Energy efficiency might not always be the highest priority for the military, but after hearing about how the Army spends more on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan than NASA's entire budget, we think they should give it a second look. And they are, with a new generation of gas-electric hybrid tanks.
BAE and Northrop Grumman's new Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) features a hybrid electric drive (HED) which increases fuel economy by between 10% and 20% while also helping the GCV accelerate quicker off the line in drag races. It's also more reliable, easier and cheaper to maintain, and can move silently for a little bit if it needs to.
Despite the fancy powertrain, you shouldn't go expecting to get good gas mileage out of a vehicle that weighs 140,000 pounds unloaded. The GCV has a range of 186 miles on a tank of gas that holds 255 gallons, yielding about 3/4 of a mile per gallon, but at least it can seat 12 people in comfort and safety behind modular armor packages and a steel hull. If things get nasty, the GCV sports an unmanned turret with a 25mm autocannon and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
Each GCV will likely cost about $12 million, which seems like a lot, but with a lifespan of 30-40 years, the Army is hoping to make a long-term investment in efficiency.