The U.S. Army has proven its dedication to sustainability through biofuels and alternative energy, but we still never thought the day would come for a hybrid Humvee. It's coming thanks to a partnership between between lithium ion battery maker EnerDel and the Army.
EnerDel recently signed a $1.29 million, 18-month contract to build hybrid batteries for the clunky High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or Humvee). As part of the contract, EnerDel will send potential batteries through extreme performance simulations at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC). The company is focusing on two battery chemistries: lithium-manganese spinel, which is ideal for extending an EV's range, and lithium-titanate, a chemistry designed for hybrids that require hard acceleration and braking.
The Army isn't just building a hybrid Humvee for green cred. The vehicle could potentially be used as a temporary power plant in emergency situations, and the nearly silent hybrid engine is ideal for hiding from the enemy, as anyone who's nearly stepped out in front of a hybrid taxi cab in a busy urban metro will attest.
Army contract aside, EnerDel parent company Ener1 is already a major player in the lithium-ion battery industry. The company has partnerships with Think Global, Fisker, and Volvo, and EnerDel runs the two only commercial-scale, automotive-grade, lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities in the U.S.