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Jed Boal ReportingWith gas prices settling at more than two-dollars per gallon American consumers and automakers seem to be getting serious about electric cars and so is the US Army. A Utah company is pushing the pace in the race for the next generation of electric cars.
The Army's Humvee is a hard-nosed war wagon, but it's a gas guzzler too and the Army is ready to give it an overhaul to make a more energy efficient hybrid Humvee. Raser Technologies of Provo plans to give the Army the jump start it wants.
Timothy Fehr, Senior Vice President: "It's a very big pay-off from a cost of operations stand-point for the army."
The electric motor company signed a contract with the Army to develop an integrated starter-alternator for the Humvee and future tactical vehicles. Raser recently increased horsepower in a small electric motor.
Brent Cook, C.E.O. of Raser Technologies: "It allows us to drive more and more off the electrical system and have the combustion system function as a recharge system."
In independent testing Raser showed the Army what the motor could do; in the next 15 months they'll design, build and test hybrid Humvees. The hybrid Humvee has another advantage over its diesel predecessor, as Raser demonstrated with these hybrids already on the market.
A quieter ride appeals to the Army for stealth operations.
Timothy Fehr, Senior Vice President: "It will work very well. If it works for the army it will work for the commercial trucking industry."
From delivery trucks to 18-wheelers...
Brent Cook, C.E.O. of Raser Technologies: "The development that happens for the military opens up doors for the consumer to use it in their everyday lives."
And that can be big news for the average consumer, as well. Besides starting the vehicle, the electric motor in the Humvee can power tools; larger hybrid trucks could even power a small military encampment.