The U.S. Army will be in the market for a replacement for their current fleet of Humvees by 2011. Manufacturers will have a chance to bid starting in 2009. The clues seem to indicate that there is a strong possibility that the new vehicles will be hybrids. Both the Army and the Marines are conducting research into hybrid drive trains with an eye towards the new vehicles. The Army is looking at six different electric Humvee prototypes. The Marines are testing a vehicle that has electric motors in each wheel hub. The RST-V, or Reconnaissance, Surveillance Targeting Vehicle, uses the same technology as the Concept-CT that Mitsubishi unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show this year.
Hybrid vehicles are attractive to the military for a variety of reasons. Less fuel consumptions makes logistics easy as less fuel needs to be moved. Their potential for quieter and cooler operation would be attractive in battle as would their ability to rapidly accelerate.
It will be very interesting to watch what emerges from manufacturers to meet this need. Even more interesting will be to see how quickly the technology in the vehicles, which will certainly be cutting edge, reaches the marketplace. The embrace of hybrid technology by the military would dramatically impact the pace of development in the consumer market.