Heavy Duty Military Hybrids
While the most common market available hybrid vehicles are designed to be as light as possible
, another hybrid platform is designed to carry 140, 000 lbs fully loaded. This is the Ground Combat Vehicle and is manufactured by BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman.
To the common civilian, it may look like a tank but according to the BAE Vice President for Ground Combat Vehicles, Mark Signorelli, it may be used for many other military vehicle applications during its use. The vehicle has been approved for development and the main client would be the US Department of Defense, with each vehicle costing about $11 million.
The vehicle's powertrain is a series-hybrid design, similar to the Chevrolet Volt together with diesel locomotives and ships. The set up includes two electric motors that generates 700 horsepower to drive the vehicle's tracks. A lithium ion battery pack provides electricity and there are two generators fueled by two diesel engines that charge the battery. This platform can be operated in just battery power and when the battery supply decreases to a certain level, the diesel engines are kick started to re-energize the battery pack and provide support energy for the motors. Only electric cables create the circuit from the generator units to the drive motors.
This configuration, according to BAE provides efficient set up of the powertrain and since the generators and their support engines are independent of the powertrain, they can be placed anywhere on the vehicle allowing for multi-functional configurations of the vehicle. There are no external plugging devices since all of the power can be generated from within the power packs and external power users, such as weapons systems or other devices, can be plugged into the vehicle for use during combat.
The vehicle has a lower maintenance cost and superior fuel economy compared to other vehicle configurations in its class. It is built more of a racecar compared to a truck, according to its designers. The system was engineered to provide thirty percent more power than the vehicle's requirements, allowing for external options for the vehicle's use. The electric motor's initial torque can provide for high speeds and quick response.
This vehicle platform provides the great potential of electric vehicles in both commercial and military applications. While the US military establishment has many electric vehicles in use, often for transport and support services, this would be the first time that forward mode vehicle would be set up this way to provide direct tactical service in the battlefield.
by: Bobby Castro
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