The US Army has approved the requirements to begin prototyping its new Electric Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (eLRV).

According to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Sustainment Timothy Goddette, the budget is now being prepared. Prototyping and the early stages of the program could begin as early as next year.

However, the first prototypes may be partially electric due to the lack of availability of all necessary technologies.

“I don’t think the requirements says it has to be pure electric … it says a range from hybrid through electric, depending on where the technology is,” Goddette explained, as quoted by Breaking Defense.

The US Army is expected to issue a request for proposals from defense industry partners early next year.

If the budget is approved and the project pushes through, the first eLRV prototypes could reach the service by 2025.

Foreseen Issues

The US Army has been seeking ways to replace its fleet of diesel-engine vehicles with a hybrid or all-electric fleet to slash carbon emissions.

Army Installations, Energy, and Environment acting assistant secretary Paul Farnan revealed last year that the service has already begun phasing out fuel-burning vehicles as part of the country’s Climate Strategy.

Goddette said the army will be unlikely to have a fully electric fleet until 2050 due to system availability issues, adding that the number of batteries a vehicle requires can present a problem.

“Even if you have an electric vehicle, you still have to ask the question under the concept of the operation. Where do batteries have to go so that I can now have that right balance?” he explained.

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Another problem is recharging the batteries in austere environments.

A hybrid-electric fleet is a “more realistic” term for the army to pursue, Goddette concluded.