Earlier this week, General Motors announced the opening of their new GM Defense production facility in Concord, North Carolina. This 75,000 square-foot plant is slated to be the base of production for the Infantry Squad Vehicle, or ISV. GM Defense received a $214.3 million contract from the U.S. Army to build 2,065 units of the troop hauler, which shares 90 percent of its components with the road-going Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. While these components have already been approved by the feds, it appears that GM might be trying something new with the platform. More specifically, the automaker has officially built a GM Defense electric ISV prototype.
The ISV Goes Electric
The GM Defense electric ISV prototype is currently a one-off project. That said, it is possible that the armed forces will transition towards utilizing more EVs in the future. To build the concept, General Motors pulled the 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel out of the Infantry Squad Vehicle, and replaced it with a single electric motor. The motor is reportedly placed under the hood, which is a bit abnormal for an electric vehicle. The electric ISV currently only features rear-wheel drive, but GM Defense has suggested that it will be possible to run the motor through a transfer case in the future. Feeding the motor is a 60 kWh, 400-volt battery that provides between 70 and 150 miles of range. Output is rated at 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. In diesel spec, the GM Defense ISV produces 186 horsepower and 369 lb-ft.
Likely a result of range concerns, GM Defense also replaced the rear section of the electric ISV prototype with a pickup bed. This reduces passenger capacity to just five, compared to the standard unit which carries nine soldiers. This reason alone likely makes the vehicles less enticing for the armed forces, as they’d be required to purchase nearly double the number of ISVs. Furthermore, charging an electric vehicle in a combat zone is definitely going to present some challenges. Surely chargers could be installed on bases, but how those bases are powered present another discussion entirely. Since the early days of the War on Terror however, the U.S. military has tried to reduce their dependence on diesel, as convoys of the fuel present easy targets for enemy combatants.
A GM Defense ISV Electric A Prototype For The Time Being
We likely won’t see a production variant of the GM Defense electric ISV prototype join the military anytime soon. That said, the design at least serves as a proof of concept. Furthermore, it is possible that the learning from this project could help further the automaker’s EV efforts. Regardless, this thing has to be fun to drive with that instant torque and open-air cockpit.