It looks like a vehicle designed by video game makers but the innovative, Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 was designed by GM in conjunction with the United States Army. According to CNN Money, what makes the ZH2 so special is that it’s super cool and ultra quiet.
Peter Valdes-Dapena with CNN explains:
“The 6½-foot tall ZH2 doesn’t burn hydrogen. Instead, it pumps hydrogen into a fuel cell where it’s combined with oxygen. That creates water (H2O) while, at same time, releasing a stream of electrical energy to power the vehicle.
The big ZH2 is very quiet, but it’s not completely silent. When it starts up there is a whoosh of air being sucked in. When it’s moving, as it did recently through an off-road course at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds, there is some noise from the tires, suspension, electric motors and splashing mud. But, compared to a rumbling diesel truck, it’s nearly silent. In military parlance, there is minimal “accoustic signature.”
Since the truck isn’t burning any fuel, it doesn’t give off much heat that could be picked up by heat-sensing night vision cameras. In other words, there’s not much of a “thermal signature” either.
Added bonus: Soldiers can drink the exhaust.
“We’re not doing it in this vehicle, but it is possible for us to take the exhaust gas from the engine, or the fuel cell, and actually create potable water,” said Brian Butrico, with the U.S. Army’s Research and Development and Engineering Command. “The soldiers can actually create their own drinking water as they’re operating the vehicle.”
Refueling the truck will be different from refueling a truck with liquid fuel. The ZH2’s thick-walled storage tank — GM engineers went through 38 saw blades trying to cut one in half for a display– is filled with compressed hydrogen gas.
Although hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it doesn’t ordinarily exist as a free-floating gas. It has to be extracted from substances that contain hydrogen, like water or hydrocarbon fuels. That can be done using portable devices that can run on solar or battery power or that plug in to a local electrical grid.”
Here’s the full article