A new hybrid electric concept of the iconic HMMWV (High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle often referred to as ‘HUMVEE’) military vehicle has been developed by QinetiQ and AM General.
Using existing collaboration tools, the joint team have created two fully interactive and immersive virtual reality models of 'HUMVEE' vehicles showing how QinetiQ’s electric drive technology can be integrated with minimal disruption to the vehicle.
The two different models can be individually adapted and then compared side by side to immediately see the impact of the changes made. The motors 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.
“Advances in hybrid electric drive systems specifically for military vehicles mean there is now a credible alternative to conventional mechanical designs, revolutionising the way armed forces move and operate on the battlefield while reducing reliance on fossil fuels,” said Mike Stewart, Chief Technology Officer at QinetiQ.
“This collaboration is a critical step for driving defence into a new age of sustainable, more versatile land combat vehicles, capable of tackling complex threats whilst minimising the impact on the environment.”
QinetiQ says the hybrid electric drive system allows vehicles to tackle more hostile terrain, while increasing lethality, by giving it the ability to conduct extended periods of silent watch and silent running. This includes minimising the vehicle’s acoustic and thermal signatures.
With most countries committing to ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, the defence sector, whose emissions are larger than most countries due to its reliance on fossil fuels, has to play its part in reducing emissions or risk losing certain capabilities.
As the defence industry accelerates towards net zero, QinetiQ says its 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. Improved fuel efficiency is also thought to also extend the vehicle’s operational range.
The hybrid electric drive also enables individual wheel control, enabling the HUMVEE to tackle more hostile terrain, while increasing lethality, by giving it the ability to conduct extended periods of silent watch and silent running.
The HUMVEE vehicle concept is the first step of a highly ambitious programme in which QinetiQ and AM General are exploring how electrification can transform competitive advantage in the land domain.
The collaboration, which was facilitated by the JV & Partnering (JV&P) Advisory team at Lincoln International, a global investment bank, will lay the foundations for further research into electrification capabilities for land vehicles, for example autonomous systems, increased situational awareness through enhanced sensor capability and optical communications.
“Integrating electric drive technology into the HMMWV is an exciting first step in how we expect to deliver on the battlefields of the future,” said Regis Luther, senior vice president of Engineering & Chief Technology Officer at AM General. “By working with QinetiQ, we’re looking at innovative ways to meet the future requirements of our customers around the world, for sustainability and performance through electrification.”
Renderings of the electric 'Humvee" vehicle featuring QinetiQ's hybrid electric drive technology