The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is one of our favorite trucks on the road today. Because this mid-size truck is packed to the gills with off-roading upgrades like a two -nch suspension lift, Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve dampers in their first off-road application, front and rear electronic locking differentials, and functional rock sliders just to name a few things. While the ZR2 currently does battle against the like of the Jeep Gladiator at home, it may soon, in a way, find itself on actual battlefields abroad.
According to Defense News, the U.S. Army has selected GM Defense to participate in the competition for the right to produce Infantry Squad Vehicles meant to provide added ground mobility for infantry teams. According to a statement by GM Defense, their ISV is based on the Chevrolet Colorado midsize truck, specifically the proven ZR2 and ZR2 Bison models.
Despite the lineage, these trucks will certainly be far from stock, as GM Defense stated the vehicles would be “supplemented with both custom and commercially available parts proven by Chevy Performance engineering in more than 10,000 miles of punishing off-road development and desert racing in the Best of the Desert Racing series.”
The U.S. Army had planned on holding a rapid competition similar to this one back in 2016 to replace their aging GMVs, but the plan never got off the ground. Congress stepped in and mandated the Army to move forwards with their plans in the FY18 defense policy bill, leading to the current competition. It’s unclear how much the awarded defense contract will be worth.
Defense News also reports that the Army has asked for a vehicle that can provide mobility for a nine-soldier infantry squad, as well as all of their necessary equipment on a close-quarters battlefield. The Army also specified that the vehicle should be highly mobile and lightweight for ease of transport, including by way of service helicopters or low-velocity airdrop.
While we don’t have any real information as to what has been done to the Colorado ZR2 to make it battle ready, the changes are likely dramatic. Despite the ZR2 being sold to civilians with a 3.6L gas powered V6 as standard, the optional 2.8L turbo-diesel is the more likely engine candidate.
That said, those who have been paying close attention understand that nearly all of GM’s hydrogen fuel cell R&D is tied up with GM Defense, and the automaker has already teased ideas of how it would like to implement this technology. The first was the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 concept, a fuel-cell military truck based on the Colorado ZR2 (pictured up top), and looks like something straight out of the Halo videogame. The followup was the T1-based Chevrolet Silverado ZH2 concept (pictured above and below), which was the same idea as the Colorado ZH2, just larger. With this in mind, the ISV that GM Defense will come up with could indeed utilize hydrogen fuel cell technology. Whether or not the Army is ready for something like that is another question entirely.