Ricardo completes the build of the FED ALPHA vehicle

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 11, 2011

The build of the FED ALPHA vehicle has been completed by Ricardo, which was granted the award for the testing phase, which is presently ongoing. This project is part of the Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED) programme for the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). The FED programme, which was launched in late 2008, aims to improve military vehicle technology, cut fuel consumption on the battleground, and lessen the nation’s reliance on oil.

Ricardo, which specializes in the design, development and manufacturing of special vehicles, and advanced automotive technology, set about to build a demonstration vehicle that optimizes fuel economy while retaining the capacity and performance of light tactical wheeled vehicles.

For two days in July 2011, the FED ALPHA was exhibited in the centre courtyard of the Pentagon. Since then, FED ALPHA has had plenty of success in completing the government tests at the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) Roadway Simulator is slated to test and certify the fuel economy rating of this vehicle. The ATC is the largest automotive test simulator in the world. It was developed to carry out vehicle dynamics, powertrain performance, as well as test for shock and vibration in a laboratory environment. The FED ALPHA will be tested in this facility, which uses a highly controlled environment, to examine the slightest changes in fuel economy.

The FED ALPHA includes numerous fuel-saving features, including: A Cummins I4 engine that Ricardo calibrated specifically for tactical vehicle fuel efficiency in Ricardo’s Detroit Technology Campus engine test facilities; Goodyear Fuel Max low rolling resistance tyres specifically designed for the FED ALPHA; A high efficiency 28-volt permanent magnet integrated starter-generator from Kollmorgen that enables electric accessories and 20 kW of power for on-board equipment; An Alcoa Defense lightweight aluminium structure, armouring, and underbody blast shield which support and protect the vehicle while reducing weight; 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; Accelerator feedback pedal and fuel economy display to inform drivers how to operate the vehicle to produce the best fuel economy; A 6-speed automatic transmission from Aisin.

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