Magazine article National Defense

Readers Forum

Magazine article National Defense

Readers Forum

Article excerpt

The History of Hybrid Electric Trucks Following World War II, a brave entrepreneur, named R. G. LeTourneau, put his resources to work developing a new power system to drive the giant wheels of his earth-moving equipment. It worked, and his monsters rivaled Caterpillar. As I recall, he got in trouble charging off his research and development expense to what the Internal Revenue Service said was a commercial for-profit land/timber clearing operation in Africa. LeTourneau held that it was all a gift to his church. Guess who won? I think Westinghouse bailed him out and took over--later dropping his name in favor of using just the Westinghouse name.

Because of my familiarity with LeTourneau's project, I found your article ("Push for 'Commonality' Propels Heavy Tactical Truck Program", January 2001, p. 28) very interesting, but was also left wondering about Steve Cortese's comment that the Army doesn't "...want to buy large quantities of hybrid electric trucks until [it is] convinced that the technology is really ready and mature enough for the rigors of military development."

The technology is at least 50 years old, and it's hard to imagine the rigors of a military vehicle being more demanding than the day-in day-out demands placed on heavy earth-moving equipment. …

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