MegaCyberTruck for 3500 Mile Range and JLTV Replacement

Tesla has not created a Megacybertruck version for the US military. However, Nextbigfuture proposes an obvious ultra-long-range configuration that would totally outclass the JLTV and the combat laser mounted Strykers.

Tesla could create a 1-megawatt hour version of the Cybertruck that would have 3500 miles of range and have JLTV level armor. The Cybertruck weighs 5000 to 6500 pounds and 14000 pounds of payload capacity. The JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle) weighs 10,000 pounds. Extra weight would for the megacybertruck would be used for extra armor and batteries.

Tesla’s new batteries are now at $80 per kwh. The energy density of the batteries is about 300 watt-hours per kilogram and will be improving to 500 watt-hours per kilogram. Around 2022, Tesla batteries would be about 400 watt-hours per kilogram. 1 million watt-hours would be five times the premium tri-motor version battery pack. It would only weigh 2,500 kilograms (5511 pounds). These batteries would cost $160,000.

The JLTV costs about $500,000 each. You could spend $75,000 on the premium tri-motor Cybertruck and upgrade with $130,000 worth of extra batteries. It already has $30,000 worth of batteries. Add in $100,000 or so worth of armor for a total cost of $300,000.

There would be about 2000 pounds of extra armor. This would be a 14,000 pound Megacybertruck. The Cybertruck has 14,000 pounds of payload capacity so a megacybertruck would still have 6500 pounds of payload capacity. This is assuming the extra power was not used for stronger motors.

The range and the reliability of a Tesla megacybertruck would totally outclass the JLTV. Cybertruck will have the 1 million duration batteries. There are far fewer parts for electric engines.

The Pentagon requires the JLTV to operate at least 600 mean miles before an essential function failure. The vehicle was to be capable of traveling for 3 miles (5 km) cross-country having endured three 0.3-inch perforations of half-full main fuel tanks. The JLTV must also operate in altitudes from minus 500 feet to 12,000 feet and maintain full mission capability in temperatures from −40 to 125 °F (−40 to 52 °C), according to established requirements. When temperatures drop well below zero, the JLTV must start within one minute with no external aids, kits or prior warming of the batteries. The vehicle must be capable of traveling 350 paved miles at 35 miles per hour (56 km/h) or 300 miles (480 km) in operational terrain on a single tank of JP-8 fuel.

The premium tri-motor version of the Cybertruck will have 700 miles of range. A megacybertruck would have five times the batteries and could operate for 3500 miles on one charge. This would be ten times the range of the JLTV.

Custom armored packages cost $100,000 to make street legal cars grenade and AK47 proof.

The US army is developing a 100-kilowatt combat laser that will be placed onto trucks and the Stryker armored personal carrier. It will use a Rolls Royce M250 helicopter engine to power the laser. The helicopter engine generated 300 kilowatts of electrical power and will have 200 kilowatts of thermal management capacity.

SOURCES- Tesla, Wikipedia, Dynetics, Jan Peisert Design rendering of a military Cybertruck
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

49 thoughts on “MegaCyberTruck for 3500 Mile Range and JLTV Replacement”

  1. Thanks for the linkie. 

    I think the ‘problem’ is that the red-area is theoretical, and very likely not realized in practice. The other problem is that the call-to-arms case (comparing against an Otto cycle engine) is ignoring that Otto cycle engines — especially these days with great-efficiency engines — is OE’s all have butterfly valves on the air-intake path which restricts incoming air pressure to where the power stroke exhaust gas pressure is almost exactly at ambient pressure.  

    Well into the ‘red’, on the diagram. 

    And similarly, to the point, where’s the demo operating engine, not the cute 3D video model?

    THEN there is the ‘problem’ of the rotating ‘centripetal vanes’ (my wording), which, like the once doyen-of-the-automotive-industry, the Wankel rotary engine, turn out to be the Achilles heel of producing an engine that lasts for 250,000 miles. Or 10 miles.  

    The vane tips are screaming past the interior ported surface, and MUST maintain tight seal, to avoid burning gas-leak conditions.  

    The Wankel (Mazda) addressed this by admitting engine oil into the fuel mix.  Burning oil. And it still really didn’t work well.  New vanes needed every 40,000 miles.  

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Dunno. …. ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

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  2. Perhaps the battery modules themselves are not armored but sit inside an armor sleeve. And perhaps the modules and supporting equipment are refactored into smaller units that are easy to handle by one or two people. Those are just ergonomic issues.

    The energy density and portability of liquid fuels are still disadvantageous for batteries with current tech.

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  3. In the military, there’s little difference between $200,000 and 400,000. It’s stupid to open the competition back up because they’re just going to end up back in the same place with cost overruns.

    By the time it passes military spec, a cyber truck is going to cost at least 400,000 too. Everything is expensive when it comes to the military.

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  4. OK, but from your source, the flame retardant panels cost 2000 USD. So, if you add 9 more tanks each with these panels you would spend another 18000 USD. Seems like a bargain to me.

    The answer must be that there is in fact no great value in added range. Which blows Brians whole case out of the water.

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  5. Well, perhaps. Though if one of them is shot to pieces, the (american) public is going to have a hissy fit about the radiation leak, whether it is in fact dangerous or not.

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  6. But why would you need to use the laser in a recon mission? Either you turn it on to shot down incoming missiles – and then they allready know where you are – or you use it to shoot down an enemy plane. And in the latter case, they would would now you location on account of the giant laser coming from your vehicle. And if you don’t fire the laser, you don’t need the helicopter engine. 

    I still don’t see the problem..

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  7. Be that as it may, every article I’ve seen on the subject states that a portable reactor could not withstand enemy fire (no wonder), so the polution would come as a result of being shot to pieces. I don’t really see a way to counter this.

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  8. Tho’ the article’s authors are hopeful for light-weight, compact, durable, non-flammable batteries, having specific energies on the order of 0.4 kWh/kg, truth is, with armor packaging (holes are really bad for batteries!), fire suppression, busses, all that, well … 0.2 kWh/kg is more likely.  

    1000 kWh ÷ 0.2 → 5,000 kg … × 2.2 = 11,000 lb of battery.

    So, think that thru!  what kind of supporting equipment to swap out a sizeable fraction of that 11,000 pounds?  

    I mean, we could have hydraulic ‘pusher-extractors’ onboard, to fairly rapidly eject spent cells, or to suck in replenished ones. That’d help.  

    But none of these solutions are any good at restoring the opportunity of what liquid-fuel transfers deliver, rapidly, with LOW tech, in the field. Convoys transfer fuel ‘cart-to-cart’ all the time, in wartime footing.  Fact of survivability.

    Even a weenie 12 volt inter-vehicle fuel pump can deliver 10 gallons a minute, or 100 miles of added range per minute… 6000 mph. (Not MPG for a sedan!, but a 20,000 lb military vehicle)

    Electric transfer — even swapping batteries — just kind of fades by comparison, unless WHOLE pack swap is in play.

    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

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  9. Make batteries easily field replaceable. Replace exhausted batteries with charged ones and take exhausted one back to a charging station … right next to the fueling station you are keeping for your ICE vehicles.

    This is a similar model that may be adopted for the Tesla Semi. Rather than charge, just swap. The trucker wouldn’t own the battery, just rent it. Like us backyard grillers and our propane tanks.

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  10. I’m not sure which post here I put the link but I reference the development of these reactors. They are scalable, safe due to the extremely low amount of enriched fuel so meltdown is impossible, and discreet since each is the size of a shipping container. The Army is aiming for around 10 Megawatts per container which would be able to charge at least 10 of these hypothetical trucks at once, in reality with the 500+ mile cybertruck being 150 kwh then each reactor can charge around 66 cybertrucks at a time. If these discreet reactors independent from the grid actually come to fruition, it will change modern war.

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  11. You are proving my point, adding flame retardant material negates the cost effectiveness of ‘just adding more storage’, these materials need to be reapplied. Not to mention I bet the Army already thought of this and realized having extra fuel wight didn’t increase range. Adding more weight and more fuel is a supply chain snap waiting to happen, if there was ever a war with China then the first thing they’ll do is destroy the tankers. Not only would fuel convoys be more expensive, they’re way more vulnerable to attack than a concealed reactor the size of a shipping container. Not to mention the army hasn’t had a record of actually making their regular assets flame retardant because it was so expensive, how would that have changed now?
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/army-withholds-anti-burn-humvee-panels-as-ied-deaths-continue

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  12. The Pentagon gave out awards for plants that use fuel that doesn’t have the risk of meltdown as the fuel isn’t capable of sustained deadly reactions. If it works properly then it will be able to be mass produced, power bases off grid, and charge these vehicles. There were designs in the ’60s that worked well but weren’t employed because material science wasn’t as advanced as today, many think this is now practical. I hope they’re right about this because it is a revolutionary capability if it delivers.
    https://www.defensenews.com/smr/nuclear-arsenal/2020/03/09/pentagon-to-award-mobile-nuclear-reactor-contracts-this-week/

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  13. It would work, it just wouldn’t be discreet having the noise of a helicopter engine running to replenish the battery. When tasked with recon and infiltration, in my humble opinion, the extra weight wouldn’t be worth the risk.

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  14. I acknowledge that a 1MWh battery would power a laser just fine, but why would a helicopter engine+generator+capacitor banks not work or be impractical? I don’t get it. 

    Super capacitors can deliver 10 kW per kilo, easily. So you would need a couple of hundred kilos of super capacitors to power a 2 MW laser. Doesn’t seem unreasonable. Let’s say 200 kW generator and motor so you could be firing 10% of the time…. Hm, add another 500 kg. All and all, less than a metric ton. Why wouldn’t this work?

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  15. Think Derek, think…

    If you want to charge the Cybertruck “long range” with a 1MWh battery in, say, 30 minutes, you would have to generate 2 MW. And this would require 10 000 m2 of solar panels, in the best of conditions. Do you have any idea how cumbersome that would be? To move two football fields of solar panels, spread them out, charge the cybertruck and then pack them all up to go to a new place? 

    And that would service only ONE cybertruck at the same time….

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  16. I will give you one point, though. If you start replacing the jet fuel of the army with batteries, then the only realistic power supply chain is one with portable nuclear reactors. The enemy will always be able to dissable the electric grid no matter where the battle is takning place.

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  17. You are correct. Not to mention temperature. If you would fight in a cold climate – unlikely, I know – then you would easily loose another 20% range.

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  18. But don’t you think that China would be able to dissable the electric grid in a fight with the USA? I.e., you would be reliant on portable nuclear reactors just as in Shittystan.

    By the way, I agree that China is the big threat and dwarfs any threat that the Soviet Union ever posed…

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  19. About increasing the tank size. Is exploding fuel an important issue for military transport vehicles? Please give me a citation. Presumably, you would not armour thefuel tanks just make them flame protected. I.e., if the enemy hits one of the tanks, it’s gone but it does not destroy the other fuel tanks nor burn violently.

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  20. OK, let’s look at your suggestions…

    First off, if you want to charge a 1 MHh Cybertruck in 30 minutes you need to deliver 2 MW of power. So how many cybertrucks could a portable reactor charge at the same time? Two? 

    At the very least, you would need portable reactors that match the combined average power of the fleet of vehicles; it makes no sense to have two different power sources in the army. In operations desert storm, about 44 million of barrels were consumed per day [1]. This would equate to about 75 GWh per day. If the IC-motors would have 20% efficiency, this would equate to about 15 GWh of battery stored energy (where I have generously assumed 100% efficiency).

    To generate this power, you would need 125 portable 5 MW generators. And if the enemy would knock out one of these, they would cripple hundreds of vehicles so they would most certainly try to do this. Remember that the “refilling” would have to be done at the front line to keep the fighting vehicles rolling. So you would have an extreme vulnerability and radioactive fallout on the battle field. Does this sound like a good idea to you?

    https://www.resilience.org/stories/2006-02-26/us-military-oil-consumption/

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  21. Perhaps, perhaps. 

    Thing is, WE are the only entity of ‘first world status’ that is regularly taking on the sand peoples of Anystan.  Name the spit, we’re there. Yemen, South Saud, Afghanistan, Sinai by proxy, you name it, we’re there. 

    Lıberals and many Conservatıves alike find great fault with this … ‘warmonger America’, and all that.  

    Technically and pragmatically, it is true, too. We don’t shirk from making war with those we geo-strategically feel are likely to destabilize a decent business or socioeconomic environment.  As it were. Yet, too, we are trying in no small part to foster an open, individual—is-responsible civilization, worldwide. Not that this is particularly praised and lauded, but there it is. 

    When it comes to, if it does, to lobbing smart missiles and other über-high-tech equipment at the Chinese, as they continue unabated in their quest for totalitairan kleptocratic power, well … at least we aren’t having impressive-but-ultimately-sterile military parades down Red Square.  

    The day of reckoning may come or may not.

    I would rather we be prepared, armed, capable, responsive and not dependent on erstwhile allies-as-sole-suppliers.  

    But that’s just me, an olden American speaking.
    The globalists would have us believe aught otherwise.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

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  22. You do know gas stations need electricity to power the pumps…
    Every remotely modern city/town/village has electricity. So that’s not a problem, plus part of the military convoy could be a couple semi trailers full of solar panels, so you always have access to that super abundant source.

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  23. Imagine what an electric military vehicle made by Jaguar would be like. Fanciest, fastest, most durable fashion show of firey death EVER.

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  24. Although what if it had some nuclear based charger, and small batteries. In a worst case scenarioa meltdown selfdestruct, thats kinda scarry. I wonder how small a nuclear engine can be made these days.

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  25. “The vehicle was to be capable of traveling for 3 miles (5 km) cross-country having endured three 0.3-inch perforations of half-full main fuel tanks”

    Perforation of the lithium batteries will cause shorting and catastrophic failure. This is the main problem with the military cyber-truck. Large-scale lithium batteries are not ready for the battlefield due to their volatile nature when damaged.

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  26. It also doesn’t matter about Bumbfuckistan, the next war is with China or Russia. We can easily disable Iran’s grid in minutes while blocking their internet. We need to refocus to China.

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  27. So, you, me and 6 of our platoon mates are 100 miles from Shittagog, and on the way to Crâhpola.  We’ve been taking and returning fire, and are trying to hi-tail it out of there pronto.  The turbans aren’t having afternoon tea.  

    Our Electrolux’s battery stack has taken its share of fire, looks like a pinewood derby car full of BB holes. It was full-full, but the holes have degraded it a bunch.  Apparently 3 of the 5 manly non-flammable cells have gone tîts up.  

    So, we don’t have the juice either to get to Crâhpola, or return to lovely Shittagog.  Here, tho’, come a convoy of Jeeps overflowing with buddies trying likewise to skip the shîtstorm. They have petrol. Lots of it. We … need a nuclear reactor.  

    I guess we could be TOWED back to Shittagog, but at what cost? It is not like there are roads. Sand, slopes, and we’re bottomed out power-wise.  

    Ah… um… this Camel doesn’t Fly.
    At all.
    Now… 

    If ANY of the trucks/jeeps/APVs have a generator, perhaps we could get a charge, here and now, for the return 100 miles to Shittagog. Who knows, maybe only an hour of sitting around, with the 150 horse generator banging up a storm, attracting all sorts of noise-curious firearm-bearing sand critters.  

    Ummm…. no. 
    This is not how you run a war, mate.
    At all.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

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  28. It doesn’t matter too much in this situation, we know the Cybertruck will have 500+ miles of range in one of the variants. The JLTV barely pushes 300 miles in real life conditions. Tesla’s battery tech by mid to late decade will allow a non-military cybertruck to push 1000 miles, the potential for 3000 miles is there if space is used perfectly but it is unnecessary. The Army should wait and see how their low risk reactors pan out to see if replacing the long vulnerable fuel supply chain is possible in regards to electrifying the APC fleet. Newer Tesla batteries aren’t nearly as volatile as the fuel the JLTV runs on, using unspent space for fuel storage is the way the trucks will bar-be-que everybody inside with a little puncture in the jet fuel containers.

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  29. Why not both? Use the megawatt hour battery when you want to be stealthy by making less noise, then use capacitors and generators when you’re on your own turf defending.

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  30. Brian was comparing it to the Stryker’s laser, not armor. Having a megawatt hour battery would better accommodate the laser than having a helicopter engine being towed in the back. The armor comparison you brought up with the Stryker was not mentioned whatsoever, he was comparing with how it can outclass a JLTV since it has the a higher weight limit and can accomodate more armor. As for small arms it is meant to shrug them off along with being resistant like the JLTV to rockets, not impervious to them. The Stryker has a completely different role than the JLTV or the Cybertruck, the JLTV and Cybertruck are meant for transport while the Stryker is meant for breaching defenses. The Cybertruck would be 100% better at shortening fuel supply chains opting for small non-critical reactors the Army is developing, better at longer ranges, better weight capacity, and better armor potential. It would be much easier defending a reactor that doesn’t use weapons grade uranium compared to miles long vulnerable fuel convoys that were ambushed all the time in the Middle East, a convoy of 700+ mile range MegaCybertrucks with a reactor will be much more unpredictable and deadly than a convoy of 300 mile range JLTVs that require defense of a long supply chain.

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  31. Of the three candidates, they chose the one that went the furthest in testing between breakdowns. The JLTV is acctually a very decent vehicle. The suspention system is excelent. The main issue I have with it is the cost. $433,000, is way too much. They need to renegociate and/or open it up to competition. The competitors lost fair and square, but I would still let them try to make a better vehicle for less, as the Oshkosh did flunk in price. I think this was supposed to be around $200,000.
    Ah, they are going to do just that: https://breakingdefense.com/2020/02/army-seeks-new-jltv-competition-in-2022/
    I don’t think the criticisms of the vehicle as being “made for the last war” are justified. IEDs/Mines are cheap, everything now on will have to deal with that. I don’t like that it is supposed to fall apart if it does hit a powerful mine. I think you want it to remain functional, if possible, even if solders are shaken a bit more. It can be critical to keep mobile. I don’t think it is very attractive, but that is a very minor issue.
    Every vehicle will have weaknesses. That is one reason you don’t pay $433,000 each. You don’t necessarily know what those weaknesses are. I think that is also why you want more choices. If one is not ideal for the situation or a weakness is found by the enemy, you can turn to another. When you buy tens/hundreds of thousands of the same thing, you are stuck with it and its weaknesses.

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  32. It has air suspension just like the JLTV buddy, and it is a requirement for the v-shaped bottom. No truck competing for JLTV ever had flat bottoms or they would’ve been booted for not following parameters.

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  33. Battery tech is much more capable than what you two are describing. Newer batteries can charge in less than 30 minutes. Having a portable nuclear reactor, like the ones that don’t melt down that the army is making, is much more secure than vulnerable convoys of jet fuel. And increasing tank volume, are you crazy, that would require way more armor to protect the explosive truck you are going to have! Tesla is working on batteries that don’t combust, ICE can’t compete!

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  34. The only case for Brians idea would be to use laser weapons. A 1 MWh pack could easily power a few MW laser continuously. It would only require the pack to be discharged at ~5C, which is not unrealistic. So you could have a cybertruck that would shoot down planes left and right on the battle field….

    Of course, having capacitors and a generator may still be a cheaper solution…

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  35. You are right, of course. Brian also misses the obvious point that it would be trivial to increse the range of the ICE-vehicle by a factor of 10 by simple incring the volume of the tank by a factor of 10. Eeasy peasy and dirt cheap.

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  36. I mean we are comparing it to a Stryker, so shouldn’t it be able to shrug off small arms fire, to say nothing of RPG fire?

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  37. So, I wonder what the NATO ‘flag’ is that causes combatants to temporarily cease fire to allow the e-trucks to catch a recharge at a conveniently located oasis super-duper-charger station?  Yellow with blue lightening bolts?  Brown tûrd on a black background?  

    No, not kidding:  even at 500 kilowatts (HALF a megawatt), a 1,000 MW truck is going to take a couple of hours … or more … to recharge.  

    Compare that to a tank of ubiquitous JP–2 jet fuel.  

    Which can, in a pinch, be siphoned from MY truck to YOUR tank, and more from OUR troop carrier.  Under fire. In minutes.  Without a filling station nearby.  OR electrical grid.  

    Just saying.  
    Even tho’ Elon has Wet Dreams about taking his e-vehicles to war…
    Realists ought to be able to point out the OBVIOUS fairly quickly. 

    Sheesh.
    Maybe a happy-face on a rainbow background?
    Flags.

    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

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  38. You don’t just add 2000 pounds of armor to a truck. What about the suspension? The tires? The frame? Upgraded motors to move all this extra weight? Does the interior have enough room for a fully kitted squad to enter and exit the vehicle rapidly and safely?

    Now, Tesla power tech may indeed have suitable military applications, but the Cybertruck Is likely not the platform.

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  39. This is a joke right? JLTV and this are not even close to the same kind of vehicle. T truck would be a replacement for Army/Marine Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicles aka CUCVs (pronounced “Kuck-Vee”).

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  40. The energy density is about 255 Wh/kg for Tesla at the cell level (not 300). At the pack level – this is the relevant number – it is much lower. 125 Wh/kg? 180Wh/kg?

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  41. Might be an idea to rethink those angles, might be more stealthier, reflect light caliber bullets, and dissipate near a blast better.

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