At this week's Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress, the U.S. Army is debuting what could be the next-generation of light tactical vehicles for the armed forces. Named the FED (Fuel Efficient ground vehicle Demonstrator) Bravo, the vehicle was a collaboration between the Army and students at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. The vehicle was designed to meet specific fuel economy, performance, protection, and payload requirements.
And even if you're not a military hardware geek, the list of components on this prototype would get the attention of any car or truck enthusiast. Starting with a 268 hp 4.4-liter twin-turbodiesel V-8 engine based on the engine offered in the European-market Range Rover, mated to an Allison six-speed transmission. If you're a green car enthusiast, you may recognize the name A123 Systems, which supplies the 22.5 kW-hr lithium-ion battery. The Bravo comes equipped with Brembo carbon-ceramic brake rotors and low-drag aluminum calipers with anti-lock brakes. On the outside, it features carbon fiber body panels and LED lighting.
Much like the EPA tests for passenger cars and light trucks, the Army has its own fuel-efficiency tests, formulated and administered by the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Testing Center (TARDEC). The FED Bravo achieved between 7.3 and 12.5 mpg in the specialized tests. That may not sound terribly fuel-efficient until you realize its conventional predecessor, the HMMWV (Also known as the Humvee) got about 4 mpg in the same tests. The Bravo also weighs roughly double a full-size half-ton truck, at 12,500 pounds.
And to help make life and operations on the battlefront a little easier, a TM3 microgrid system can be plugged into the Bravo to provide power for Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and other small outposts.