The military has been studying the implementation of alternative drivetrains for years, a tiny sampling of which includes the diesel-electric hybrid technical hauler and L-ATV from Oshkosh Defense and the Aggressor from Quantum Technologies. There was also ADA Technologies' work with ultracapitors, General Motors' focus on fuel cells and the roll out of electric motorcycles for Special Forces. In the Ultra Light Vehicle (ULV) prototype vehicle pictured above, we have the latest developments in the Department of Defense's hybrid interest combined with a need to develop a lightweight replacement for the AM General Humvee.

In 2010 the Office of the Secretary of Defense put the Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in charge of developing a personnel carrier that could "balance payload, performance and protection," and do so without exorbitant cost. Armored Humvees can weigh more than seven tons, and while the ULV is just under 14,000 pounds, the new vehicle can do a lot more with its weight.

The Subaru turbodiesel under the hood puts out 175 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. That's not much for pulling 13,916 pounds, so it's assisted by two Remy 410HVH HT electric motors each capable of adding 268 continuous hp and 369 peak hp, along with 844 lb-ft of continuous torque or 1,221 ft-lbs at peak. They're only limited by the 14.2 kWh lithium-ion battery rated at 65 kW of continuous power and 180 kW of peak power, but still, TARDEC says the ULV can do 21 miles on electric power and on the flats has a combined range of 337 miles at 35 mph.

It's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) design protects occupants - as does the lack of a driveshaft - it has 18 inches of suspension travel, can traverse a 40-percent slope, climb an 18-inch step and climb a 60-percent incline. If it meets OSD specs it will also cost no more than $250,000. It's a long way from going into service, but it has entered ballistic and explosive testing and, assuming it passes the tests, it will move on the next phase. There's a clip of it in action in the video below, or head to the TARDEC site for a thorough spec-sheet rundown.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 129 Comments
      Toyotathong
      • 11 Months Ago
      What's its time on the 'ring?
      AutoVido
      • 11 Months Ago
      What? Who? Huh? Who is the target audience for this video?! Do 14 year old boys make purchasing decisions in the US military? Very strange.
        danfred311
        • 11 Months Ago
        @AutoVido
        In case you didn't know, the military mind is not the finest around.
      Bernard
      • 11 Months Ago
      That sounds like a really promising vehicle. If it makes it to the $250k per vehicle goal that is. Improving the mileage will definately make a difference. Even unarmored HMMWVS's easily chug a gallon every 10 miles.
        Neez
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Bernard
        That's because the military wants the vehicle to run no matter what, on any crap fuel it can find. They refuse to throw in a modern electronic diesel engine into the vehicle, because if WW3 were to happen, the current vehicles will still run, unlike a modern truck which may not like crappy fuel and is susceptible to EMP.
          jtav2002
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Neez
          And that's the thing, I'd be hesitant to be riding in this in the middle of a desert in a war with something that might not be easily fixable. Not like you can just go down the street to a dealer. I'd imagine that, even with how outdated the Humvee is, at least I'm sure the soldiers have learned how to adapt and rig/fix the thing on the fly when it breaks. I'm sure there are plenty of new advances in armory and weaponry they can use in new vehicles, however I'm not sure using hybrid drivetrains is the best change right now.
      anon.name
      • 11 Months Ago
      Correction to the article: The ULV is a series hybrid vehicle. The Subaru engine drives a generator that provides charge for the two electric motors and battery. Do note that Subaru had no part of the development of the vehicle.
      Jerry
      • 11 Months Ago
      This is one of many similar vehicles in an "open sourcing" tech demo thing DARPA has coming up. Going to be some really cool vehicles coming to the public eye in 2014.
      otiswild
      • 11 Months Ago
      NICE.. Especially if it's a plugin that can take a charge at its base and can run in 'hold' mode until approaching combat.. Plus, having charge points internally to recharge batteries for stuff like GPS, NVGs, etc. Hybrids like this should have reduced heat signature, and with a purely electrical HVAC system should also be a bit more comfortable while silent..
      btc909
      • 11 Months Ago
      Should be 4 electric hub motors connected to a diesel generator. No drive shaft to break or blow apart. If an electric motor dies it keeps moving. Hell run an extension cord from another vehicle with in case the diesel generator dies to keep the vehicle moving. I'd add a much smaller diesel generator just in case. Design it for quick modular engine swaps that can be done out in the field dropped from a helicopter. You can install an engine hoist off of the front bumper.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 11 Months Ago
      If they really gave a crap about the environment, our military would stop dropping depleted uranium and other persistent chemical weapons on brown people. Vietnam and Iraq are still having massive amounts of birth defects..
        19nomad56
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        DU is only used against armored targets like MBTs, usually HE or AP rounds are used in asymmetrical warfare against insurgents or rebels who don't have a lot of heavy armor. The US at the beginning of 1945 did an assessment on the invasion of the Japanese home islands that would have taken place at the end of 1945/beginning of 1946. They estimated +/- 1 million US casualties, and 4-5 million Japanese casualties. Lastly, I am part of your "awful school system and media" as an 8th grade science teacher so I resent your comment. Last year only 7 of my 131 students scored below "proficient" or "advanced" on the CA CST science test (that's 95 percent above average FYI). Your educators may have failed you but there are those of us out here who work their a$$es off to make learning fun and meaningful.
        Cyrus Brooks
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        The mission of any military, including the U.S. military is to fight and win wars. D/U comes in handy when you want to do things like penetrate tank armor.
        mustsvt
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Plenty of "brown" people as you call them are happy to use chemical weapons on their own people, most recently in Syria.
          mustsvt
          • 11 Months Ago
          @mustsvt
          2WM Could you be any more obtuse? It's none of your or my business what happens in another county? Sure let's stick our head in the sand and become total isolationists. I'm sure a free Europe is glad we didn't do that. However given your comments on WWII you probably don't think we had a legitimate reason to fight that war either...or that Hitler wasn't so bad. Given your remarks about Israel, you probably deny the holocaust too. And Pearl Harbor was an inside job by the US I'm sure to give us a reason to get into the war. You sound like a truther to me. Put your tinfoil hat back on. The NSA is probably tracking you right now, better sign off soon before a drone comes to get you...
          mustsvt
          • 11 Months Ago
          @mustsvt
          2WM, if this country is so evil, you and your battery powered bike are free to go anywhere else in the world to see if the grass is greener. As for the nukes in WWII, they finished a war we did not start and saved more American and Japanese lives by ending the conflict without a conventional invasion of Japan. Is America pure as the snow? Not even close, but I am quite comfortable that we have been on the right side of history much more often than not. Maybe you would rather live in Syria or North Korea? Funny how you condemn America for its sins real and alleged, but pass off recent WMD use by other countries as "between them and their government."
          2 wheeled menace
          • 11 Months Ago
          @mustsvt
          I've heard that before. Sounds like you aren't interested in fixing the problem. Just outcast the person who is disturbed by his country murdering millions of people and continually interfering with others. I bet the Germans probably thought Hitler was doing a great job.. Patriotism can make someone experience mental tunnel vision.. such as believing the lies we were told about WWII.. Another victim of our awful school system and media..
          2 wheeled menace
          • 11 Months Ago
          @mustsvt
          It's not your or my business what happens in another country. For example, we were worried about WMDs in Iraq, so we killed about half a million people there with sanctions and bombs to get at their dictator. Mostly innocents were killed. All because he was bad to his people. We killed way way more Iraqis than Saddam ever did. That seems to be a thread through history; our government tells us that we must stop some injustice in a foreign country, and we go over there and make it worse. Hey, Al Qaeda didn't take over Iraq until we blew fallujah to smithereens.. Afghanistan wasn't chock full of terrorists until Reagan funded religious extremists to the tune of billions of dollars.. We drop toxic chemicals on Vietnam, claiming that they attacked us, which they later admitted was a false flag to get the war started. Are we really peace bringers? history does not say so.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 11 Months Ago
          @mustsvt
          We've used plenty of chemical weapons on our own people, and are the only country that has dropped a nuclear weapon on anyone. By that logic, would it be justified for someone to blow our country to smithereens?
        juststudent
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Military doesn't give a damn about the environment. Alternate fuel is developed to combat rising fossil fuel cost and to some degree reduce logistic complexity.
      danfred311
      • 11 Months Ago
      Let's not make it too electric. Otherwise, why would they need to kill millions to steal their oil.
        holophonic
        • 11 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        "With all your getting, get understanding. " Who are they top 5 oil producers in the world? What is this list projected to look like in 5 years?
      Fighting Hellfish
      • 11 Months Ago
      Is the driver going to put a Greeenpeace bumper sticker on it? Perhaps a Sierra Club, Save the Wales or maybe even one of those stupid Coexist stickers that you always see on those hippy freaky people owned Subaru's?
        James
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Fighting Hellfish
        I don't understand "Fighting Hellfish"'s comments. By decreasing fuel usage we bring the US Army closer to being energy independent. With lower fuel usage we can decrease support needs, increase the length of support lines allowing us to strike farther, faster, and more resolutely. It also means we don't have to rely on our frenemies, China and Russia, for oil, an easily manipulated commodity subject to shortages. When solar cells become so efficient and nuclear reactors become so small that our armored troops no longer have to worry about running out of fuel, that is when our Army becomes an unstoppable force. Anything that brings us closer to that is a Good Thing.
        CoolWaters
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Fighting Hellfish
        Save the Wales, yes they need saving.
        subaruman28
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Fighting Hellfish
        the funny thing is the hippy freaky people that drive subarus are actually normal people unlike you. real human beings drive subarus while all others-you- are morons.
        EvilTollMan
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Fighting Hellfish
        Shut up with the friggin politics.
        superchan7
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Fighting Hellfish
        You must be a real popular guy to judge people on their brand of car.
      Teleny411
      • 11 Months Ago
      I don't believe any US military vehicle should be built with critical components from a foreign power.
        Anonymous
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Teleny411
        Just to let you know, The US and Japan have had a mutual assistance treaty for more than 60 years. Your statement might as well be suggesting we declare war on Canada. Either way, it's not as if we're relying on Afghanistan or Pakistan for our hardware.
      Ele Truk
      • 11 Months Ago
      " Armored Humvees can weigh more than seven tons, and while the ULV is just under 14,000 pounds" And the difference is? Ton = 2000 pounds x 7 = 14,000 pounds. Doesn't seem to "Ultra Light" to me.
        RL to RL
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Ele Truk
        Would it take that much time to figure out such simple unit conversion? Oh wait rhetorical question. 1kg= 2.2lbs and 7 tons = 7000kg=15400 lbs. A whopping 1400lbs less. I didn't know 1400lbs is insignificant LOL
          Jesse Gurr
          • 11 Months Ago
          @RL to RL
          A metric ton is 2200 pounds. That is what you were thinking of.
          Mr.Roadrage
          • 11 Months Ago
          @RL to RL
          A ton is 2000lbs. A tonne is 1000kg.
          danfred311
          • 11 Months Ago
          @RL to RL
          the crazy "americans" don't define a ton as 1000kg. that would be entirely too rational. No, it's 2000lbs. You'd think that's a joke but it's not. it's tragically true.
    • Load More Comments