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GM Defense selected for DoD energy storage project, showcases concept vehicles

29th June 2023 - 15:00 GMT | by Wilder Alejandro Sanchez in Washington DC

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The Electric Military Concept Vehicle is a variant of the fielded nine-passenger Infantry Squad Vehicle developed for the US Army. (Photo: US Army)

GM Defense announced on 27 June that it has been selected by the DoD's Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to prototype an efficient energy storage unit (ESU). The company also displayed its new Electric Military Concept Vehicle at Modern Day Marine.

Shephard spoke to Paul Beaker, GM Defense's chief engineer and director, advanced product development, at the Modern Day Marine expo in Washington, DC about the company’s new systems and concept vehicles.

GM will provide the Ultium platform for the DIU’s Stable Tactical Expeditionary Electric Power (STEEP) programme. ‘STEEP seeks to support tactical microgrid and energy management capabilities in austere locations, reducing logistical requirements and the reliance on fossil fuels as the primary energy source across the DoD,’ the company explained in a 27 June release. 

The Ultium ESU is ‘ideal’ for deployment to forward operating bases, where it can work independently or alongside diesel generators, Beaker told Shephard. The company adds that the system can also be deployed for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

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Additionally, other generators running mission-critical equipment and electric vehicles can draw power from the ESU, which can run silently and provide up to 60kWh. It has a maximum weight of 1.814kg, ‘the requirement set by DIU', Beaker told Shephard

The ESU can be charged by diesel, solar or hydrogen energy.

GM Defense won its first contract award from DIU in autumn 2022 to provide a prototyping battery system based on the Ultium platform supporting the Jumpstart for Advanced Battery Standardization (JABS) project. 

‘GM Defense will build upon the additional test phases in the JABS program and the start of STEEP… if successful, STEEP will transition to a US Marine Corps programme,’ the company noted in its release.

At MDM, GM Defense showcased for the first time its Electric Military Concept Vehicle (eMCV), as well as the four-seat Multi-Mission and Logistics Vehicle (MMLV), or ISV-4, a variant of the fielded nine-passenger Infantry Squad Vehicle developed for the US Army.

The EMCV leverages the chassis and electric propulsion system of the GMC Hummer EV. The vehicle has a 24-module, double-stacked (200+kWh) Ultium battery pack and provides energy for a GM-estimated final combined driving range of more than 529km. 

The concept EMCV featured a gun ring and swing side-arm mount at MDM.

The EMCV has yet to undergo tests. However, Beaker explained that trials could occur in the second half of 2023 or early 2024, depending on potential customer interest in the vehicle.

The ISV-4 weighs ‘less than 2,232kg’ and is powered by a GM Duramax 2.8L I-4 LWN diesel engine. 

The concept vehicle was displayed with the Black Sage Sawtooth counter-UAS system at MDM. The vehicle is air transportable in a Chinook helicopter, according to the company.

Beaker added that through digital engineering, GM Defense had simulated field airdrop tests to help ensure successful completion of this validation for the nine-seat ISV. 

‘Our vehicle and support system structure passed the test the first time and subsequent tests,’ he explained. The company will carry out similar tests if there is customer interest in the four-seat ISV-4.

‘We utilise commercially available technology, which means our vehicles are easy to repair and find spare parts for,’ the executive explained, ‘hence the production costs are lower initially and in the long term as our vehicles can be mass-produced.’

Wilder Alejandro Sanchez

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Wilder Alejandro Sanchez


Wilder Alejandro Sánchez is an analyst who covers defense & security, geopolitical, and trade issues …

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