Army seeks prototype hybrid JLTV, humvees

By Ethan Sterenfeld / September 2, 2021 at 4:30 PM

The Army's Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office seeks to retrofit hybrid-electric powertrain technology onto the humvee and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle fleets, according to an Aug. 26 notice.

Hybrid technology would make the vehicles more capable and reduce fuel consumption, according to the notice. Hybrid vehicles can produce more onboard electrical power, without towing generators, which would be valuable for future capabilities that require large amounts of electricity.

“To remain competitive on the battlefield, our military vehicles require significantly more electrical power to support new and future high-energy capabilities such as silent mobility, reduced signature management, lasers, and microwave systems,” the notice stated. “Additionally, while increasing performance and power generation capabilities, it is equally important to reduce the fuel and logistical support required.”

The hybrid vehicles should increase automotive performance, including range, acceleration and fuel economy, without any increase in the gross vehicle weight, according to the notice. Vehicles can be modified to accommodate batteries, so long as the changes do not compromise crew compartment space.

Hybrid vehicles should be able to provide power at a range of voltages and in both direct and alternating current, according to the notice. They should also include anti-idle technology, which turns off the engine and relies on batteries for auxiliary power when the vehicle is stationary.

RCCTO wants whitepapers from companies and academic institutions that could design and prototype the hybrid modifications for the vehicles in 15 months or less. Responses are due Sept. 15, and RCCTO plans to make multiple prototype Other Transaction Authority awards for the project.

The proposals should include commercially available components as much as possible, according to the notice. RCCTO hopes for a technology readiness level of 7 and a manufacturing readiness level of 5.

Humvee production has ended, although recapitalization continues, so hybrid technology would have to be integrated onto existing vehicles. The JLTV is in production, and the notice included the possibility that future production could include hybrid technology on new vehicles.

“While the JLTV is in production, it is conceivable the Army could modify future production awards to include a hybrid electric variant,” the notice stated.

A service official said in July that the Army could include humvees when it adds electric powertrains to the light tactical vehicle fleet.

Industry has shown high levels of interest in the upcoming electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle, a six-seat truck that is expected to be the first hybrid or fully electric vehicle the service fields.