Move over Humvee, the four-wheel-drive diesel hybrid FED Bravo may be ready to take your place.
OK, well that’s not yet confirmed, but the U.S. Army’s latest “Fuel Efficient Demonstrator” (FED) was shown this week at the Society of Automotive Engineers 2012 World Congress, and the 12,500-pound hybrid has a lot of the right stuff.
Powered by a 268-horsepower Ford 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 diesel driving a six-speed transmission, and sporting a “road-coupled parallel hybrid drive system,” its front axle is turned by an electric motor, and the rear axle is linked to the hybrid fuel-powered and electric system.
What’s also innovative is the vehicle is capable of delivering electricity to remote areas such as in Afghanistan.
On board is an 22.5-kwh A123 Systems battery pack, and combined with the big diesel, the Army says this latest plug-in is its own portable smart grid accessory, able to provide on-site power to hard-to-access areas by reversing current flow like a big generator on wheels.
“When FED Bravo plugs into a microgrid, it’s capable of providing power that can be used at forward operating bases and other small military outposts, officials said, significantly reducing power requirements and helping Soldiers to be more efficient,” says an official U.S. Army article.
The Army’s concept vehicle was the product of collaboration with students at the College for Creative Studies, or CCS, in Detroit.
“CCS has a thriving, highly respected automotive design program to feed the styling studios of the Big Three auto manufacturers, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler,” the Army says. “A group of 18 CCS students designed FED Bravo to meet specific Army requirements for fuel economy, performance, protection, payload and interior layout.”
Funding came from the Defense Department, and FED Bravo was co-developed by the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren, Mich., along with industry partner World Technical Services, Inc.
Among other technologies for the vehicle that is somewhere around 70-percent more fuel efficient than a comparable conventional vehicle, it features start-stop technology, and antilock brakes combined with the vehicle’s steering system that supply hydraulic pressure also for steering, eliminating a second pump and improving efficiency.
Other efficiency yielding tech includes carbon ceramic brake rotors and low-drag aluminum brake calipers showing your tax dollars are hard at work.
A tubular space frame enhances its rigidity to weight ratio, the cab is armored and the hull is V-shaped to defend against roadside bombs and mines – and these are no doubt safety improvements no one could very well argue against.
This serious piece of hardware is an update from a previous version shown last October called FED Alpha, with the TM3 microgrid system now being one of the main updates.
We have not heard when the FED Bravo would go into production, nor would we be able to say whether several years after that, some automaker may strip the armor, gussy it up with a civilian-friendly interior and infotainment like the Hummer was in an era not long ago.
But if such a scenario ever comes to pass, and in your rear view mirror you saw this baby eight feet away from your bumper with an anxious distracted driver multitasking at the wheel, would you yield the lane?