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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • 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?

  • Charles The UAW makes me the opposite of patriotic
  • El scotto Wranglers are like good work boots, you can't make them any better. Rugged four wheel drive vehicles which ironically make great urban vehicles. Wagoneers were like handbags desired by affluent women. They've gone out of vogue. I can a Belgian company selling Jeep and Ram Trucks to a Chinese company.
  • El scotto So now would be a good time to buy an EV as a commuter car?
  • ToolGuy $1 billion / 333.3 million = $3 per U.S. person ¶ And what do I get for my 3 bucks -- cleaner air and lower fuel prices? I might be ok with this 🙂🙂
  • VoGhost Matt, I'm curious why you write that inventory levels are low at 74 days. Typically, 60 days is the benchmark for normal inventory.