Future Army vehicles could go electric

The Australian army is inquiring into the potential for electric vehicles for its fleet.

Citing a combination of legislative pressure, industry disinvestment from internal combustion engines, and their subsequent decline in production, a paper by Major Matthew Wood, sets out the Army’s strategy for the future acquisition of electric vehicles.

Noting that for the Army, the energy requirements of electric vehicles go beyond fuel efficiency, Wood argues that electric vehicles offer the Australian defence forces the opportunity to progress objectives and future force capabilities.

With Toyota and the Volkswagen Group phasing out the production of diesel-based technologies, the future fleet of the Australian army will increasingly rely upon a combination of fuel cell, hybrid, and electric vehicles.

“This period of change should not be viewed negatively as the end of a golden era, but rather the beginning of a better one, with better capabilities for both the general consumer and the ADF,” writes Wood.

These benefits include greater adaptability within electric vehicle platforms for sub-system growth. Other benefits include instantaneous acceleration, deep water forming, simplified maintenance, and increased fighting compartment volume.

Furthermore, with increasing demand for directed energy weapons, electric vehicle systems can produce the required level of energy generation.

With investment in renewables growing, beyond double that of investment in fossil fuels, Wood highlights that a reliance on fossil fuel-driven vehicles would render these platforms obsolete in the near future. In addition, with dwindling supply of fuels through reduction in production, fuel costs could dramatically increase.

“Investment now may derive significant future savings – from a cost of ownership perspective, but also in respect to the cost of transition,” writes Wood.

The remaining question for the Army, according to Wood, is when to transition to these new energy systems, both to avoid supporting unsustainable platforms, while also ensure that the vehicles remain interoperable with other global systems.