The Fuel-Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED) of the United States government has proven to be as good as it was expected to be. A recently released analysis of the FED shows that compared with the US military’s regularly outfitted M1151 HMMWV, the FED is 72-percent more fuel efficient. The performance of the defense vehicle prototype, which is being engineered by Ricardo, was assessed using several realistic duty cycles like highway, off-road and idle conditions.
Wesley Scharmen, Ricardo chief engineer on the project, remarked that they implemented a relatively conservative approach using near or in-market technology to reach their fuel economy objectives, noting that they have proven those are achievable. He said that their approach allowed them to keep costs down while increasing the production feasibility of the end product. The FED is powered by a supercharged Cummins I4 engine and uses low-rolling resistance Goodyear tires, an Alcoa Defense developed aluminim structure as well as other driveline enhancements from Ricardo.
The defense vehicle 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) and top industry suppliers. The team built the FED at Ricardo’s Detroit site in 2011 and then showcased it at the Pentagon. For the past 19 months, the FED has been undergoing testing at the US Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland and other locations.
The analysis did not only prove that FED is fuel-efficient vehicle, but is also a performance-driven machine. Driving tests prove significantly improved acceleration over the current vehicle, even while carrying seven tons of loads. Carl Johnson, TARDEC’s team lead for FED, remarked that the team took a total-vehicle approach to improving fuel economy using proven technology. He noted that a 72-percent improvement in fuel economy provides a “significant competitive advantage in the field.”