General Motors cozied up to the U.S. military earlier this year when it handed over the first fuel-cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 trucks for testing in April. And last week, it revealed GM SURUS, a first-look at the automaker’s future fuel-cell truck platform with military applications in mind. Now, we know where GM is going with these recent announcements.
GM plans to establish “GM Defense,” a military defense division in order to grow its business with the United States military, Automotive News has learned. The new business unit will likely be part of the company’s Global Product Development organization. It represents a major return to military defense work after GM sold its General Dynamic defense unit in 2003.
“This new business structure will enhance GM’s productivity, agility and affordability in a very dynamic customer environment,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business. “Our goal is to make it simpler and more seamless to do business with General Motors.”
The Colorado ZH2 marked GM’s first potential offering for the U.S. military, but last week, the SURUS announcement previewed a larger-scale operation. SURUS, which stands for Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure, is a platform – not a vehicle – that GM plans to use for building various vehicles. It houses self-driving capabilities, fuel-cell power and the automaker can scale it to various sizes for many uses. GM specifically named the military operations as a potential beneficiary of SURUS, though, it also said SURUS may underpin light- and medium-duty cargo trucks among other vehicles. The platform was not designed specifically for military defense applications.
Prior to the two land-vehicle programs, GM also revealed a fuel-cell powered unmanned undersea vehicle for testing.
GM hasn’t said where it will situate GM Defense and didn’t provide additional details surrounding its discussions with the U.S. military. SURUS will be on display at the Association of the U.S. Army this week in Washington, D.C.