QinetiQ, AM General develop hybrid-electric version of its HUMVEE vehicle

The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV; also called: Humvee).
The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV; also called: Humvee).

AM General, the manufacturer of the iconic HUMVEE vehicles, has entered into a strategic collaboration agreement with U.K.-based Qinetiq to accelerate the development of electrification technologies for military vehicles.

The partnership has begun with the development of a hybrid concept of the globally iconic HMMWV (High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle often referred to as ‘HUMVEE’) – demonstrating the viability of electrifying military land vehicles to deliver enhanced performance while decarbonizing military operations.

The development team has created two fully interactive and immersive Virtual Reality models of HUMVEE vehicles showing how QinetiQ’s innovative electric drive technology is integrated with minimal disruption to the vehicle. The two different models can be individually adapted to military requirements and compared side-by-side to assess the impact of the changes.

The electric motors on these vehicles draw power via cables from a battery which can be positioned almost anywhere within the vehicle to give ultimate flexibility over the use of space. The hybrid electric drive system will enable the vehicles to tackle more hostile terrains while increasing lethality by giving them the ability to conduct extended periods of silent watch and silent running.

The manufacturer claims that the hybrid drive will also provide an opportunity to reduce the vehicle’s thermal and acoustic signature that can be used to carry out silent watch missions. No exact details on the system are available, but AM General says the QinetiQ’s hybrid-electric drive system provides up to 30% less fuel consumption than purely combustion-powered alternatives, reducing fossil fuel dependency and decreasing emissions on the battlefield. This improved fuel efficiency will also extend the vehicle’s operational range.

“Advances in hybrid electric drive systems specifically for military vehicles mean there is now a credible alternative to conventional mechanical designs, revolutionizing the way armed forces move and operate on the battlefield while reducing reliance on fossil fuels,” said Mike Sewart, Chief Technology Officer, QinetiQ. “This collaboration is a critical step for driving defense into a new age of sustainable, more versatile land combat vehicles, capable of tackling complex threats whilst minimizing the impact on the environment. The use of VR immersive technology to co-create an interactive solution has been an important step in the journey we are taking together.”

This collaboration will lay the foundation for further research into electrification capabilities for land vehicles, for example, autonomous systems, increased situational awareness through enhanced sensor capability, and optical communications.