April 5, 2005 General Motors and the U.S. Army yesterday announced they are partnering to introduce the world's first fuel cell-powered truck into U.S. military service. The U.S. Army took delivery of the crew cab pickup at the GM research facility outside of Rochester, NY, where the vehicle's two fuel cell power modules were made. Marking the occasion was Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was instrumental in securing the funds in the 2005 Department of Defense appropriations on behalf of GM's experimental truck.
"The work that GM is doing here in Honeoye Falls represents extraordinary promise for New York State and indeed the entire nation. Securing the funds to make this project possible was a critical step in the right direction. I'm thrilled to have helped and been able to play a role in today's announcement," said Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The modified Chevrolet Silverado is equipped with two 94 kW fuel cell stacks, capable of generating 188 kW and 317 foot-pounds of torque, or roughly the motor torque generated by GM's 5.3 liter V-8 engine.
"Fuel cell vehicles are a good match with U.S. Army goals," said Elizabeth A. Lowery, GM's vice president for Environment and Energy. "We are committed to the development of new technologies that will improve fuel consumption and reduce vehicle emissions. Fuel cell systems are both clean and quiet, and therefore, can provide a battlefield advantage.
"Our partnership with the U.S. Army will familiarize the military with the next-generation of commercially-developed fuel cell technology, will help us drive down costs, create potential for future joint development of fuel cells and promote the development of a hydrogen infrastructure."
The U.S. Army has the largest fleet of vehicles in the world. Improving fuel economy and reducing the logistics of the fuel supply chain could save millions of dollars. For example, it cost the U.S. Army up to $400 a gallon of gas to ship fuel to Iraq and Afghanistan.
GM has a history of working with the military on their transportation needs. The automaker produces more than half of the non-tactical military vehicles purchased each year.
The U.S. Army will evaluate the experimental truck until July 2006 at an Army base in Ft. Belvoir, Va. The vehicle will be used to deliver packages but will not be used in combat. Rigorous testing is planned in different climates and locations around the U.S. to assess performance and give the military first-hand experience with hydrogen and fuel cells.
Despite weighing 7,500 pounds, the GMT800 accelerates in a similar fashion to a V-8 powered production truck, but produces no tailpipe emissions. Fuel cells chemically convert hydrogen into electricity and water. Three 10,000 psi compressed hydrogen storage tanks, provided by Quantum Technologies, will provide a range of 125 miles, even though the vehicle was not optimized for range.
U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM)
The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command gets technology out of the laboratories and puts it into the hands of warfighters as quickly as possible. RDECOM manages eight laboratories and research, development and engineering centers, plus the U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity, System of Systems Integration, international technology centers, and capability and technology integrated process teams. RDECOM maintains liaisons to the field, hundreds of international agreements, and engineer and scientist exchange programs. RDECOM has more than 17,000 military, civilian and direct contractor personnel, a multi-billion dollar annual budget and is responsible for 75 percent of the Army's science and technology objectives. RDECOM provides direct support of the technical base to Future Combat Systems and Future Force, ensuring the nation has the protection it needs for the 21st century and beyond.