The AM General HMMWV, otherwise known as the Humvee, has served the United States military well for roughly 40 years now. The thing is, it's awfully slow and not all that fuel-efficient. Reliability and capability matter most in this application, but the 6.5-liter Detroit diesel engine has undeniably grown tired. That's why the hot-rodders at Banks Power in Southern California have developed the first electrified diesel Humvee powertrain for testing by the U.S. Army.
Banks did this work under contract for the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO), taking a stock Humvee and retrofitting it with the new hybrid drive system. The goal is to offer quicker acceleration, which is still important in tactical applications, as well as improved range on a tank of fuel. The well-known speed shop believes it has achieved this in an interesting way.
By designing, manufacturing, and dyno testing in-house, Banks was able to combine an 800-volt battery and an electric motor generator unit with what it's calling a D630TH diesel engine. The "D" stands for defense, while "6" refers to the number of cylinders, "3" represents the 3.0-liter displacement, "T" is short for turbo, and "H" is for hybrid. You can see that it's arranged in a V configuration.
"This Humvee is quicker and faster than the current vehicle, has far greater range, can run silently, and is capable of exporting enough power to operate an entire mobile tactical operation center," Banks Power founder Gale Banks says. "We've not only made the Humvee relevant again; we've future-proofed it."
A lot of details remain unknown, as is typical with official military projects like this. But you can see the 3.0-liter V6 fits just fine under the hood, and the high-voltage battery pack is located in the trunk. These shots of the interior show a drive-mode switch to the left of the steering wheel with three settings: Sys Off, Silent, and Hybrid. Just beside that is a Banks iDash digital gauge, and there's a digital read-out screen in the center for reading vital information like rpm and what looks like state of charge for the battery.
Banks is better known for tuning diesel pickups—really, anything with a turbocharger—but it does have an established background in the defense space. This may be the mightiest project yet for the shop in Azusa, especially if it's tasked with hybridizing the bulk of the U.S. Army's 100,000 or so Humvees. In addition to the performance and utility benefits the hybrid system offers, it also aims to reduce the military's reliance on fossil fuels. This won't do away with diesel fuel completely, and it shouldn't as it's readily available in most of the world, but it's a neat look at what the future of defense mobility will look like.
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