GM Touts Truck-Based Autonomous Fuel Cell Platform

General Motors Co. is developing a multi-purpose, truck-based platform designed to run autonomously with a fuel cell-electric powertrain.

GM envisions vehicles built off the platform, dubbed Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS), being used for a variety of commercial and emergency service trucks. The later could include use during natural disasters, complex logistics environments, war zones and other harsh conditions worldwide.

SURUS combines existing truck chassis components with GM’s second-generation fuel cell system and lithium-ion batteries. The on-board hydrogen storage system can provide a range of 400 miles, with propulsion provided by a pair of electric motors.

Other features include four-wheel steering and what’s described as an “industry-leading” suspension. GM offered no details about the automated vehicle functions.

Among the initial applications being evaluated for the platform are:

  • utility trucks
  • mobile and emergency backup power generation
  • flexible cargo delivery systems
  • commercial freight
  • light- and medium-duty trucks

GM says the architecture improves upon the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2  currently being tested by the U.S. military. Benefits of the fuel cell system include a low heat signature and quiet operation that could allow a vehicle to get 10 times closer to a target without detection than a conventional vehicle. SURUS also could be used as a power and water generation station.