When it comes to doing even the little things that will help turn this planet into a world that has officially gone green, vehicles and how to power those vehicles looks like it might be taking center stage.
Auto recycling has long been one way for people to take what can be quite the contributor to the “greenhouse effect.” Cars and the carbon monoxide they emit have been blamed for the last few decades for helping to put us in the predicament we are in now.
Auto recycling takes vehicles that have met the end of their roads and makes them things that can help us reverse the process of littering up the world with heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Now one of the biggest producers of automobiles in the world has begun talked with the United States military on yet another “green” initiative. GM is working with the military in order to make new fuel cell platform that could greatly reduce the United States’ reliance on fossil fuels.
As Autonews reports, the company is looking to work with the military on a new hydrogen fuel cell platform. Both parties believe that if this is done right, the fuel cell platform could be looked at as “a next step of the broader collaboration to evaluate fuel cell technology for future military applications.”
Officially known as the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) platform, the project between the two entities would lead to a flexible fuel-cell-powered four-wheel concept that has autonomous capabilities. This new kind of vehicle is based on heavy-duty trucks that could roll out in all kinds of different environments and would operate on a single propulsion system that would be able to be built into some of the more well-known chassis designs.
While SURUS is being looked at as being used by the military right now, that doesn’t mean GM sees military options as the only use for this kind of technology. Eventually, the company says it wants to do things like use the same kind of tech on freight, emergency backup systems and light and medium duty trucks including the kinds that are used by first responders. This fuel cell system has a range of more than 400 miles, according to GM. This would mean that when these other kinds of vehicles roll out with this technology, they wouldn’t be burning even close to the same kind of emissions as what you would see when talking about an ambulance moving those kinds of distances running on the kinds of fuels they are currently able to use.
By running on these hydrogen-based fuel cells, there would also be the added bonus that not as many fossil fuels would have to be produced when talking about green initiatives like soy diesel and ethanol. Both of those fuel types still require fossil fuels in order to produce and use them. While GM says this is still a work in progress and they won’t be able to divulge exactly how the fuel cell platform works, it appears as though this could eventually become the norm when it comes to powering vehicles that help people in their daily lives.
General Motors has pointed to the kind of SURUS technology as a big part of this zero-emission strategy. The company has said the platform it is working with the military on is a bit smaller version of what the firm eventually wants to do. The company is looking to scale this same tech to larger vehicles with big payloads that are going to be required to operate over longer distances.
This SURUS project is hardly the only time GM and the military have looked at teaming up. The Army has been working with the fuel cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 on US bases in order to figure out just how viable hydrogen-powered cars are going to be when it comes to mission-based environments. The Army has been running these vehicles in off-road situations in order to look at power generation, lower odor, and sound as well as lower thermal signatures. There has also been testing when it comes to the use of the byproduct water that is discharged by these types of engines.