuels to transport and store. Not ready for the battlefield. What might make sense is a diesel-electric hybrid truck with an electric-only stealth mode and lots of work hiding the heat and sound of the diesel engine.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    Wonder what the ‘Real People, Not Actors’ focus groups will think of it?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    If you do some digging and research you’ll learn some things:

    1) The US military believes climate change is very real, they really don’t care what you or the administration thinks

    2) The US military believes that fossil fuels will eventually run out, they really don’t care what you or the administration thinks

    3) The US military has been investing heavily in non-fossil fuel technology for over a decade now, they really don’t care what you or the administration thinks

    4) This platform was built for a very specific military purpose. You’re not looking at the next HUMVEE of deuce-and-a-half. Modern warfare has created tactical situations where a vehicle needs to be silent for insertion and extraction, on station for days, produce electricity and water silently to support the special forces unit in theater, and not produce a heat signature. GM didn’t yank this out of their @$$

    5) The military has been trying to develop operational ready fuel cells for tactical vehicles for over 30 years, they are pretty invested in the technology (again, do some research)

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      Oh please!

      Such a measured, logical response has no place here. Can’t we go back to reactionary rhetoric.

      Good job.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Nice to know somebody is still taking the concept of The Best and The Brightest seriously.

      Even if the rest of us have long forgotten.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The military looks at every scenario, every method of response, and every potential weapon/device it can think of. Remember the Utah scientists who thought they’d achieved cold fusion? That claim was disproved, but there was something unexplained happening, and there’s been quiet research to find an explanation.

      It might not be a power-source breakthrough, or any kind of hardware to be developed. Whatever the anomaly, the military wants to find out what happened before any other actors do, just in case something can be developed. This is basic science, not a program to develop anything.

      GM got a military research grant and came up with something for the military to consider for further research. All the features are part of the sales pitch to prove the effort was worth the grant money, and maybe score some more research dollars. Nothing more should be read into it.


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