When we think of electric mobility, it's often in connection with efforts to save the environment, sometimes at the sacrifice of practicality (at least until charging infrastructure is more robust). On the flip side, there are those who value EV technology for its sheer utility, and, in this case, with the purpose of directly saving human lives. Meet the TORQ LTEV (light tactical electric vehicle), designed specifically for explosive ordinance disposal (EOD).
TORQ, which specializes in hunting vehicles, has redesigned its all-terrain EV for its tactical brand, TORQ Defense Systems. The LTEV can ferry a first responder in a full bomb suit, as well as all the necessary tools in cargo or – in the case of a large vehicle bomb countermeasure system – in tow, to their destination at speeds of up to 30 mph. In addition to its 18-hp brushless AC motor and 48-volt battery, standard features on the LTEV include a quick-release steering wheel, fire suppression system, detachable fire extinguisher, 350,000 candela LED spotlight, and a 1.5-ton winch. Its rear storage bin can carry a portable digital x-ray system, and its two spindle arms can hold 2,500-foot spools of shock tube detonator cord and paracord. The modular frame can be configured to accommodate a large selection of other important-sounding EOD gear (PAN Disruptor! HAL Kit! Hot Stick!), so there's less to haul on foot.
At the end of a long day of defusing bombs, the TORQ LTEV plugs into a standard 110-volt electrical outlet to recharge its battery with clean, non-explosive electric power. The vehicle not only helps reduce time-to-target, it minimizes fatigue, as those EOD suits don't make for an easy stroll. Plus, electric vehicles are safer than their combustion-powered counterparts in environments where flammable gases or combustible dusts may be present, which is why certain industries often employ "explosion-proof" electric vehicles. The quiet electric powertrain also allows the LTEV to move more stealthily, and the vehicle is built to tackle rugged terrain.
While those are welcome traits for EOD duty, TORQ says the LTEV's reconfigurable design also makes it a candidate for a variety of agencies, whether they specialize in border patrol, hazmat, search and rescue, or SWAT duties. "The open design of this lightweight and stealthy task oriented vehicle easily lends itself to situational customization for a wide array of narrowly defined missions and applications," says TORQ Defense Systems President Steve Brown.
When your local bomb squad adds an EV to its fleet, remember that electric vehicles aren't just better for the environment, they're also a practical choice for some seriously critical applications.