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US Army plans for an EV future


The US Army has been tentatively testing EV technology for some time. Electrification offers opportunities to streamline the military’s logistics tail and to improve its mobility and reach, and the process needs to move faster, a general with Army Futures Command told Defense News in a recent interview.

“Let’s be clear. We’re behind. We’re late to meet on this
thing,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Wesley, the Director of the Army’s Futures and
Concepts Center. “All of the various nations that we work with, they’re all
going to electric power with their automotive fleet, and right now, although…we’ve
got some research and development going on and we can build prototypes, in
terms of a transition plan, we are not there.”

For example, the Army tested a hybrid Chevy Colorado that
was equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell and electric drive, but nothing came of the
effort.

Buying a Tesla vehicle is easy, but “the Army has to think
about it much bigger,” Wesley said. “What is the cost of replacing your entire
fleet? We know we can’t do that. There’s got to be a steady transition.”

Wesley’s command is currently preparing a proposal that will
address how the service might electrify its logistics and sustainment tails. The
proposal will make a business case for electrification, discuss the technical
feasibility and describe a transition process.

The entire automotive industry is going electric, Wesley told Defense News, so the Army will have to do the same or risk problems with resources and supply chains down the line.

Electrifying also offers several advantages. For one, it
would make it easier to supply power to the array of high-tech devices that a
modern army depends on. “We have to operate distributed, which means you have
to have organic power that is readily available,” Wesley said. “A lot of
technology is being distributed at lower and lower echelons, and the question
is always: ‘How are we going to power these [highly technical] tools that we
use in operations?’ Electrification allows you to have access to readily
available power to distribute not only for the vehicle but for all those
different systems.”

Dealing with fewer parts would also be a benefit. The
general noted that a Tesla has only a few dozen moving parts, while an ICE
vehicle may have thousands. He added that EVs’ silence and low heat signature
could make them less likely to be detected by enemy forces.

Source: Defense News