Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hybrid tech heads to the battlefield

Think $4 a gallon is expensive for fuel? How about $400, or more?

That’s the all-in cost the U.S. Army sometimes pays to transport go-juice to combat troops operating in hostile territory halfway around the world. Factor in the incredibly poor fuel economy of armored vehicles that weigh in excess of 20 tons (think less than 1 mpg) and the price is quickly becoming a bunker buster for military budgets.

To meet the challenge, BAE Systems has been developing a hybrid-powered fighting vehicle for several years and is now moving from prototype to proving grounds.

More like a locomotive than a Toyota Prius, the vehicle uses a diesel engine to generate power for electric motors that drive the tracks. The main advantage to this is a 10-20 percent increase in fuel economy, but the instant and consistent torque provided by the electric motors is an added bonus, and the compact size of the mechanicals means there’s more room for personnel and equipment on board. Its electrical systems can also be used as a mobile power station for operations.

Intended to satisfy the requirements of the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program, which aims to replace a range of vehicles from the Stryker to the Bradley Fighting Vehicle with more efficient designs, BAE’s proposal is a 29-foot-long, 140,000 pound behemoth that can carry 12 troops, has a 25 mm canon in an unmanned turret and a range of 186 miles between those pricey fill-ups.

New from the ground-up, BAE says its high-tech GCV platform can remain an effective fighting machine for the next 30 to 40 years and. Of course, as is the case with hybrid vehicles for the road, the price reflects its advanced underpinnings. Estimates put the cost anywhere between $11-$17 million per unit for the $10.5 billion program, two to four times as much as some of the vehicles it will be taking the place of in the Army of the future.


Why my pickup don't work like this is one of those mysteries of the universe that only the sages can answer


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will work on your truck. All you would need is enough people willing to pay 15 to 20 thousand more (without tax subsidies) to enable someone to build enough of them to cover the costs of manufacturing. Of course you could buy a lot of 4 dollar gas at that rate and not have to worry about maintaining, repairing, replacing all that extra crap on your truck...Or, we could adopt Picken's plan and use readily available tech and domestic resources to convert over the road vehicles to nat gas....

9:52 AM  
Blogger madtom said...

There is no reason it should cost more. In fact it should cost less, much less. An electric motor is ten times less complicated than a transmission, and a hundred times easier to repair or recycle into a brand new one. Works with natural gas as well, and over land trucks

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Military Plaques said...

I'm working on it, no worries!

10:33 AM  
Blogger madtom said...

I'm more worried now.

10:25 PM  

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