Since retiring from his role as Vice President of Operations at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering in 2016, Mike Copeland has been keeping busy with Diversified Creations – a Brighton, Michigan-based custom vehicle shop he started for his son back in 2004. We saw just how wild things can get from Copeland and Diversified Creations during the 2019 SEMA Show, when they introduced “Outrage” – a mid-engined Dodge Rampage truck. And soon, Copeland will be introducing something truly awesome and wholly unique later in the month: a hydrogen-powered small-block Chevy V8 that will power a 1948 Chevrolet truck.
When we think of hydrogen and passenger vehicles, we tend to think of hydrogen fuel cells, like the one being deployed in boutique supercar manufacturer Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus’s new zero-emissions off-road truck. Those are systems in which pressurized hydrogen is released into special fuel cells where a chemical reaction with oxygen takes place, producing sufficient electrical current to drive one or more electric traction motors. It’s all very green – by far the most abundant byproducts in the reaction are heat and water – but also quiet and, well, a bit boring.
But don’t forget: hydrogen also happens to be quite flammable. Like, really flammable. That means that it can be used as a combustible fuel just like gasoline, but without any unsavory carbon byproducts like carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide. The hydrogen combustion process does result in some nitrous oxide emissions, much like a diesel engine, so it’s not totally guilt-free. Still, it’s an under-appreciated potential avenue that performance-obsessed fans of Chevy’s legendary LS and other internal combustion engines could explore further as governments around the world clamp down on fossil fuel usage.
Details on Copeland’s new hydrogen-fueled supercharged small-block Chevy V8 are scarce at the moment. Neither the company’s website nor its social media channels have said anything about the motor, and the Specialty Equipment Market Association has said only that it’s a supercharged LS, and that it will be used to propel a ’48 Chevrolet truck. But knowing that the mighty Mike Copeland is behind it, we have no doubt that it will be good.