Oshkosh Truck Corp. has be chosen to help design and build vehicles that use hybrid-electric technology for the U.S. military. The project could have commercial implications, similar to the hybrid truck propulsion system for Class 8 tractors Volvo Truck North America is working on under the auspices of the U.S. military.
National Automotive Center (NAC) chose Oshkosh for the project. The deal includes a grant to integrate Oshkosh’s ProPulse hybrid-electric system into its HEMTT military truck model as part of a working alliance with the Southwest Research Institute. The U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) will provide the vehicle to be equipped with the ProPulse system, Oshkosh said.
Oshkosh said the ProPulse system design uses a unique, modular series-hybrid arrangement to simplify the transmission of power to the wheels. The diesel engine powers a large electric generator, which provides direct power to the wheels, eliminating the torque converter, transmission, transfer case, and drive shafts, the company said.
“Our alternative drive technology has the potential to revolutionize heavy truck performance, to bring it to a level never seen before,” said Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh’s president & CEO. “Hybrid-electric technology in smaller vehicles is not new, but this project could make it affordable and practical for tough, severe-duty applications such as military or fire trucks.”
Oshkosh said it believes this technology can increase the fuel economy, or payload-to-fuel ratio as it is known in military circles, by up to 40% over conventional power train designs. The diesel engine is optimized for operation at a constant rpm, the company said, which eliminates the inefficiency associated with changing rpm levels during acceleration and deceleration. The constant speed also slashes emissions as well, the truck maker said.
A prototype is expected to be unveiled in October, Oshkosh said.