Hybrid Electric Military Bulldozers Undergo Testing in Southern California

Navy and Army engineers are conducting on November 9 tests of a new diesel electric bulldozer at Naval Base Ventura County, California to compare fuel consumption and performance with older, less energy efficient legacy military bulldozers.

The testing will create an accurate, comparative baseline evaluation of legacy equipment, identifying limitations of potential improvements to bulldozer operations while gauging the productivity impact of the new diesel electric propulsion and automatic blade control systems. Testing will also measure the possible energy savings it may deliver if selected for use by Amphibious and Expeditionary Forces worldwide.

“The Department of Defense is reviewing their budget to achieve significant cost savings across the board,” said Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center Commanding Officer, Capt. Brant D. Pickrell. “The Navy is doing their part by looking at ways to cut costs without affecting the mission. Saving energy-related costs are a huge component of that effort and we believe this technology will help us reach the Navy Task Force Energy-Expeditionary goals of reducing deployed fuel consumption and increasing fuel efficiency by 15 percent by the year 2020 in support of the SECNAV’s energy vision” said Pickrell.

The project is the result of a partnering effort by the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to use the training facility at the Naval Base Ventura County, which offers a consistent climate favorable to the testing. The effort is supported by personnel from the NAVFAC Engineering Service Center (NAVFAC ESC), the First Naval Construction Division (1NCD), the 31st Seabee Readiness Group (SRG), and private industry. 

The 31st SRG of the 1NCD contributed experienced equipment operators to support the tests and gained knowledge and experience with the new diesel electric technology in reducing energy consumption of heavy construction equipment. 1NCD oversees about 16,000 Navy Seabees, who provide a wide range of military construction and humanitarian assistance worldwide.

The diesel electric bulldozer, as tested, is equipped with a digital guidance system for automatic dozer blade control, allowing operators to achieve better grading accuracy without the use of survey stakes. The diesel electric bulldozer does not have a power storage battery pack, transmission, or torque converter. It uses a diesel generator to generate electricity to power two electric motors, which in turn, drive the two tracks. 

Participation in this comparison test enables the Navy to assess new, promising technologies to reduce the fuel consumption of expeditionary construction equipment used by the Seabees in deployment and training. Navy and Army engineers believe the test results from the diesel electric dozer will ultimately show a notable reduction in fuel consumption and lower overall operating costs.


Story Number: NNS111109-18, Release Date: 11/9/2011 3:06:00 PM

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