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Hybrid Humvee? US Army shows its diesel hybrid field vehicle


May 10, 2012

That's no Toyota Prius

That's no Toyota Prius

Still think hybrids and green cars are meek and hipsterish? Plant your eyes on the US Army's Fuel Efficient ground vehicle Demonstrator Bravo. It's one of the burliest vehicles you've likely seen in years, and it's all hybrid underneath its rugged metal shell.

If you think you spend a lot of money on gas, imagine how much money the world's most powerful military – with its tanks, generators, military bases, Jeeps and on and on – must spend on gas every day. Since being the world military leader also empowers you to, say, go out and develop the most advanced hybrid vehicle technology the world has ever seen, it's not too surprising to see the Army putting some of its resources toward building a cleaner, cheaper wheel.

The FED Bravo builds on the original FED concept shown last fall (the FED Alpha, in true US military fashion), adding mobile power supply equipment – besides running partially on electric power, the FED Bravo can also feed power into a microgrid for use at small military outposts.

In addition to its new role as mobile power station, the FED Bravo uses a completely different powertrain from the Alpha. In place of the original Cummins four-cylinder engine, the Bravo features a more powerful 4.4-liter twin-turbo Ford V-8 worth 268 hp. It gets its green cred from a road-coupled parallel hybrid drive system with a front-mounted electric motor and rear-integrated hybrid system. An engine start-stop system adds further fuel savings.

The Army didn't get into what type of fuel economy we're talking (probably because the fuel economy of a 17,000-lb (7,711-kg) armored truck wouldn't be all that impressive to the average consumer anyway), but when it first showed the non-hybrid Alpha model, it said that it would burn up to 70 percent less fuel than a standard up-armored Humvee. The New York Times reports that the Bravo gets 8.2 mpg (28.L/100 km) city and 14.2 mpg (16.5 L/100 km) highway, about double the numbers for a regular Humvee.

Proving it isn't any compact hybrid sissy, the FED Bravo uses an armored cab atop a tubular space frame designed to increase rigidity-to-weight ratio, not to mention a V-shaped hull for blast protection.

The Army received Department of Defense funding for the project and worked with a group of 18 students from Detroit's College for Creative Studies. The concept was developed at the Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren, Michigan with industry partner World Technical Services, Inc. The Army showed the concept at the recent Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress, which took place late last month.

Source: US Army, New York Times

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Ok...it gets 70% better mileage than the up-armored. Will it take anywhere near the same blast?


why is it so ugly? is that pink?

Take it off any sweet jumps?


re; VoiceofReason

It will probably take bigger blasts because it is armored to the same standard and the shape is better.


Re VoiceofReason

No you are right, it is still a rectanglular box with blast traps where the wheels are where all the current generation wheeled personel carriers use the V shaped hull. In fact the up armoured HUMVEE is still not an IED resistant vehicle.

Casspir and Mamba APC type chassais are the sort of vehicle's needed when the front line is the supply line in insurgency warfare. Ignore the pretty shape and the armour spec, form is more important than beauty.


that is ugly!! but cool too

LaShon Smith

It's interesting that it's appearance even matters. considering it purpose. But it does matter. because it's the first thing the enemy see's of you. You want him to think twice about his actions before committing them.

Ross Jenkins

Re; Ross Jenkins

I beleive the right answer is that the insurgents by their very nature are not afraid of consequences of their actions for you or for them, many of which live as though already dead.

The problem is with the IED, which is a device which when planted gives the highest chance of escape and evasion for the insurgent. The only way of properly dealing with it is to watch every living soul like a hawk until they try to plant one.


Slow...where does it say that? It says it gets better mileage.....so does a VW Beetle, but it also won't take a hit. Armor always adds weight. Weight always decreases mileage.

It mentions blast protection but not to what level.

If they wanted a vehicle that got better mileage they could have just had Detroit build a hybrid four door pickup with some added armor and achieved the same results for less cost.


WHEN are they going to build a vehicle that has independent electric wheel motors, on all 4 wheels, each driven by a diesel powered generating system? Seems the Diesel could run at a constant, low rpm speed, and the beauty would be that it would be a "power on demand" system to each wheel. Additionally, they could be "disconnected" if a wheel or motor becomes "disabled". It might just be a heck of a lot more economical to operate as well....


Re: Observer101

Jeep built a prototype Wrangler Unlimited about 5 years ago that had 4 hub motors with one gas generator based of off an existing Chrysler engine, and the plan would be to replace that with a diesel generator. That was before the bankruptcy though, and it doesn't seem that Marchionne is very committed to electric powertrains. His one fault.

Did anyone take notice to the engine for this thing? 268hp out of a 4.4 liter twin turbo? That's a horribly low power output, even if rated for military duty. Ford gets only 365hp out of their 3.5l twin turbo V6, and that itself is considerably low for the technology they are putting into the engine. 100hp/l is good for an NA engine, but the bar is at 150hp/l for turbo. That's what Mitsu gets with their EVO.


Better blast protection than a Humvee, that's practically a guarantee. Stop complaining, folks.

Joel Detrow

The military forces consume more than half of what the government consumes in fuel and is the biggest single expense in their budgets. Most of the soldiers being crippled or killed in Afghanistan and Iraq are driving fuel trucks and the higher the mileage of the attack vehicles the fewer trucks need to be on the road.

The German army would have pushed the allied invasion back out of France but their tanks ran out of fuel. The importance of supply line integrity has been known for centuries but was overlooked by the Bush administrations armchair warriors which included notably Rumsfeld and Rice.

The reality is that the army and marines have been asking for more fuel efficient and less noisy (for recon use) vehicles and the Republicans killed the most recent program of the marines only last year - pork must have been going to the wrong Congressional district. As with the deadly (for our troops) Bradley vehicles the selection process is highly political with no regard for the soldiers.


The Turbodiesel-electric hybrid H1 JTEV "Hummer" was revolutionary in it's day.... back in 1994.

There were MANY advantages- yet it never entered into production.

It was utterly illogical to continue the H1's as produced- slow,heavy-handed and unreliable.

Once again, attempting to make something that can do everything, they ended up with something that did nothing well.


re; VoiceofReason

I have read other articles on the FED Bravo and the original FED as well as remembering that the army's specifications for such vehicles include specs on the armor.

re; Observer101

When the electric motors become cheaper than mechanical transmission drive lines.


Looks like the Nazi half track has made an excellent come back. More like Bravo Sierra.

Doug Farris
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