Leno Takes Michigan-Designed Armored Vehicle for a Spin


VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP — The Ricardo-engineered Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator vehicle is featured in a web video posted today on “Jay Leno’s Garage.” During the segment, the late-night comedian takes a test drive of the FED, which represents the ideal application of armored vehicle design expertise and fuel efficiency improvements by Ricardo Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Ricardo PLC, a multi-industry consultancy for engineering, technology, project innovation, and strategy.

“Ricardo has been working for many years to help the U.S. Department of Defense increase the fuel efficiency of its vehicle fleet, and it is an honor to have Jay Leno give recognition to the achievements the FED has made in armored vehicle design and fuel efficiency improvements,” Tom Apostolos, president of Ricardo Inc., said.

Ricardo worked with the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center to design, develop, manufacture and test the FED. Completed in 2011, the FED is a military demonstration vehicle that shows how to maximize fuel economy on the battlefield while maintaining the capability and performance of light tactical wheeled vehicles. The vehicle showcases Ricardo’s total vehicle system methodology, which combines advanced powertrain technologies with vehicle mass reduction, improved rolling resistance and driveline improvements to increase fuel economy.

The FED visited Jay Leno’s garage in Burbank, Calif., this past February to film the test drive. The vehicle was accompanied by Gen. Dennis L. Via, commanding general of Army Material Command, and Grace Bochenek, PhD, AMC’s chief technology officer, who provided Jay with an overview during the segment.

The FED features numerous fuel-saving designs, including:

  • Cummins I4 engine to which Ricardo added a supercharger and recalibrated specifically for tactical vehicle fuel efficiency using military fuels in Ricardo’s DTC engine dynos
  • Goodyear Fuel Max low rolling resistance tires specifically designed for the FED
  • Lightweight aluminum structure, armoring and underbody blast shield that support and protect the vehicle while reducing weight; developed in conjunction with Alcoa Defense
  • Improved driveline that utilizes a unique carrier and differential assembly from Ricardo and AxleTech International, including nongeared hubs and REM Chemicals’ isotropic superfinished gears to reduce friction between gears and increase fuel efficiency
  • Accelerator feedback pedal and fuel economy display to inform drivers how to operate the vehicle to produce the best fuel economy.