GM Defense Wants You to Wage War With a Green, Off-road Silverado HD

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
gm defense wants you to wage war with a green off road silverado hd

When Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, infamously tweeted her country’s congratulations to Syria’s despotic leadership for its commitment to fighting climate change (a tweet reviewed and approved by 31 civil servants), it became clear that, for some, the environment ranks higher than anything else.

In the military world, it’s true that armies and their suppliers are often not nearly as concerned about the environment as their country’s leaders, but green vehicles are making tentative baby steps into this arena. At GM Defense LLC, zero-emission vehicles are a top field of focus, but the lakes and the frogs and the trees aren’t exactly top of mind. Rather, there’s practical military attributes to be found in green vehicles, and that’s why there’s a second zero-emission Chevrolet concept rolling out of the automaker’s defense arm.

You remember the hydrogen fuel cell-powered Colorado ZH2, right? Well, the nature of the Silverado ZH2 shouldn’t be a mystery. Like its little brother, which was based on the off-road ZR2 (sans tailpipe), this Silverado is powered by the latest fuel cell technology.

Fuel cells allow vehicles to produce their own electricity through the chemical reaction between hydrogen gas and the materials contained within the cell, with the only byproduct being drinkable water. This brings with it many advantages. With current flowing to an electric drive motor, such a vehicle can be very stealthy, and not just due to the lack of engine noise. Unlike vehicles boasting a big, hot V8 beneath their hood, fuel cell vehicles have a much-reduced heat signature, making them harder to spot by high-tech opponents (who might also have heat-seeking weaponry).

As well, a vehicle that produces water might come in handy on lengthy forays into scorching regions of a battle zone.

A video posted to GM Defense’s website shows the A-Teamed Silverado HD being put through its paces (in this case, digitally) to show off the larger ZH2’s potential in all terrains and climates. Tagging along, R2D2-style, for the ride are various vehicles built on the defense unit’s hydrogen-powered SURUS platform.

There’s dust and suspension travel (Multimatic DSSV dampers can be seen) and skid plates galore, but no gore. Just all-terrain capability, plus the bonus of having a vehicle that can act as a power station and water generator. GM Defense boasts of the vehicles’ next-gen HydroTec fuel cell, fed by three tanks nestled in the protected confines of the ladder frame. Range is a claimed 400 miles.

It’s interesting to note that this Silverado HD does not look like the aging, current-gen pickup, and not just because of the modifications. Is this a teaser of a different sort? GM’s not saying.

While the Silverado ZH2, like the Colorado ZH2, could become a tool of the U.S. military or that of a foreign power for special operations, it remains to be seen whether hydrogen’s positive attributes will overcome the fuel’s negatives. Mainly, that’s it’s very difficult to source.

[Images: GM Defense]

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2 of 8 comments
  • TimK TimK on Nov 07, 2018

    Love that promo shot of the three tucks in dust — looks like a scene lifted straight from “Road Warrior”.

  • Doug-g Doug-g on Nov 07, 2018

    I wonder if GM just leaked the 2020 Silverado HD?

  • SCE to AUX Probably couldn't afford it - happens all the time.
  • MaintenanceCosts An ugly-a$s Challenger with poor equipment choices and an ugly Dealership Default color combination, not even a manual to redeem it, still no sale.
  • Cha65689852 To drive a car, you need human intelligence, not artificial intelligence.Unfortunately, these days even human brains are turning into mush thanks to addiction to smartphones and social media.
  • Mike1041 A nasty uncomfortable little car. Test drove in 2019 in a search for a single car that would appease two drivers. The compromise was not much better but at least it had decent rear vision and cargo capacity. The 2019 Honda HRV simply was too unforgiving and we ditched after 4 years. Enter the 23 HRV and we have a comfy size.
  • SCE to AUX I wonder who really cares about this. "Slave labor" is a useful term for the agendas of both right and left."UAW Wants Auto Industry to Stop Using Slave Labor"... but what will the UAW actually do if nothing changes?With unrelenting downward pressure on costs in every industry - coupled with labor shortages - expect to see more of this.Perhaps it's my fault when I choose the $259 cell phone over the $299 model, or the cheaper parts at RockAuto, or the lower-priced jacket at the store.Do I care about an ethical supply chain? Not really, I just want the product to work - and that's how most consumers are. We'd rather not know.Perhaps the 1990s notion of conflict-free, blood-free, ethically-sourced diamonds will find its way into the auto industry. That would be a good thing.