Oshkosh has been making tactical all-terrain vehicles for the military for years now, ranging from the 72-ton payload hauling Global Het, to their high-speed response and security vehicle, the SandCat. What that means is that Oshkosh is a company that must create, design and innovate to stay current in the ever developing world of advanced military vehicles. One such creation, the Oshkosh Light Concept, recently competed in the 43rd Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and did so with the mission of showing off their latest serial diesel-electric ProPulse hybrid drive configuration.
A diesel engine provides power to an electric generator, which then sends power directly to the wheels thus eliminating parts like a torque converter, transfer case, automatic transmission and drive shafts. The energy created by the generators is stored in ultracapacitors instead of batteries. There is also a regenerative braking system that can help improve fuel economy by over 20% over a standard power-train. Oshkosh entered two vehicles in the Baja 1000 and unfortunately neither one finished in the allotted time. That doesn’t change the fact though that this is very cool to see this new technology being tested in one of the toughest off road events on the planet.