Cool Oddity or just Waste of Taxpayer Money?

Supposedly, this "Baha style" (SIC) oddity was the result of SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grants to the tune of $1.5M (click for link to one grant).  We don't know exactly how that works, but it would seem that some sucker might call this a bargain at $16,500.  On the other hand, it's not clear that a running vehicle is part of the deal and it is clear that this won't be street legal, what with no VIN.


The seller provides a lot of info swiped from the SBIR site, but not much on the current state of the vehicle, except: "Interior was removed by Government. Front and back bumper are missing. Does not come with batteries."

The ad does include pics of controllers and such, so an EV person might be able to get this going.  There's a VW TDI engine on-board as a range extender, but no comment as to running condition.  Yes, we're withholding our TDI comments for the moment, and it would seem this is an older one, anyway...

Click for eBay ad
Suffolk, VA, USA
$16,500 with ZERO bids and 1 day to go


This face doesn't look like anything else out there.  Don't worry about the lack of a license plate mount - it's not likely this will ever be street legal.


This angle reveals some of the source vehicle.  Dodge Durango Dakota?? (Edit: original post included a brain fart, calling this a Durango.  Of course, it's the pickup version's cab.)


Profile is, well, unique.


We guess this is under the 'hood'.  The shocks supposedly use the same technology as GM's Magna-Ride.


This seems to be a rear view.  Fuel cell presumably stores the diesel.


Here's the 1.9L TDI engine.  As far as we can tell, it's only a range extender and is not directly coupled to the wheels.


We think this is a forward-facig shot, but we're not sure.  The door panels seem to confirm our suspicion.

Ad text:

This Baha Style Hybrid Electric four wheel drive vehicle is a one of a kind prototype...Propulsion is from four 100kW (134HP x 4 = 536HP), liquid cooled, axial gap permanent magnet motors energized by four 100kW, liquid cooled, DC to 3 Phase AC inverter controllers one for each motor...The suspension is performed by four coil over magneto-rheological controlled shocks with controller. The on-board internal combustion engine (ICE) is a 1.9L Turbo Diesel Volkswagen engine to be used as a generator when batteries run low or as additional power when high demand requires more power. 
Construction of this vehicle began in 1997 when the first SBIR Grant was awarded and was again modified in 2003 during a second SBIR Grant. Abstracts of each SBIR are detailed below.

Hybrid Electric High Mobility Scout Mongrel Vehicle with Active Suspension $747,913.00 
1997 PHASE II SBIR
Davis Technologies International, Inc.
5025 ARAPAHO RD - STE 505 
Dallas, TX 75248

The objective of this project is to develop a significantly improved ground vehicle or military reconnaissance considering high speed over rough terrain and high mobility as prime requirements. Concepts in hybrid electric drive and active suspension will be explored, and a practical system selected. Independent-drive wheels, combined with advanced compressible fluid active suspension, all supervised by advanced fuzzy logic controls, provide the synergy to achieve greater vehicle performance levels in mobility, better speed over various terrain and side slopes, and gradeability speed improvement beyond the state of the art. The project will investigate the use of a single combination joystick control to adjust speed, direction, ride height, and chassis attitude. By using vehicle attitude control, side slope capability will be enhanced, approaching the 60 degrees requirement, constant torque motors will provide high gradeability speeds and series parallel motors will provide the speed range capability. The proposed concept is feasible and has the potential to fulfill the Army's need for a high mobility scout vehicle. BENEFITS: The future need for a high speed, high mobility scout vehicle has already been identified by the military. This class of vehicle will have a significant potential as a civilian off-road vehicle as well. This project will significantly advance the envelope of off-road performance and wartime maneuverability.

Complex Obstacle Traversing Suspension System for Wheeled Ground Vehicles $729,934.00 
2003 PHASE II SBIR
Tiax LLC
35 Hartwell Avenue 
Lexington, MA 02421

The goal of this Phase II project is to develop and fabricate propulsion and suspension components for the Army Mongrel Test Vehicle. The suspension system will be built around a swing arm design that is common to all four corners of the vehicle. Each corner will have electric in-wheel motors with planetary gear hubs (for torque amplification) for propulsion and hydraulic brakes for quick stopping (the electric motors will provide for regenerative braking capability). The swing arm design will also be fabricated to accept two different semi-active suspension systems. The first utilizes a magneto-rehological (MR) damper with coil-over spring made by Carrera. The second uses a compressible fluid damper system made by Liquid Spring Technologies. This compressible fluid system will be used in parallel with a wheel lift mechanism to allow for greatly improved obstacle traversing capability by allowing for the independent lifting or lowering of each wheel corner.

More Info:
This vehicle is a one of a kind prototype made for the Army. I have spoken to a civilian test driver who said he drove this vehicle on the Army test course and through the desert. Reporting that while driving at 55mph over railroad tracks, he didn't even spill his coffee. He also stated the Army test driver inadvertently launched the vehicle into the air during its climb of a 60 degree slope. The vehicle reportedly landed on all four wheels and sustained no damage.
When tested, this vehicle was reportedly controlled by a fuzzy logic controller and F-111 fighter joystick, neither of which were present when I received the vehicle. The interior was removed from the vehicle prior to my ownership. However the vehicle does include the Electric Motor Inverters, Engine Controls, and Shock absorber controller. The chassis is custom made and includes a roll cage. The front of the car has a set of rails for a battery box which slid in and out the front. There is a onboard electric winch for pulling a battery box inside. Under the hood is a radiator and coolant reservoir for the cooling system related to the electric drive motors and the inverter controllers. It can also be adapted to cool a battery box as well. The radiator has two electric fans on the back side.
The rear mounted internal combustion engine does not include the generator that was attached to it, but does include the bell housing and flywheel for the generator. Engine fuel is provide via the mounted Fuel Cell Racing Tank just in front of the engine.
The wheels are driven by electric motors at each wheel. As you can see in the pictures, the car has some over sized steel plates protecting the bottoms of the motors. These can be either removed or shortened by about 4". It looks like a beast because it is. The car has four wheel disc brakes. The wheels are attached to specialized geared hubs that can have their gear ratios changed for different capabilities. Currently the ratio is about 4:1 which should net a higher speed than the 9:1 tested in the sand environment. I will include a copy of a University study on this concept for this vehicle only to the winning bidder.

I will provide a bill of sale for this vehicle because it has never been titled. I listed the date of manufacture as 1776 because had I put 2003 ebay required a valid Vin number, which this prototype does not have. And I'm a proud American so 1776 it is.

If you want to see the vehicle in person, just send me a message and we will make it available to view. Because of the unique nature of the construction of this vehicle, I won't allow anyone to take photos of the vehicle during the inspection. The winning bidder can take as many as they want after they get it. Even though it would be quite an expensive task to duplicate this vehicle, we did have someone view it with that purpose in mind. We just want to protect the new owners property in case they want a little secrecy for their new toy. Though this car will require some equipment to make it complete, I feel the car comes with the major components and engineering already paid for to the tune of about $1,500,000.00. That makes this a once in a lifetime deal for some lucky bidder.


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