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When Army Green means something else

Military hybrid vehicle designs do a lot more than just save fuel
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 07:00
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The FED Bravo added a hybrid system to the FED Alpha and the ability to export electrical power for field use. Courtesy: TARDEC

The following year, TARDEC displayed the FED Bravo at the SAE World Congress. The Bravo incorporated hybrid drive technology that the Alpha didn’t have, and was also designed with the ability to export electrical power – enough to handle the electrical needs of a small command post or base if need be. The Bravo is powered by a Ford 4.4 liter, twin turbocharged V8 diesel rated at 268 horsepower coupled to a six-speed automatic connecting to the rear drive. The front drive is powered solely by an electric motor/generator that is used to recharge the lithium ion battery during braking (regenerative braking). It is also equipped with automatic start-stop like most hybrids to conserve fuel and is capable of going electric only for short distances. Further efficiency improvements were gained from using ceramic brake rotors (rather than steel) and by combining the braking and steering hydraulics into one system. The Bravo’s fuel economy is estimated at 8.2 mpg in urban environments (that’s military for city driving) and 14.2 mpg on paved highway.

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The CERV uses electric drive and can go silent (electric only) for up to 12 miles. Courtesy: TARDEC

CERV
The CERV, or Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle, is a joint project of TARDEC and Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies. It was designed for quick-paced surveillance and target acquisition missions. This diesel/hybrid platform can maintain speeds of 80 miles per hour and climb 60 percent grades – the ultimate dune buggy!

Power is supplied to the wheels through a 100-kilowatt drive motor and is entirely electrically driven. The Ford 1.4 liter Duratorq engine drives a 50-kilowatt electric motor/generator used to keep the 380-volt lithium-ion battery pack charged and to feed the electric drive. The CERV can operate in electric-only mode for 5-12 miles with the engine off. I guess that’s why it’s a “clandestine” ERV!

Its overall size allows it to fit in the back of the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. There’s room for three seated soldiers with a fourth standing to man the .50 caliber M-2 machine gun, and it has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. It’s relatively light, too, weighing in at 3,500 pounds. Range is approximately 300 miles with its internal fuel storage but that can be doubled with the addition of external tanks.

The ULV is not intended for deployment, but for research that will impact future designs of light tactical military ground vehicles. Courtesy: TARDEC

ULV
How about a Humvee-sized vehicle with the survivability of a larger transport, mated with the fuel efficiency of a hybrid drivetrain? That’s what the Ultra Light Vehicle (ULV) prototype was designed to do. From concept to build in only 16 months using commercially available materials, the ULV is one of TARDEC’s newest projects and was designed to meet these Department of Defense goals: 4,500 pound payload capacity, under 14,000 pounds curb weight, and occupant protection at least equivalent to the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicle. Three prototypes were built, with two assigned for mobility, mine blast and ballistic survivability testing while the third was moved to TARDEC’s Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory for mobility and fuel efficiency testing. The ULV is not intended as a future replacement for the Humvee or for the Joint Light Vehicle Tactical program, but instead will be a research platform that will shape the design of ground vehicles in the foreseeable future. “It’s all about sharing the data,” said Mike Karaki, ULV program manager in a TARDEC press release. “If we have an ability to share the data internally within TARDEC, and externally within the program managers and program executives offices, and beyond that with other government agencies, we will attempt to do that. It’s helping shape and inform future programs.”

Looks normal, but this cab is actually fitted with everything needed for autonomous operation. Courtesy: TARDEC

The ULV uses a hybrid powertrain that drives the front and rear axles with electric motors mounted in the center of axle and directly coupled to a conventional differential (only one is needed for propulsion, adding redundancy to the powertrain in the event of damage). The elimination of the driveline allows engineers to improve blast shielding in the underbody of the vehicle. A Subaru Boxer (horizontally opposed 4-cylinder) turbocharged diesel provides the power to the 200 kilowatt motor/generator, feeding a 380 volt lithium-iron phosphate battery pack rated at 14.2 kWh and capable of providing all electric drive for approximately 10 miles if needed.  A liquid adaptive suspension system with 18 inches of travel keeps the 40x14.5R20LT Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ radials on the terrain. Inside are the latest command, control, communications, intelligence, and surveillance and reconnaissance equipment. “We tried to push the envelope in terms of state-of-the-art and out-of-the-box materials throughout the entire development process,” said Karaki.

Bet you won’t see an EPA sticker that looks like this one at your local dealership! Courtesy: TARDEC

Remote-mounted and controlled electronics improves space and reduces HVAC loads. Occupant safety is enhanced through the improved blast protection allowed by the electric-only drive and by designing in seven different points of entry/exit. “Clamshell” doors open away from the B-pillar to offer protection to soldiers as they exit the cabin. Further protection from attack is provided by a floating floor design that acts as a crush zone between the occupants and the steel hull and newly developed ceramic armors that also aid in overall weight reduction.

 

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