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."
The CERV is a lightweight, all-wheel drive diesel-electric hybrid that 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.
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.