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Two Hybrid Electric “Crusher” Combat UGVs Powered by UQM Propulsion Systems/Generators Test Toda
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Mar 24, 2006
More Security and Defense stories
The 6.5 ton “Crusher” vehicles – as this new generation of the older “Spinner” vehicle is dubbed - is being developed and built by a team led by the National Robotics Engineering Center, a unit of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. The two additional Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles (UGCV’s) are greatly upgraded versions of the original 8.5 ton “Spinner” which began field demonstrations over three years ago and was powered by an earlier generation of UQM® propulsion motors and a micro-turbine generator. The UGCV platform is an Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD) that complements the Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) networked system environment of manned and unmanned ground and airborne weapon systems with superior levels of mobility and reduced logistic needs.

The two additional “Crushers” are each powered by six specially developed high torque wheel mounted UQM® propulsion motors that operate utilizing energy produced by a UQM® generator driven by a small diesel engine. The propulsion systems have been upgraded to incorporate a number of the Company’s recent proprietary technology developments including full wave commutation control. These upgrades have increased the torque, power, efficiency and speed of the propulsion systems and have reduced their audible noise signature. In addition, the propulsion systems have the capability to operate at full rated power and torque in both forward and reverse directions and can dynamically switch from full-power forward to full-power reverse as required. The vehicles recently completed very rigorous and demanding demonstration, performance and initial durability testing at Fort Hood, Texas and are slated to undergo additional testing in 2006 in Central Pennsylvania, Colorado (Ft. Carson) and Kentucky (Ft. Knox).

John Bares, the UGCV program’s Principal Investigator at Carnegie Mellon said, “We are very pleased with the results of our initial performance and durability testing at Fort Hood which have verified the vehicles ability to achieve its performance specifications. UQM Technologies has been a critical team member in this endeavor, and their ability to continue to enhance the performance of their propulsion motors and generators has allowed the “Crusher” vehicles to demonstrate mobility capabilities that just a few years ago seemed beyond reach. The reduction in noise and improvement in efficiency has improved the vehicle’s stealth capability and the increased torque, power and ability to operate at full speed forward and reverse has significantly increased the vehicle’s overall mobility. We are thrilled with the performance of the UQM® motors and generators and attribute the Spinner’s excellent mobility characteristics solely to the advantages of their propulsion system technology. Since the upgraded motor is not direction-specific, spare parts inventory has been reduced by 50 percent.”

UQM Technologies’ President and Chief Executive Officer, William G. Rankin, said “We are pleased that Carnegie Mellon has added our generators to the upgraded “Spinners”. The generator and high torque propulsion motors containing our full wave commutation technology were specially developed to meet the demanding requirements of this incredibly mobile vehicle platform and have greatly enhanced the performance capability of the first generation “Spinner” which was rated by most as spectacular. The ability of our propulsion motors to perform when mounted directly in the wheels of a vehicle, where they experience extremely high loads due to shock and vibration, once again demonstrates the durability of our propulsion systems in the most rugged and demanding operating environments. We are looking forward to the completion of field testing and commencing the next step in the deployment of the technologies demonstrated in this vehicle on the battlefield.”

UQM Technologies, Inc. is a developer and manufacturer of power dense, high efficiency electric motors, generators and power electronic controllers for the automotive, aerospace, medical, military and industrial markets. A major emphasis of the Company is developing products for the alternative energy technologies sector including propulsion systems for electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, 42-volt under-the-hood power accessories and other vehicle auxiliaries and distributed power generation applications. The Company’s headquarters, engineering and product development center, and motor manufacturing operation are located in Frederick, Colorado. For more information on the Company, please visit its worldwide website at

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