The incumbent producer of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) has unveiled a hybrid-electric version of the diesel-powered vehicle that offers significant performance gains while preserving the original vehicle’s mobility and crew protection. Among other things, the hybrid configuration will deliver greater fuel efficiency enabling longer range, a “silent drive” mode that facilitates tactical surprise, and an ability to export up to 115 kilowatts of power. Because eJLTV, as the new version is called, uses the vehicle’s diesel engine to charge onboard batteries, it does not require charging stations that might be hard to find in wartime. The batteries can be fully charged by simply running the vehicle in diesel mode for 30 minutes, and the batteries are projected to last for over ten years. Although the military services have not actually requested an electric variant of JLTV, they are under political pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of the joint fleet. The advent of an affordable hybrid tactical vehicle could have some bearing on the outcome of a competition to re-award the JLTV production contract. I have written a commentary here.
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