It seemed like a green dream, ready to come true: the Army replacing its gas-chugging Humvees with clean, enviro-friendly electric hybrids. But, for now, it'll have to stay a wish unfulfilled. The Army has decided to stop funding the development of the hybrid Hummers, National Defense magazine reports.During the past decade, the Army has supported a number of development programs to equip military vehicles with hybrid-electric engines, but none has transitioned yet to full production. The hybrid Humvee was viewed as one of the more promising efforts, with at least six prototypes in the works.Although the Army continues to struggle with the enormous logistics burdens of transporting millions of gallons of fuel to combat zones, it has not yet been convinced that hybrid-electric engines are the way to go. Hybrid systems, though more fuel efficient, have proved to be more expensive and less rugged than advocates had hoped.We have to prove that it works as touted, said Claude Bolton, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, technology and logistics. It has yet to be seen whether hybrid vehicles will ever be accepted in the Armys truck fleets, he told an industry conference.Another hybrid prototype now in development is the Armys wrecker, the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. The manufacturer of the HEMTT, Oshkosh Truck Corp., equipped the vehicle with a hybrid system similar to one now in use in civilian trucks, such as fire engines.But the Army is not yet persuaded that the HEMTT should be hybrid, said Lt. Col. Lisa Kirkpatrick, program manager for Army heavy trucks.We need to test it against conventional power train, she said. I have told Oshkosh to be prepared to go back to conventional power train if hybrid electric doesnt work. I dont know if hybrid electric will deliver what it promises.
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