|Ricardo-TARDEC FED. Click to enlarge.|
Ricardo released an analysis of two years of on-the-ground testing of the Ricardo-engineered Fuel-Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED) showing that, when compared to the US military’s regularly outfitted M1151 HMMWV (“Humvee”), the FED experienced a 72% improvement in fuel economy. (Earlier post.) The FED’s performance was assessed using a number of realistic duty cycles including highway, off-road and idle conditions.
The FED powertrain features include a supercharged Cummins I4 diesel engine; a high efficiency 28V permanent magnet integrated starter-generator from Kollmorgen that enables electric accessories and 20 kW of power for on-board equipment; a 6-speed automatic transmission from Aisin; and an accelerator feedback pedal and fuel economy display to inform drivers how to operate the vehicle to produce the best fuel economy.
Other fuel-saving features include:
an improved driveline that utilizes a unique carrier and differential assembly from Ricardo and AxleTech International, including non-geared hubs and REM Chemicals Isotropic Superfinished gears to reduce friction and increase fuel efficiency;
an Alcoa Defense lightweight aluminium structure, armoring, and underbody blast shield which support and protect the vehicle while reducing weight; and
specially designed low-rolling resistance Goodyear tires.
The 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.
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.—Wesley Scharmen, Ricardo chief engineer on the project
The FED was built at Ricardo’s Detroit facility in 2011 and later displayed at the Pentagon. For the last 19 months, it has been undergoing testing at the US Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland and other locations.
Not only does the FED deliver outstanding fuel economy numbers, but the vehicle boasts better performance, as well. Driving tests prove significantly improved acceleration over the current vehicle, even when loaded to nearly seven tons.
Fuel is the second-most delivered commodity to ground troops, right behind water. Reducing fuel consumption, along with improving military vehicle technology and lowering the nation’s oil dependence, is the FED program’s goal.
In addition to boosting fuel economy and performance, the FED helped validate Ricardo’s simulation capabilities.
Ricardo’s forecasting technology projected precisely what we experienced in our real-world capability studies. The data was right on the money. Moreover, the Ricardo–led team has helped us to develop a FED capable of becoming a credible military vehicle.—Carl Johnson, TARDEC’s team lead for FED