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How The U.S. Military Has Renewed The Search For The Electric Car

September 18th, 2013 by in Engineering with 271 Views

The United States military is rewriting the rules of electricity-induced cars. Instead of storing electricity supplied by the electric grid, the next generation of electric cars will be engineered to supply self-generated electricity to the electric grid. Integrating a variety of onboard electric generating technologies into combat and tactical wheeled vehicles, that is the approach the U.S. military is undertaking.

Modern military operations have changed course from historical modes of conflict where force-on-force combat occurred on a “front line”, thus the difference between combat and logistical vehicles is close to none. Logistics and other noncombat vehicles commonly face the same range of threats as combat vehicles. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly necessary for the full spectrum of military vehicles to generate significant amounts of electrical power.

Non-combat vehicles continue to be designed to accommodate combat-grade vehicle electronic systems, what in the military is called “vectronics,” including sensors, jammers and communication and control equipment. The focus now is on the support for the electric power needed to operate these systems. In the past, military support vehicles had relatively modest power requirements with onboard electric loads seldom exceeding that required to support a single radio system. And not long ago, vehicle electronic systems could be run for short periods of time without starting the vehicle’s engine. On the contrast, it is becoming increasingly necessary to keep vehicle engines running continuously to power the electronic equipment required for the vehicle to complete its intended mission.

There is the need to power the vast emerging sensors and communication systems installed in military vehicles. This is putting a strain to current vehicle power systems. Power requirements for vehicles has grown tremendously and the long term service life of most military vehicles is short of meeting the anticipated new power demands in the not so-distant future. This has resulted to military vehicles being designed to include a variety of on-board power generators capable of generating significant amounts of electricity while the vehicle is in standby.

Have you head of Transmission-Integral Generators (TIG)? They are one of the most widely adopted on-board generator technologies. They are fully integrated transmission and power systems capable of generating as much as 125KW from the engine drive shaft to support the vast electronic sensors, jammers and communication equipment being developed for the military’s fleet of vehicles.

One example is see on DRS Technologies, the Huntsville, AL-based subsidiary of Italy’s industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica SpA.  It has begun implementing TIGs on the U.S. Army’s High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles, commonly referred to as Humvees. It has given it the name On-Board Vehicle Power (OBVP) system.

TIGs is not the only technology in town. A start-up company founded last year in Royal Oak, MI, completed a demonstration project in July that used the propulsion system from a General Dynamics’ Electric Drive (eDrive) armored vehicle to produce electricity for a Tactical Modular Mobile MicroGrid (TM3) power system. Furthermore, Oshkosh Defense has developed the ProPulse hybrid diesel electric system for military vehicles, which can produce enough electricity to power an entire airfield or hospital.

  • Guest

    This would be a good documentary

  • MD Golam Rabbani

    The US military is the world most powerful military. If they concentrate their mind to the weal-fear of people, that will be best. We don’t want war but peace!

  • Sakil Hossen

    Electric vehicle is an amazing exception to US military. Although USA military have all the latest types of devices for their work development, thus such vehicles are not so huge comparing the confidential development they’re having in progress.