The US Army Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), now officially designated the XM30, may utilize electric hybrid power. Allision Transmission announced that it is providing its eGen electric hybrid propulsion for the American Rheinmetall Vehicles (ARV) team’s XM30 candidate.
The eGen is specifically design and developed to fill the performance demands of future combat vehicles like the infantry fighting vehicle and main battle tank. An integrated power-pak, it provides 850kW/1140 hp with eight forward and two reverse gears. Its compact 1.575 X 0.955 X 1.091 m size and relatively low under 2000 kg (4400 lb.) weight offer chassis location advantages. The unit is provided with a 220-kilowatt electric motor allowing optional silent driving and an inverter for vehicle power generation.
According to Allison, eGen Force improves mobility, performance, reduces fuel consumption, extends range, and decreases acoustic and thermal signatures. “This product is more than a transmission – it is a power distribution system with on-board vehicle power and parallel hybrid operation,” said Dana Pittard, Vice President, Defense Programs, Allison Transmission. The eGen will be fit into the Lynx based configuration being offered by the ARV team.
The electric hybrid propulsion is powered by an internal combustion engine, an electric motor(s) and an energy storage system such as batteries. The batteries are charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine coupled to a generator. This propulsion technology offers features that are highly beneficial in combat vehicles. These include improved fuel economy and range, packaging flexibility that allows for non-traditional vehicle design, lower life cycle costs, and improved mobility performance. Some of the performance enhancements such as significantly improved acceleration and response, as well as, detectable acoustic and thermal signature reduction over conventional propulsion systems could also contribute to improving survivability.
Militaries and tactical vehicle developers have been exploring the possibilities of applying electric hybrid to tactical and combat vehicles for some time. The ever increasing demands for onboard electric power in combat vehicles especially has made the approach particularly attractive. The US Army has been testing a hybrid-electric adaption of Bradley Fighting Vehicle provided in a contact by BAE Systems this year. In addition, the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office has awarded contracts to integrate hybrid-electric technology on to a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. These will be delivered by Gale Banks Engineering in California and Michigan Technological University for the HMMWV and MATBOCK LLC for the hybrid JLTV. Both will be evaluated in 2023.
A consensus appears to be forming in the international tactical and combat vehicle industry regarding the promise of electric hybrids. In the US Oshkosh Defense, AM General and GM Defense are preparing their own electric hybrid solutions. In addition, Germany’s FFG debuted its 8 X 8 Genesis while Arquus has presented it as an option for the Franco-German MBT. Both Turkish combat vehicle developers FNSS and Otokar have shown electric hybrid versions of their vehicle lines. The electric hybrid looks to be the propulsion system of the future.
by Stephen W. Miller