Holy. Freaking. Crap.
Have you seen the Chevy Colorado ZH2 yet? Who would have thought that Chevy would decide to build a Colorado pickup truck specifically for the Army? While many automakers say they’re going to build something that looks badass, many of them don’t follow through. But with the ZH2? Calling it a badass is not only an understatement, but an insult. There aren’t enough adjectives I can throw at this thing to describe how simply awesome it is. I mean, just look at it! Pumped-up wheels, an enlarged and raised front-end, gnarly roof racks, and some rear fenders and wheel-wells that put everything else to shame.
It looks like something straight out of Mad Max Fury Road, and that’s a good thing.
Let’s Pretend THIS is the Real Colorado
I loved the other Colorado — until now. Therefore, whenever I hear Colorado, I’m only going to associate this image in my mind. As long as I don’t see another one on the road, I can live happily ever after with the fantasy that the ZH2 is the real Colorado.
All joking aside though, if you’re looking at this rig you’ve probably said to yourself, “There is no way in HELL that this is a Colorado.” In a sense, you’re right. First and foremost, it’s a concept vehicle, which means there’s bound to be some wonky stuff on here.
Bear in mind, this is not a production-spec Colorado. It was actually built in conjunction with the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC). The frame of the ZH2 is stretched, and the whole thing is more than 6.5 feet tall, and wider than 7 feet. It rides on 37-inch off-road tires (sweet baby Jesus, yes!), and the suspension has been modified for terrain so rugged, it would make the Rubicon trail look like a pacifier-sucking newborn.
Other than Being Badass, Why?
So, what’s the point? Well, the H2 part of the name actually stands for hydrogen, which means it’s a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. That’s right, just when you thought this thing couldn’t get any cooler, it does.
But, the whole idea is for Chevy and TARDEC to help prove the capability of hydrogen fuel-cell technology in areas where the Army needs to operate. In order to achieve this goal, the ZH2 utilizes something called an Exportable Power Take-Off unit. This allows the truck to create electricity that can then be used away from the vehicle. How is that helpful? Well, power grids aren’t all that common in the middle of the desert. But, who needs a power grid when you have a badass truck that can turn into a power grid?
The Army also wants to evaluate the truck’s operating ability and lowered thermal signatures, in order to discover some practical applications for its instant and plentiful torque (thanks to electric motors), along with how they can take advantage of using water in the field to make the vehicle run.
While it sounds like it’s just the Army that gets to have all the fun, Chevy is actually going to get plenty of information from this as well, allowing the brand to progress further in the world of hydrogen-fuel cell vehicles, and maybe get something akin to the Colorado ZH2 on the market for your everyday consumer.