Electrification of the automobile has been proliferating in many interesting ways.  Perhaps one of the more surprising yet sensible ideas is the apparent plan to hybridize the military's Humvee.

The Humvee is of course the massive armored and powerful any-terrain vehicle that the US military uses as its workhorse both on and of the battlefield.

Indiana-based EnerDel has received a $1.29 million development contract with the US Army to produce next generation lithium-ion battery packs for the Army's XM1124 Humvee.

The company will spend the next 18 months working with the Army at its U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC)to produce 4 working prototypes that will be subjected to extreme environments.

Press Release:

EnerDel Wins U.S. Army Contract to Develop Batteries for New “Hybrid Humvee”

Program will Test EnerDel’s High-Performance Solutions under the Most Extreme Conditions
Indianapolis, IN (November 5, 2009) – Automotive lithium-ion battery maker EnerDel, Inc. announced today that it will be working with the United States Army to develop a next-generation battery system for the hybrid version of the iconic High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee), known as the XM1124 Humvee. The company, a subsidiary of Ener1, Inc. (NASDAQ: HEV), has received a $1.29 million contract to design and build high-performance lithium-ion battery systems for two different applications, drawing on its expertise in multiple-chemistry solutions and ability to provide a complete architecture in cell chemistry, electronics and battery systems design.

“This is an opportunity to showcase the true capabilities of the EnerDel technology in conditions that demand the highest levels of safety, performance and reliability,” said Rick Stanley, EnerDel President. “In keeping with a long tradition, we also expect that innovations perfected here will have important benefits for the commercial markets.”

EnerDel will spend the next 18 months collaborating with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to produce four custom-built power systems that will be subjected to extreme performance simulations.

TARDEC will be testing two of EnerDel’s battery chemistries. In addition to its lithium-manganese spinel chemistry, best suited for extending electric vehicle range or electronic systems runtime, the program will also be testing EnerDel’s lithium-titanate system, an advanced chemistry developed in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, designed for extreme high-power hybrids that require hard acceleration and braking.

While the XM1124 Humvee is already significantly more efficient than the conventional M1113 Humvee, boasting a higher top speed, faster acceleration, longer range and improved fuel economy, expectations are that the new, upgraded battery packs will greatly increase the peak power capability of the current demonstration vehicles.

In addition, the robust battery technology will also include an all-electric “silent watch” capability which will power the electronics or traction motor without running the truck’s diesel generator, significantly reducing both the audible and thermal signatures of the vehicle, making it easier to escape detection by hostile parties. An EnerDel-equipped XM1124 Humvee could also function as a portable power plant to power a mobile command post or field hospital.

TARDEC, part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), is headquartered at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Michigan. It is the nation's laboratory for advanced military automotive technology. TARDEC develops and integrates technology solutions to improve the effectiveness of the current force and realize the superior capability of the future force. Its technical staff leads research in ground vehicle survivability, mobility, intelligent systems and maneuver support and sustainment.

The TARDEC award further spurs Ener1’s business momentum. The company has announced active relationships with Think Global, Fisker and Volvo and has a research program with Nissan and Argonne National Laboratory. Ener1 was recently selected to be awarded a $118.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy under the Federal Stimulus program and is awaiting approval of additional long-term, low-interest loan funds under the Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program. EnerDel's two factories in Indianapolis are the first, and so far only, commercial-scale, automotive-grade lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities in the United States.