EUROSATORY 2022: AM General plans to unveil a hybrid-electric version of its Humvee at an exhibition “soon,” the company’s CEO told Breaking Defense, and believes the capability is ripe for use by the National Guard.
The vehicle, which the company is planning to call Humvee Charge, comes amid increasing interest in the US military about the advantages of hybrid electrified vehicles.
“We’ll have the Humvee Charge in an exhibition soon and [we’re] really working hard to lobby with the Army to figure out where they want to deploy this first,” AM General CEO Jim Cannon told Breaking Defense in an interview at the Eurosatory conference in Paris.
Cannon said the company is “arguing hard” that the National Guard is the right fit for the vehicle, noting the guard’s mission in disaster response would benefit from the Humvee’s ability to export power from its onboard battery. The hybrid Humvee could be used by the guard “to power homes, to power hospitals, or whatever the case may be.” He added that the guard’s fleet of Humvees are aging and “needs to be recapitalized.”
“If any vehicle fleet in the US Army should be electrified in some fashion first, I think it should be the Humvee,” Cannon said. “You know why? It’s a utility vehicle, it’s not a combat vehicle.”
He continued, “if there’s any part of the Humvee fleet that should be first, [it’s] probably the National Guard fleet. The National Guard fleet is well beyond its useful life. It needs to be recapitalized.”
The company has developed the vehicle with its own internal research and development money, Cannon said. The Humvee Charge is separate from work the Army is doing on a hybrid Humvee through its Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office.
“We think a hybrid electric variant makes most sense for the Army, you know, for very practical reasons,” Cannon said. “I mean, there aren’t always charging stations, you know, where you need them right now on the battlefield.”
The US Army is increasingly interested in hybrid-electric vehicles. The service’s RCCTO has outfitted two Bradley Fighting Vehicles with hybrid-electric drive and plans to test them in the Arizona later this year. The Army’s fiscal 2023 budget request shows that the service plans to decide the future of the hybrid-electric Bradley next year.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, the program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems, said at Eurosatory on Tuesday that the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, the service’s replacement for the Bradley, will “likely” be the service’s first combat vehicle with hybrid power.
The Army is interested in hybrid-electric combat vehicles because they offer numerous advantages on the battlefield, including silent mobility, low electronic signature, exportable power to charge soldier devices and a reduced logistical footprint. The electrical power on-board could also be used to power directed energy or other air defense platforms onboard.
According to the Army’s climate strategy, the service aims to have a fully-electric non-tactical fleet by 2035, and a fully electric tactical fleet by 2050. Cannon said the Army is interested in the hybrid Humvee.
“The dilemma that the Army has, of course, is what every organization has — that they’re trying to do a lot and they got to manage limited resources to do it,” Cannon said.