Military Hybrids and EVs

The US military is interested in Electric powered vehicles (EVs) and Hybrid Gas/electric vehicles (HEVs). A common reason civilian adoption of EV has been slow is the cost of creating an infrastructure to fuel them. The time it takes to charge an electric vehicle is not conducive to just popping in to fuel up, as one does with a gas, diesel, or even propane. However, the infrastructure issue isn’t as big a deal for the military as they frequently have to build infrastructure on the fly (think MASH units, mobile communications, and refueling stations).

Advantages of vehicle that could be powered by more than one source like a hybrid are many. It would be flexible in longer campaigns, especially considering the use of regenerative braking, which allows the vehicle to recoup vehicle inertia back into potential energy by recharging the batteries. Another possible advantage is silent running, as electric motors don’t make very much noise.

Still another potential advantage for EV’s and HEV’s (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) would be modular design capability. This refers to the military’s recent passion for retrofitting equipment. When you spend up to a billion dollars each for certain vehicles it’s frustrating when they become obsolete quickly do to technological advances. The US military must remain cutting edge, but modular design allows them to avoid replacing their entire fleet every year. One example of would be the refit nose cones and tale parts that allow the Air Force to turn bombs originally designed to fall on enemy targets in WWII, into guided bombs able to steer toward a specific target. Only with modular design vehicles a single powertrain and suspension could be quickly refitted for use as an armored troop carrier, a tank, or a cargo transport.

However, the real advantage is the degree to which military vehicles already use increased electronics. With onboard radar guiding systems, satellite communications, electronic counter measure, and so on, adding a generation source is sort of a no-brainer.

The military seems hesitant to take the plunge on EVs and HEVs until the tech advances a little. Specifically, the battery life and overall vehicle range needs to improve. However, experts anticipate military EV’s and/or HEVs in the next five to seven years.

Link to more research.

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  1. Pingback: Electrical and Hybrid – Early Influencers | The Kicker Blog

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