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Posted on June 1, 2011 by  & 

Profiles of military electric vehicle suppliers

Here are some of the more interesting suppliers and developers of electric vehicles for the US Military.

AeroVironment Inc

AeroVironment Inc develops and produces Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Efficient Electric Energy Technologies including charging infrastructure. AV has a DARPA funded program to develop micro nano air vehicles. They employ flapping wings like an insect or a hummingbird. A precursor is the rigid AeroVironment Mercury Nano Air Vehicle NAV which is about the size of a hummingbird.
 
Nano air vehicle
Source: AeroVironment
 
The most successful electric Unmanned Aerial Vehicle UAV is the AeroVironment Raven with over 13,000 built since 2004. The most technologically advanced small UAV deployed by the U.S. Armed Forces, it can fly manually or autonomously, and is used for surveillance and reconnaissance.
 
 
AV has families of small ie. SUAVs that leverage similar technology. Aqua Puma is launched by hand, lands directly onto the sea surface and is recovered by hand from vessels. The operator tracks both stationary and moving targets, providing real-time intelligence with persistent low-altitude reconnaissance.
 
In 2007, a $4.7 million, five-year IDIQ contract called for several development tasks designed to improve the efficiency and flight duration of small unmanned aircraft systems by improving electric motor efficiency, integration of solar cells into aircraft wings, and exploration of hydrogen storage technologies. AV worked with Protonex Technology to develop the fuel cell battery hybrid energy storage system, with hydrogen generation technology licensed from Millennium Cell Inc. Puma's standard propulsion system involved rechargeable batteries with flight time of 2.5 hours.
 
Large electrical UAVs are intended to travel slowly in the upper atmosphere using solar power for long endurance - even years. They are very lightweight. Their purpose is usually surveillance, with a considerable cost saving over satellites.
Source: AeroVironment
 
In August 2010, AV announced that the first aircraft developed under the Global Observer™ Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program successfully completed its first flight. This "stratospheric geosynchronous satellite system" promises regional coverage and no signal delay. It is intended to provide mission capabilities that include persistent communications relay, robust observation over areas with little or no existing coverage, the ability to relocate the system as required by theater commanders, dedicated communications support to other unmanned aircraft systems UAS and tactical on-station weather monitoring and data support.
Global Observer first flight August 2010
 
AeroVironment's chief test pilot operated the aircraft from the portable Launch and Recovery Element. The hybrid-electric aircraft flew for the first time under battery power. Later, a liquid hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system powered it through high altitude, long endurance joint operational utility assessment.
 
 
Global Observer systems are designed to fly at 55,000 to 65,000 feet for 5 - 7 days. In addition to flying above weather and above other conventional aircraft, operation in this altitude regime permits communications and sensor payloads on the aircraft to service an area on the surface of the earth up to 600 miles in diameter, equivalent to more than 280,000 square miles of coverage. Equipped with payloads that are readily available today, two Global Observer aircraft would alternate coverage over any location on the globe every 5 to 7 days, making this the first solution to provide customers with practical, seamless coverage, wherever and whenever required.

Aurora flight sciences

Aurora Flight Sciences' "Orion" unmanned aircraft system has been competitively selected by the US Air Force Research Laboratory for the Medium Altitude Global ISR and Communications MAGIC unmanned aircraft system UAS contract. MAGIC is a new start under the Department of Defense's Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program to demonstrate 5-day endurance flying at 20,000 ft with 1,000 lbs payload.

BAE Systems plc

Several companies are competing for a future army program to demonstrate plug-in versions of the US Army FMTV truck. The $40 billion UK Company BAE Systems has extensive US interests and is participating.
 
 
It makes electric vehicles and their power trains for land, sea and air. For example, it built a two-wheel drive hybrid FMTV truck, under contract to the FMTV manufacturer Stewart and Stevenson back in 1999. BAE then developed a six-wheel-drive hybrid prototype as part of a technology demonstration under the Future Combat Systems FCS program. This truck demonstrated improved fuel economy, compared to conventionally driven FMTV truck. The vehicle could also produce 200 kW of continuous exportable power. BAE Systems is also a leader in hybrid bus power trains and these buses are used by the US Military today.

Balqon Corporation

Balqon develops military and commercial heavy duty electric trucks, tractors and electric drive systems. It uses its proprietary flux vector motor technology in 10 to 50 ton capacity vehicles and material handling equipment. Balqon Corporation's current product line of tow tractors built on Autocar LLC chassis is designed to transport containers at military bases and other facilities.
 
Balqon Corporation Model Nautilus E-20 is an all electric Terminal Tractor that can carry loads up to 60,000 lb. with a range of 40 miles on a single charge. The vehicle is equipped with fast charge system to allow the vehicle to be fully charged in 30-45 minutes. Model E-20 is designed to transport containers at shipping ports and large warehouses.

Lockheed Martin Inc

Lockheed Martin Inc has many military EV projects. For example, it makes AUVs for the US Navy. On land, a HybriDriveTM hybrid electric drivetrain from Lockheed Martin has been installed in a Volvo VNL64 tractor as part of a big-rig project funded by the US Army's Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command. This employs a standard Class 8 Volvo tractor with a 460-horsepower Cummins engine powering a hybrid drive with two 250-hp motors. Fuel savings of 20 - 25 % are achieved, but could reach 40% during some duty cycles. Radian, Inc. was prime contractor, with Lockheed Martin Control Systems and Volvo Trucks North America as subcontractors.

MillenWorks

MillenWorks Light Utility Vehicle has an all wheel drive parallel hybrid powertrain for reduced fuel consumption while providing extended silent watch capability and onboard power.
 
 
MillenWorks Light Utility Vehicle
Source: MillenWorks

Oshkosh Truck Corp

Oshkosh Truck Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of military vehicles and vehicle bodies. It has been awarded an $878 million contract by the U.S. Army's Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command TACOM to continue producing the Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles FHTV that is currently in use by the Army.
 
The FHTV contract covers new production of the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck HEMTT, Palletized Load System (PLS) vehicle, and PLS trailer. They are designed for logistics support roles in the Army and transport everything from fuel and water to ammunition and supplies. Oshkosh will deliver 1,857 new vehicles and 2,599 new trailers.
 
Under the Recapitalization (RECAP) program, vehicles that have reached the end of their service lives, or have been damaged, are returned to Oshkosh Truck, where they are completely rebuilt and equipped with recent technology upgrades. The vehicles are returned to the Army, some in their original configuration, while others are brought up to the latest configuration, depending on the specific vehicle. All RECAP vehicles are delivered with a new vehicle warranty.
 
 
Oshkosh Truck has produced the HEMTT since 1982 and the PLS vehicle and PLS trailer since 1993. There are nearly 25,000 of these trucks and trailers in the U.S. Army inventory today so the company has a strong base of conventional military vehicles on which to leverage its electric vehicle advances.
 
Oshkosh Truck Corp has produced its new Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck HEMTT A3 third-generation prototype. HEMTT A3 was the first production-ready tactical defense vehicle to feature a diesel-electric drive system known as ProPulse Hybrid Electric Drive system. The same technology is implemented in the FMTV versions proposed by Oshkosh for the US Army. However, the process is slow and 2010 sees only modest adoption.
 
Oshkosh hybrid truck
Source: Oshkosh Truck Corp.
 
Oshkosh Corp. first displayed its Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck HEMTT A3 equipped with the ProPulse diesel electric hybrid system at CALSTART's Hybrid Truck Users Forum HTUF in Atlanta in October 2009. The Oshkosh ProPulse vehicle provides a substantial fuel economy improvement for the application of a hybrid drivetrain in a military vehicle. The HEMTT A3 is equipped with the Oshkosh proprietary ProPulse diesel electric hybrid system, a technology currently under various stages of development across several commercial and military Oshkosh vehicle platforms.
 
 
"We focused our efforts on optimizing the vehicle design and engine control strategy to maximize fuel economy, and those efforts have paid off significantly," said Gary Schmiedel, Oshkosh Corp. vice president of Advanced Product Engineering. "We're sharing the research results for the first time this week because the Hybrid Truck Users Forum brings together the best in industry technology with the U.S. Army. At Oshkosh Corp., we take a similar approach towards excellence by applying leading technologies with a strong customer focus in an effort to better serve our military customers."
 
The company said the Oshkosh HEMTT A3 has outperformed a similar but conventional drive vehicle in multiple scenarios, including a range of steady speeds and aggressive acceleration starts and stops. The HEMTT A3 demonstrated a 24 percent improvement in fuel economy at 60 mph cruising speed and a 33 percent improvement in a start-and-stop-cycle. The HEMTT A3 is equipped with a load handling system which can off-load a C-130 aircraft, has a variable height independent suspension and lower center of gravity.
 
"We are proud of the initiative and investments member companies like Oshkosh are making to develop new, efficient and clean technologies for heavy-duty and military trucks," said Bill Van Amburg, senior vice president CALSTART. "Together we will help improve our national security by lessening our dependence on fossil fuels."
 
 
The Oshkosh ProPulse technology can be integrated into any new vehicle design, like the HEMTT A3 mentioned. Additionally upgrade kits are available for existing vehicles, such as the Oshkosh Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) with OBVP to provide on-board vehicle power (OBVP). The technology also has been integrated on an Oshkosh commercial chassis in a refuse hauling application as part of the Advanced Heavy Hybrid Propulsion System Project sponsored by the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
 
Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corp., is a global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armored wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, armor options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70 tons.
 
The military's newest cargo-hauling hybrid-electric behemoth may be electric, but it does not use traction batteries. Developed by Oshkosh Truck, the 8x8 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck with ProPulse hybrid-electric-drive technology uses a 40-kW diesel/generator set, which powers the AC motors that drive the wheels and also charges high-performance supercapacitors. When conditions call for an extra burst of power for acceleration, the supercapacitors discharge. While supercapacitors do not hold a charge as long as batteries, they are lighter.

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc.

The Aggressor Alternative Mobility Vehicle AMV comes from Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide Inc.N in the US. It is a light duty military vehicle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Preliminary tests have shown the acceleration of the Quantum Aggressor to be far superior to a corresponding ICE -powered all-terrain vehicle. With the Aggressor accelerating from 0-60 km/h (40 miles per hour) in approximately four seconds.
 
 
Ungoverned, the Quantum Aggressor is capable of reaching speeds of nearly 130 km/h (~ 80 miles per hour). Quantum's electronic control system imposes torque and speed limits (120 km/h or 75 miles per hour) on the drive train to enhance traction and safety. The vehicle has a "virtually silent operating mode with reduced thermal signature," making it harder to spot the car.
 
QT has developed a land-based V22 hybrid reconnaissance surveillance and targeting vehicle RSTV, a hybrid FMTV truck and a hybrid line hauler. The development budget granted by the US military for the projects was $43 million.

Raser Technologies Inc

The Electric Hummer H3 was developed by Raser Technologies Inc and its integration partner FEV Inc. in cooperation with General Motors and its Hummer division. The full-size, four-wheel drive SUV can drive up to 40 miles per day in all-electric mode. For extended trips, an internal combustion engine (range extender) kicks in to recharge the batteries. The new vehicle can be used for fleets, contractors and small business owners. The company says it delivers the payload of a pickup truck with better fuel economy than a Prius. Battlefield taxis, such as the Hummer, have a potential of at least $100 million yearly and Bradley armoured vehicles have a similar or larger potential.

UQM Technologies Inc

UQM Technologies Inc is a technology leader in the development and manufacture of high-performance, power-dense and energy-efficient electric motors, generators and power electronics. A major emphasis of the company is transitioning its technology into production-ready, high-performance and low-cost electric power systems for battery electric, hybrid electric, and fuel-cell electric vehicles.
 
 
In 2005, UQM executed a $599,000 contract with the US Marine Corps to develop a hybrid propulsion system to propel a small, unmanned combat vehicle weighing 227 - 1000 kg with 10kW propulsion motor and a dual motor controller with integrated 60 KHz inverter that will operate when the vehicle is stationary.
 
In 2007, UQM started work on a U.S. Air Force contract to convert a conventional one-half ton pickup truck to all-electric operation. Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. selected UQM's propulsion systems for a diesel hybrid electric version of the U.S. Army's AMV Aggressor - a high performance light-duty off-road hybrid electric vehicle.
 
Two hybrid electric future heavy truck demonstrators developed by BAE Systems for the U.S. Army powered by 120 kW UQM electric propulsion systems began MUA Testing in 2007.

ZAP, Columbia ParCar

ZAP has supplied military trucks and other vehicles to the US Army. In 2009, an Army official told Army Times that he and his Air Force and Navy counterparts plan to get thousands of low-speed electric vehicles for on-base transport in an effort to be environmentally friendly.
 
 
"The Air Force was looking at low-speed vehicles, which are actually still gasoline vehicles," Deputy Assistant Army Secretary for Energy and Partnerships Paul Bollinger told Army Times. "We've skipped that and we are going straight to electric. We are eliminating the fuel issue, period."
 
Bollinger said about 4,000 of the vehicles, similar to the small trucks from companies such as Columbia ParCar Corporation's trucks, often seen on college campuses, would be deployed over the next three years. Top speed would be 30 mph, the limit on Army bases.
 
Each would use about $400 of electricity per year, he said, as opposed to $2,400 for gasoline-powered equivalents, and all told the fleet would save about 11.5 million gallons of gasoline each year. The first batch of vehicles would be leased, Bollinger explained, and then possibly bought later. "We will not be paying any more for the NEV than for a standard gasoline-powered vehicle," he told Army Times.
 
 
to reflect its unique covering of the whole subject. Never before has there been an opportunity in Europe for people in land, water and air electric vehicles and their components, infrastructure and test equipment to compare notes in one event. Delegates already signed up vary from Airbus, Hudson Power Sports and Hudson Yachts to Sony, the Bulgarian Electric Vehicle Association and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.
 

Authored By:

Principal Analyst

Posted on: June 1, 2011

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