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GM provides a few more details on SURUS fuel cell four-wheel steer concept truck

Earlier this month, GM outlined its electric path to zero emissions, and introduced SURUS—the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS)—a fuel-cell-powered, four-wheel steer concept vehicle on a heavy-duty truck frame that’s driven by two electric motors. (Earlier post.) Now, GM has provided a few additional insights into the construction of and role for SURUS.

SURUS leverages GM’s newest Hydrotec fuel cell system, autonomous capability and truck chassis components to deliver high-performance, zero-emission propulsion to minimize logistical burdens and reduce human exposure to harm. Benefits include quiet and odor-free operation, off-road mobility, field configuration, instantaneous high torque, exportable power generation, water generation and quick refueling times.


Fuel cell technology represents a key piece of General Motors’ zero emission strategy. It offers a solution that can scale to larger vehicles with large payload requirements and operate over longer distances. SURUS was designed to form a foundation for a family of commercial vehicle solutions that leverages a single propulsion system integrated into a common chassis.

The SURUS platform is equally well-suited for adaptation to military environments where users can take advantage of flexible energy resources, field configurability and improved logistical characteristics. GM is evaluating multiple applications for SURUS, such as:

  • Utility trucks
  • Mobile and emergency backup power generation
  • Flexible cargo delivery systems
  • Commercial freight
  • Light- and medium-duty trucks, improving upon the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 that has been evaluated by the US military under guidance of the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and is undergoing testing on bases (earlier post) (The ZH2 is the first fuel cell vehicle to wear the GM Hydrotec badge, a familial tie to the Ecotec gasoline engines.)
  • Future military-specific configurations

SURUS will deliver highly mobile autonomous capability and agility in unpredictable terrain. Operating multiple vehicles in a leader-follower configuration could reduce manpower needed.

For future potential military uses, the system’s inherent low heat signature and quiet operation offer benefits in environments to reduce detection and risks. TARDEC has been in discussions with GM evaluating the commercial SURUS concept as a next step of the broader collaboration to evaluate fuel cell technology for future military applications.

The Exportable Power Takeoff (EPTO) feature demonstrates how high-voltage DC from the fuel cell stack could be converted to both high- and low-voltage AC to power tools or equipment. Click to enlarge.

SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments. General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers.

—Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business

The SURUS platform leverages GM’s vast experience in fuel cell technology, high-voltage batteries and electric drive systems, autonomous driving and vehicle manufacturing. The platform features:

  • Two advanced electric drive units
  • Four-wheel steering
  • Lithium-ion battery system
  • Gen 2 fuel cell system
  • Hydrogen storage system capable of more than 400 miles of range
  • Advanced propulsion power electronics
  • GM truck chassis components
  • An advanced, industry-leading suspension

The SURUS commercial platform draws on GM’s more than 50 years of research and development of fuel cell technology. The scalable and adaptable technology enables land, sea and air applications across commercial and military environments.

Since April 2017, the Army has been testing the commercial Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 on its US bases to determine the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles in military mission tactical environments. The vehicle has been operating in off-road conditions to evaluate its power generation, reduced odor, acoustic and thermal signatures, high wheel torque, extended operating range and the potential to use the byproduct water.

Military testing has shown the ZH2 reduced acoustic non-detection distance by 90% compared to current military vehicle in operation. This means the ZH2 can get 10 times closer before being detected. Leaders also observed the potential advantages for stationary power generation over diesel generators, including a significant reduction in idle noise and fuel use. Testing will continue through spring 2018.

Partnerships remain an important part of GM’s electrification strategy. Last year, the US Navy unveiled a GM fuel cell-powered Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) for testing purposes that leverages GM fuel cell technology common with the Colorado ZH2.

General Motors aims to solve some of the toughest transportation challenges created by natural disasters, complex logistics environments and global conflicts. The company will display its Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS), a flexible fuel cell electric platform with autonomous capabilities, at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) from 9-11 October 2017. The commercially designed platform could be adapted for military use.



The whole world is moving to EVs as fast as their little feet can carry them, and these assclowns are still playing with fuel cells.

When do they start firing people who waste money at GM for this crap?


The U.S. car makers will be the last to transition to EVs as long as their propaganda works on the average Joe and the fossil fuel companies continue their political payoffs to Trump and the Republicans. Watching the shenanigans in Washington D.C. proves once again how little truth is valued by the current central government.

For those of us who keep up, it's a damn disaster to watch and wait for all this to play out when people are dying from smog and the Planet is rotting in fossil fuel fumes.

Ramsey Eldib

How often would a truck like this travel 400 miles in a day? If it was stationed in a cold area up north, away from solar, the Fuel Cell would be efficient providing heat and electricity (cogeneration), but wouldn't it be more efficient to have the fuel cell stationary, produce the heat for the buildings and create electricity for a BEV truck. Why would you want to haul the fuel cell and large H2 tanks on the truck?


Ramsey nailed it. I have nothing against fuel cells if you use them correctly. Why wouldn't you use a stationary fuel cell to to generate the electricity for the base and the vehicles and just make the vehicle an EV?


I am at a loss to understand both the bitterness and the mathematics.

Why would you use stationary fuel cells, which then have to charge an expensive large battery in a truck, which will in cold weather lose a lot of range when the fuel cells can be put in the vehicle, and the excess heat keeps the occupants and the small battery at optimum temperature with minimal loss of range and still zero emissions?

That is aside from the fact that for any given weight the fuel cell vehicle will have more range even in temperate weather, as complete with the rest of the equipment and the carbon fibre tank it is far lighter than any battery we have.

It can also be somewhat inconvenient if you need your fighting vehicle and the battery is flat, whereas a hydrogen vehicle can be refuelled in similar time to a diesel one.


I meant to add that charging the battery entails 15% or so losses, why do that when the fuel cell can be in the truck if you are using fuel cells anyway?


FC powered all terrains vehicles could quickly become one of the best solution to supply emergency power to disaster areas.

With the near term increase in extreem weather changes and more hurricanes, FEMA and the Armed Forces could certainly use a few thousand of those.

Extreem weather will likely/soon move from shores, further inland and those clean energy generators on wheels could make life much easier for many?

The Armed forces and Security Budgets should finance the first 100,000+ units.

Of course, 10,000 portable/transportable H2 production units should be part of the project.


With many current designs offering choice of power train options we could assume that this 'virtual mule' F.C. will also allow that versatility.

Lego trucks?



If you are using diesel technology that in a car or truck is quite a bit less efficient than installing a purpose built one, and of course need adequate ventilation for inside use etc.

The case is very different for fuel cell vehicles, as if they have a plug to take power out work fine as generators, inside or out.


Interesting detail of the body attachment with the girder bridge rendering above. There is an opportunity to build structural or engineered bodies along these lines for weight and strength optimisation.

An advanced, industry-leading suspension? No clues here but surely fixed motor/s/differential with drop shafts (among others)should be on the list for reassessment. It must be possible to build a complete drive assembly including motor and suspension that performs better and weighs substantially less than the many nearly 100 Y.O. examples.


Using Sun and/or Wind to produce H2 (plenty of both where Hurricanes normally take place) could make mobile FC units extremely useful for FEMA and population in disaster areas?

Since H2 can be stored locally for extended periods, small to large mobile/fixed FCs could produce/supply all the e-energy required during extreme storms and when (neglected) grid is down, without noice, pollution and GHG?

Make those vehicles more waterproof + larger wheels and mass produce???


GM has announced they will be producing only electrified vehicles both EV and FC. GM stock has performed exceptionally well and pays a 5% dividend. It's an excellent investment.


That "announcement" was a VP telling a reporter "some day".

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