Kim Johnson and I have a story in the May issue of DTI about the advances in hybrid engine technology that some key industry truck makers like Oshkosh and BAE Systems are working on.
While the need to reduce the military’s fuel consumption has never been greater due to rising fuel prices and the budget crunch the Pentagon is facing, the path forward for acquisitions is littered with new technology slow to tempt the old guard. The mindset of the military regarding fuel efficiency is different than on the commercial side, says Mike Mekhiche, BAE Systems director of parallel drive systems. “There are cultural hurdles that need to be overcome.”
And while industry is working hard to offer its military customers the latest, most ruggedized technologies,
…the image of the Army’s fleet of tactical vehicles running hybrid engines on the battlefield anytime soon might need to be put on hold, says Paul Skalny, director of the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center’s (Tardec) National Automotive Center. “The fielding of hybrids will be in the non-tactical world” first, he says. “A fuel-cell hybrid in a tactical situation is something that may happen, but quite some time from now. You may see a fuel cell auxiliary power unit (APU) in a vehicle [but] it will be some time [before it is fielded on a battlefield], because we have issues” with exposing an APU to battlefield dirt, which “would kill an APU.”
You can read the rest of it here.