U.S. Army displays vehicle in a new shade of green

Published June 9, 2011

By Jeff Cobb

U.S. Army CERV

U.S. Army vehicles have long been green – or at least Olive Drab – but at this year’s Indianapolis 500, the military branch showcased a heavy duty hybrid that was green beneath the skin.

How “green” is it? The Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle (CERV) created by Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide is being called by the U.S. Army one of the “greenest technologies” in its fleet.

Built for the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), the CERV is sufficiently hard core so as to make a Hummer look ordinary.

The second generation, stealthy personnel transport utilizes Quantum’s “Q-Force all-wheel drive diesel hybrid-electric technology” and a “light-weight chassis.”

While “light weight” is undoubtedly a qualified term, the CERV is said to deliver torque of 5,000 foot-pounds, has a top speed of 80 mph, and can climb 60-percent grades.

Just what you need to get to work or the shopping mall, right?

Actually the high performance vehicle was designed for quick-paced mobility operations such as reconnaissance, surveillance and target designation.

The CERV uses 25-percent less fuel than a comparable vehicle of its size, and one concern in creating such a vehicle is pragmatic.

Less petrol-based energy consumption means less fuel to have to transport.

The primary motivation for the Army to commission the research and development for this hybrid however is a presidential executive order that led to the creation of the “Army Vision for Net Zero” team.

In October 2009, President Obama signed an executive order mandating that federal agencies focus on improving their environmental, energy, and economic performance.

While it was at it, the mandate also called for new building construction to be net zero by 2030, and for a 30-percent reduction in water usage, and 50-percent reduction of waste sent to landfills.

The military was not overlooked in this sweeping mandate, and the U.S. Army has treated the orders as a challenge.

As one answer to the challenge, the CERV was showcased in the popular civilian setting of the Indy 500 as part of the motor speedway’s first ever Emerging Technologies day.

In addition to hybrid vehicles, solar-powered technology sponsored by Purdue University were also on display.

These are indeed changing times.