Here is General Motors' New 'Truck' Intended for Governmental Use

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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.

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 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

[Images: General Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Carguy67 Carguy67 on Oct 07, 2017

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

  • APaGttH APaGttH on Oct 08, 2017

    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)

    • See 2 previous
    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Oct 09, 2017

      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.

  • Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
  • CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
  • Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.
  • El scotto ooops, the third shot is at the gas pump voice-over saying "Yep, you can refill whenever you want."
  • El scotto The opening shot of the ad: Show a PHEV running a quarter mile, in about seven seconds and silently with the voice-over saying "What you want to do, all on electrons"; segue to bumper-to-bumper traffic and the voice-over saying "What you really do; all on electrons for your first 80 miles".