While Autoblog occasionally offers readers a look at the eBay find of the day, we found one that might qualify as someone's find of the year – or an indulgent Christmas present. May we present the Hybrid Electric High Mobility Scout Mongrel Vehicle w/ Active Suspension. As of press time, the highest bid was $2,000 for a vehicle that supposedly has more than $750,000 in it, money that was spent on the engineering, design, parts and construction of this prototype four-wheel drive series hybrid.

Visiting a federal government website indicates that the amount spent was actually
$747,913 for a 1998 federal grant awarded by the US Department of Defense to Davis Technologies International, Inc., based in Addison, TX. The goal of the project was to develop a significantly improved ground vehicle for military reconnaissance that can move fast over rough terrain, with high mobility being a primary factor.

The "Mongrel" has independent swing arm suspension at all four corners of the vehicle, designed for traversing large obstacles with a powerful drive system. Propulsion comes from four 100-kilowatt, liquid-cooled, axial gap permanent magnet motors capable of delivering up to 134 horsepower per motor, for a total of 536 hp. As for an onboard internal combustion engine, the Mongrel uses a 1.9-liter turbo diesel Volkswagen engine as a generator.

While the deal is potentially great for such an expensive vehicle, there is work to be done by the new owner. The wheel assemblies are complete, but as a whole, the vehicle is not complete enough to operate as intended. Inverters need to be installed for the motors, as does a controller for the suspension, and a few other details need to be worked out. The seller is recommending that buyers make an appointment to come and view the Mongrel prior to bidding. That would mean traveling to Virginia Beach, VA, to view the vehicle – the auction ends early on December 27 – but the seller is happy to answer any questions to make you confident about your purchase.

One more thing, despite what the eBay listing says, this is not a model year 1900 vehicle. The vehicle has never been titled and therefore didn't have a vehicle identification number (VIN) assigned to it. Entering 1900 as a date was done to bypass eBay's requirement to enter a VIN.

Dollar for dollar, it could be the deal of the year. But not really, and you'd better do your research before bidding.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      The study and technology for this vehicle began in 1998 with the development of the suspension system. And was further advanced in 2004 with the design of the propulsion system. Both of these advances for the test vehicle were results of a combined cost exceeding 1.4 million dollars. The engineering that went into this vehicle was not intended to produce a complete vehicle. There are many more aspects that go into a vehicle , but these engineering points were explored and built for proof of concept purposes from state of the art technology. The Volkswagen engine is connected to an Apecs Syncrostart Controller and was designed to automatically start and charge the battery bank using a generator attached at the bell housing. The motors would also charge the battery bank using regenerative breaking. The concepts intended to be engineered where not created in a " half-assed " way as one poster suggested. If you have seen this vehicle, you would know that it was made to specifications expected to operate in extreme conditions. This vehicles electric capability is not exaggerated either. The purpose of designing the propulsion system was to create a high torque hybrid electric drive assembly that was identical to all four corners of the vehicle. This would reduce the logistical requirement for different repair components needed in the field. Currently the Humvee has three different size half shafts and two different geared hubs associated with its drive train for instance. That is the reason this system was design the way it was. If you can reduce the demand for fossil fuels, reduce the quantity of repair parts needed in the field, then you can reduce the amount of personnel required for logistical support. There are many benefits to Hybrid technology that extend beyond the green footprint. The technology put into this vehicle has already been researched by a University. A detailed report was published with the results of their findings related to the electric propulsion design. The report included capabilities associated with speed, torque, gear ratios, and various incline and ground surface materials. I hope this helps clear the air about this vehicle. A vehicle that is the culmination of over 1.4 million dollars of research is not a money pit, it is a huge head start for someone.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        Holy unsprung weight, Batman! But seriously, the suspension of this thing doesn't compare in any way with a Humvee. Even if fitted with similar tires. That Humvee has at least 8:" additional clearance, all else being equal. The suspension isn't nearly as rugged, either. Approach, breakover angles also look inferior. There's a reason why the Humvee runs portal axles/hubs with the engine between the front seats, and this doesn't match it. As a technology demonstrator with 4 hub motors, it's OK. But comparing with the Humvee makes no sense. One might as well compare an econobox with it's beam axle.
      bluepongo1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Has a reserve so it will not sell at $2,000. Has no battery pack (probably good, because if it did they would have half-assed that too.) I think the electric capability is exaggerated and it doesn't generate electricity off the VW engine anyway. In summary: a money pit. The auction ends 12/27/12... too bad they didn't do this weeks ago, they should have cashed in on the Zombie/Mayan B.S. hype. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year if I don't post again for a while!
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      $750,000, and sold for $2,000... wow. Your tax dollars at work
        bluepongo1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        It didn't sell at $6,900.00 because it had a reserve, and as of now it hasn't been relisted.
        Rob Mahrt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        $750,000 did not produce the single vehicle but was used to create the research behind this great vehicle. Engineering designs and tests that will be used as evidence for other vehicles for years. Out of all the things government spends money on, for advancing a society and making us a prosperous people, it could be argued that R&D is the single most important use of govt funds. And, the vehicle did not sell for $2,000, that was the current bid. It has a reserve that I am sure is much much higher.
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        You just killed my Chrismas cheer.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Would make a good donation to a University or school of engineering.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Yeah, that would have been a better use, if what's contained has any commercial value. A 4 wheel range extended EV from the late 1990's is certainly an oddball worthy of showing off and not just letting it sit in a garage!
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wasn't comparing this suspension with a Humvee's suspension. I was making reference to the logistical advantage of how many parts would need to be maintained in the field when you have all the same components for all four wheels. This suspension is so cutting edge that it does not compare to any other vehicle. I owned a 92 H1 Hummer and I know all about their suspension. I won't bother explaining the suspension of the Mongrel any further. Suffice it to say it is the most amazing design I have ever seen so far. However, since you brought up the comparison issue, in my opinion, it is a better suspension system than the Humvee. And if you research it, you would know the clearance height of the vehicle is adjustable by the operator. It was designed to traverse large obstacles. Each wheel can be lowered or raised independently. The height of the vehicle as seen on the photos is all the way down. The Mongrel was not designed to replace the Humvee, It was designed as a recon vehicle. The vehicle to replace the Humvee is already developed and tested. However, there is no money in the Governments budget to purchase the vehicles. The new vehicle is armored and designed with the IED threat in mind. The Humvee was not designed to be armored, that was a retrofit. The recon vehicles you see being developed are more concerned with speed, agility, and stealth.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bartonman: "This suspension is so cutting edge that it does not compare to any other vehicle." Haha, funny. It's lazy design, and has inherently horrible suspension / handling characteristics. Don't act like independent "swingarms" (trailing arm) are new or good. Especially, a reversed trailing arm on the front.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sorry for the duplicate post.
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