US Army Hybrid A Dune Buggy On Steroids

The ongoing Chicago Auto show features the latest concept vehicles, hybrids and electric vehicles. It also features something a little less likely—the U.S. Army’s brand new Quantum Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle. However, this is not your father’s Quantum Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle (CERV)—this is a hybrid.

According to its manufacturer, Detroit-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, the CERV was sent to Chicago to showcase its green technology that will save money and address environmental concerns. As for the Army, it calls the new CERV one of its greenest vehicles and claim that the vehicle “saves taxpayer dollars and—most importantly—saves soldiers’ lives.” Quantum said the CERV, which we first wrote about last year when it made an appearance at the Indy 500, “is being tested around the country.”


image via U.S. Army

The CERV is a lightweight, all-wheel drive diesel-electric hybrid with a top speed of 80 mph. But what’s really eye-popping about the CERV—which looks like a dune buggy on steroids—is that it makes 5,000 pound-feet of torque. That’s a massive number and enough to enable the fully loaded vehicle to ascend 60 percent grades. The CERV is also capable of running silently on electricity for up to eight miles. The Army says the hybrid will cut fuel consumption by up to 25 percent over similarly sized conventional vehicles.


image via Quantum

The CERV is designed to carry four soldiers and is fitted with a large cargo platform and either a 7.62 mm or 12.7 mm machine gun. Because of its unique features (speed, silence, all-wheel drive ability) the hybrid is designed for reconnaissance, targeting and rescue missions. According to Quantum CEO Alan P. Niedzwiecki, the hybrids “are ideal to support tactical operations in both urban and un-urban environments across the broad range of U.S. military operations and terrain profiles, for direct action, reconnaissance, and unconventional warfare and counter terrorism.”

The Army says the CERVs are currently being tested around the country before being put into use as a special forces vehicle.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.


  • Reply February 18, 2012

    Buster G

    I remember a TV show in the ’60’s called the Rat Patrol. They’re vehicles were better looking and would at least repel small arms fare. BTW, they were fighting Rommels Africa Corp and that was 1941! Regress much, have we?

    • Reply February 22, 2012


      Umm, that was a *TV show*.   You know, as in fiction?

      • Reply February 23, 2012


        The show was based on the exploits of the British LRDP forces in Africa.  Show was fake, the premise real.  

        • Reply February 27, 2012


          They say it’s advantages include all-wheel drive and an 80 mph speed. The current military humvees had that 25 years ago. Silent movement on electric power?  OK,nice,but only for 8 miles. [what kind of load/slope/terrain…..ideal only?] A sleeve valve system and better muffler could probably equal the silence of an electric/diesel hybrid more cheaply and simply. They claim better fuel efficiency,but this thing looks way stripped down from what I drove in Iraq-put a ton of armor on it,then rate it’s mpg.

          • April 13, 2012


            That’s a good point.  I have not been there, so I don’t really know, but wouldn’t happening upon an IED in one of these really suck?  And, what happens when the battery is breached?

            Finally, and most importantly, thanks to you and your comrades for your service.  You’re the BEST!!!

      • Reply February 23, 2012

        Steve Klein

         Umm, yes, it was a TV show, and of course, being a product of Hollywood, it was as much or more hype than honest, just like the Combat series. BUT -and a big but-, it was based on the factual missions of the British Desert Rats of that time and place. And they were driving the “dune buggy” of that time, a US Army Jeep. And they did indeed give Rommel a run for his money. You should really study your history, before making such absurd statements. Oh! I forgot. History is no longer taught in schools.

        • Reply February 24, 2012


          Umm.  Yes.  You realize that it costs between $100 and $400 to deliver a single gallon of gas/diesel to forward deployed troops in Afghanistan.  Maybe people smarter than you, people who specialize in logistics, are looking for solutions to that problem.  Like a vehicle that can accomplish a mission and limit fuel consumption.  You should really study current realities, like mission sustainability vs. high logistical costs, before making absurd posts.  Oh! I forgot, rationality is no longer taught in our schools.

  • Reply February 21, 2012


    It looks like a glorified dune buggy to me, but again without its diesel engine ,it wouldn’t go very far.

    • Reply February 23, 2012

      Jn Brown

      8 miles silent is a long way with a 60 lb ruck my friend

  • Reply March 2, 2012


    wish we could buy diesels like the military.

  • Reply March 3, 2012


    Applying green technology to military vehicles is a joke.The absurdity of this article is the incarnation of the Abrams Tank. It’s got a jet engine driving it. It doesn’t weight pounds. It weights tons. For a ground vehicle it flys. Who the hell cares about mileage? Its mileage isn’t measured in miles per gallon, its in gallons per mile.  It does what it has to do: destroy everything opposing it. You know, it you can’t afford the gas, then you can’t afford the war. Become a Democrat!

    • Reply April 4, 2012

      J B

      Wrong. One of the biggest challenges to supplying an army is maintaining a forward supply line for fuel. Many US drivers have been killed in Pakistan doing their fuel runs into Afghanistan. General Patton had to slow his advance into Germany several times after outrunning the fuel supply lines.  Every gallon of gas saved is a gallon of gas that does not need to be delivered. The Pentagon is smart enough to recognize the strategic military advantage of fuel efficiency. It’s unfortunate that you are not.

    • Reply April 13, 2012


      Tell it to Rommel.

  • Reply March 3, 2012


    “Rat Patrol” was so corny it was not shown in Britain and Australia,because of objections by real LRDG vets. For a good account of the real thing,try to find the book “Popski’s Private Army” if you can. Yes,jeeps did make a hell of an impact in the North Afican desert-in part because of 4wd capability,but also just because they were small. If they got stuck,4 strong men could literally pick one up and carry it out of the sand trap.

  • Reply March 5, 2012


    im stumped how will that vehicle save lives the military hardly ever drives off the paved roads

    • Reply April 4, 2012

      J B

      there is approximately 1 paved road in Afghanistan

      • Reply April 23, 2012


        Yes it runs from Herat to Khandahar to Kabul over the Kyber to Jalalabad.  Travelled it on a BSA Lighting in 1970.  Was only shot at twice

  • Reply March 24, 2012


    I know what I want for christmas…….

  • Reply April 21, 2012


    Lacks armour can’t save lives because LED will eat it alive.

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