MLF - Military Logistics

Ricardo project proves vehicle fuel economy

24th May 2013 - 08:08 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A Fuel-Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED) engineered by Ricardo has proven to dramatically lower fuel consumption in military vehicles following two years of on-the-ground testing.

The FED project was developed as a ‘clean sheet’ with a Ricardo-led team that included personnel from the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) working alongside top industry suppliers. The programme aims to lower US oil dependence by developing innovative fuel economy technologies.

The demonstrator was designed with a supercharged Cummins I4 engine, low-rolling resistance Goodyear tyres, and an Alcoa Defense developed aluminium structure.

The FED has been undergoing testing at the US Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds over the past 19 months.

An analysis has now shown that compared to the US military’s regularly outfitted M1151 HMMWV, the FED experienced a 72 percent improvement in fuel economy. The FED’s performance was assessed using a number of realistic duty cycles including highway, off-road and idle conditions.

As well as improved fuel economy, driving tests prove significantly improved acceleration over the current vehicle, even when loaded to nearly seven tons.

Wesley Scharmen, Ricardo chief engineer on the project, said: ‘We implemented a relatively conservative approach using near or in-market technology to reach our fuel economy objectives, and we have proven they are achievable. This kept costs down and increased the production feasibility of the end product.’

Carl Johnson, TARDEC’s team lead for FED, added: ‘The team took a total-vehicle approach to improving fuel economy. And they did it using proven technology. When government and industry teams work together the results can be substantial. A 72 percent increase in fuel economy provides us with a significant competitive advantage in the field.’

With fuel being the second most delivered commodity to ground troops, right behind water, the FED has important implications for reducing fuel consumption in the field, along with improving military vehicle technology.

Tom Apostolos, president of Ricardo’s US subsidiary, Ricardo Inc, said: ‘The FED offers an extremely valuable template for future defence vehicle development. It sets the stage for cost-effective, high-performing, fuel-efficient vehicles that enable US forces to fulfil their combat roles in the smartest way possible.’

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