While some people like to push the idea of hybrid and electric vehicles as some sort of socialist agenda, the U.S. Military is engaging in all sorts of alt-fuel and hybrid vehicle projects. BAE Systems has been working to develop a hybridized Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) that uses 20% less fuel than current vehicles. The program is back on track after a protest bid from opposing companies, and we now have the first rendered images of the GCV.
The program, led by BAE and General Dynamics, seeks to build a modern combat vehicle akin to the current Bradley Fighting Vehicle (which BAE currently manufactures as well.) The current M2 and M3 BFV’s get (depending on armament) about 1.7 MPG. That’s about as bad as it gets, unless you’re driving an M1A1 Battle Tank, which gets about 0.6 MPG. If the GCV does what it claims, it would bump fuel economy up to about 2 MPG.
That’s still awful, but lets look at the big picture. 100 miles of driving would suck down between 58 and 59 gallons of fuel in a Bradley, but “only” 50 gallons in a GCV. Multply that by thousands of vehicles and hundreds of thousands of miles…and suddenly you’ve got cost savings in the millions or billions of dollars. And considering that each soldier uses about 22 gallons of fuel per day, and this fuel can cost as much as $400 per gallon, it would be one way for the military to reduce its massive energy footprint.
The project was put on hold for 9 months after Boeing and SAIC submitted a protest bid against the Army’s decision to award the contract to BAE and GD. Initial cost estimates put the price-per-vehicle at $11 million to $13 million each, though subsequent analysis suggests a real cost closer to $16 million to $17 million. But development has resumed, and should the project stay under its $10.5 billion price tag, the GCV could enter service in as little as seven years.
My take; if hybrids are good enough for battlefields, they are good enough for highways.
Source: Autoblog Green