GM is trademarking new pickup truck nomenclature for its next-gen off-roaders.
General Motors has filed trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the ZRX and ZH2 nomenclature, indicating two new truck variants could be coming. CarBuzz discovered the trademark filings, both applied for on February 21, 2023, and both filed under multiple categories.
The most important of these, and the primary category for each, was 012 - Motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles. But what could these two names be used for? These will likely be used on Chevrolet trucks; we believe the ZH2 nomenclature will be used for a hydrogen fuel-cell truck, while the ZRX will be an off-roading equivalent to the Ford F-150 Raptor R and Ram 1500 TRX.
The ZRX nomenclature was originally rumored to be used for the Silverado's off-road trim and was previously trademarked in 2019. But when the 2022 truck was revealed, it was the Silverado ZR2 we got. While the ZR2 arrived as an impressive package sporting excellent off-road credentials, the 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque delivered by its 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 was a disappointment compared to the standard F-150 Raptor's 450-hp twin-turbo V6. It also lacked complex suspension for desert running, leaving GM pickup fans in the lurch without a truck to rival the Raptor.
As Chevrolet has already confirmed the ZR2 nomenclature will be used on heavy-duty Silverado models, we believe the ZRX will be positioned above the ZR2 in the hierarchy. Whether it will rival the regular Raptor or the 700-hp Raptor R and Ram TRX remains to be seen. Still, if that's the goal, Chevy only has one engine that can generate anywhere near enough power - the 650-hp supercharged LT4 V8 used in the Camaro ZL1.
As it was simply 'ZRX' filed for with the USPTO, the trim name could also be used on other products like the Colorado.
The ZH2 terminology is not new for Chevrolet but hasn't been used since November 2016, when Chevrolet revealed a demonstration concept called the Colorado ZH2 (pictured) that was to be tested by the US Army in a bid to find the effectiveness of hydrogen fuel cell technology in off-road missions. But that was the last we heard of it. GM's filing with the USPTO suggests the name will be used again; it's only the context in which it will be used that we are unsure of.
One possibility is that the US Army found the fuel cell technology to be a viable means of propelling an off-roader and that the concept has been greenlit for production for military use by GM Defense. However, another more likely scenario is that Chevrolet is planning a new version of the ZH2 truck using the latest fuel cell technology.
Chevrolet has been working with Honda for more than a decade to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology together, and a new ZH2 could be a means of showcasing this tech and how it could be used for GM products.
Like the ZRX trademark, no model was trademarked alongside it, so it remains to be seen whether this will be a Colorado ZH2 as before or perhaps a Silverado ZH2, which was also tested by the military. The latter could be a strong possibility as Chevrolet expands its electrified portfolio.
It has already revealed the Silverado 1500 EV that will battle the F-150 Lightning, but an electric pickup truck has one big flaw - towing impacting driving range. The Ram 1500 REV will counter this by having available range-extender powertrains, but Chevrolet could look to hydrogen fuel cells to fix the issue.
Unlike range extenders, which use a small combustion engine as an electrical generator, fuel cells feed the battery and electric motor using a chemical reaction between hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O), yielding a single primary emission: water. An FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle) variant of the Silverado 1500 would be able to tow and still drive long distances and could be an ideal showcase for the brand.
While we don't have much to go on yet, we suspect details will slowly come to light over the next few months.
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