US Army Tests Subaru Powered Ultra Light Vehicle Prototype: Video Photo:
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Trevor Collett | Jan, 06 2014 | 3 Comments

The US Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Centre (TARDEC) is currently testing a potential replacement for its world-famous Humvee.

The Ultra Light Vehicle (ULV) prototype was designed to overcome some of its predecessor’s shortcomings, including a high demand on the planet’s resources to keep the Humvee running. In other words, the venerable Humvee is too thirsty.

Hardly surprising when it weighs as much as an elephant and is powered by a 6.5 litre turbo diesel V8, but TARDEC reckons a Subaru-supplied diesel-electric hybrid set-up could provide the cure.

The turbo-diesel Boxer engine produces 131kW and 353Nm and combines with two electric motors, powered by a 14.2 kWh lithium-ion battery.

The electric motors can produce up to 200kW of continuous power each - rising to 276kW when called on for ‘peak’ power - along with an impressive 1144Nm of torque each, maxing-out at 1655Nm under ‘peak’ load.

The battery itself is rated at 65kW continuous power and 180kW peak.

Fuel consumption with the new powertrain improves to roughly 9 l/100km, with the ULV able to travel up to 34km on battery power alone, giving a combined range of 539km.

From a military perspective, the new diesel-electric hybrid set-up offers two distinct advantages.

Using electric-only power, the ULV can travel up to 34km almost silently and as the two electric motors drive the wheels directly, the lack of driveshafts means significant improvements for the undercarriage.

Ground-clearance is much improved over the Humvee, and the occupants on the ULV can now be better protected from roadside mine that detonate under the vehicle.

The ULV also meets the US military’s four key goals for its Humvee replacement: a payload of 2000kg, a weight of less than 6370kg, compatibility with existing military vehicles and a price of less than US$250,000 per unit over a production run of 5000 units.

Testing of the ULV is set to continue throughout 2014, before the US military settles on a final-production configuration.

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