Tank Takes Hybrids To Next Level

By Keith Buglewicz | February 29, 2012
The hybrid stereotype is nearly carved in stone these days: They're eco-friendly smugmobiles driven by Hollywood stars, enviro-weenies, and neo-hippies, right? You can't spell "Prius" without getting halfway through "prissy" first, amiright? Well, then there's this tank, see.... Defense contractor BAE Systems has introduced its concept for the next-generation Ground Combat Vehicle—or GCV—and yes, it's a hybrid (and yes, we know, technically it isn't a tank). A hybrid with a 25mm autocannon and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, but a hybrid nonetheless. So why would the U.S. Army even consider such a thing? The same reason you might want to park that Prius in your driveway instead of a Tundra: fuel costs.
BAE's GCV is projected to get fuel economy that's about 10-20 percent better than conventionally powered vehicles in its class. That means that the 70-ton GCV will burn through its 255 gallons of diesel fuel in 186 miles. Now, that sounds pretty bad, and for a car, it is. But think of it like this. Let's say you're invading Iraq again, just for old time's sake. The drive from Kuwait to Baghdad is about 400 miles, give or take. Your conventional armored hauler would require an additional 130 or so gallons of fuel to make the trip versus the GCV. Multiply that over potentially hundreds of GCVs, and you start to see some serious cost cutting opportunities. The GCV is still in the planning stages, and BAE Systems boasts it will have all the latest improvements in modern warfare: a three-person crew with room for nine infantry; protection that exceeds the mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles developed for Afghanistan and Iraq; improved mobility and "dash speeds" thanks to its hybrid drivetrain. When it will actually go into production is anybody's guess, but when (if) it does, it'll have a service life of around 30-40 years, proving once and for all that hybrids are no passing fad. Source: BAE Systems