Ricardo shows off a military hybrid systems demonstrator vehicle

We've been over the fact that the military likes hybrid and electric vehicles before, and the reasons are rather obvious. First, of course the military wants to save money on gas, just like you do. Second, while operating under electric power, vehicles have a tendency to be rather quiet, which works well when surprise is your ally. So, it should come as no surprise (ka-ching!) that when Ricardo decided to start an arm of their business catering to military customers, they did so by showing off a hybrid systems demonstrator vehicle. Ricardo is using individual hub-mounted motors along with an on-board generator capable of providing enough power to propel the vehicle and provide some for other electric devices. This could reduce the need for additional generators towed behind military rigs, another bonus. More details of the vehicle can be gleaned from their press release, conveniently posted after the break.

[Source: Ricardo]

Ricardo to leverage advanced automotive technologies for next-generation military vehicles

Release date: 11 September 2007

With the increasing need for military vehicles to perform in extreme and potentially hostile environments, the application of advanced technology is becoming ever more important. Whether in peacekeeping or combat, exceptional standards of vehicle performance, handling, safety, serviceability and reliability are expected, together with many application-specific needs for more specialist roles. To enable military vehicle customers to benefit from some of the very latest developments in automotive technology, Ricardo today announces the formation of its Defence Systems & Technologies strategic business unit

Today's formal launch of Ricardo Defence Systems & Technologies will be made at a press conference at the Defence Systems & Equipment International Exhibition, the world's largest fully integrated international defence exhibition, at London's ExCel arena. This new strategic business unit will be focused on the facilities and expertise of the Ricardo Special Vehicles group, which has a strong reputation in defence sector and specialist vehicle design and construction. The new unit will, however, leverage the latest automotive technologies developed throughout the Ricardo group – in areas such as next-generation combustion systems, hybrid and electric vehicle powertrains, NVH, transmission and driveline systems, active safety and control & electronics. Recognising the importance of fuel economy in military vehicle applications, the new unit will also benefit from Ricardo's expertise in fuel-efficient powertrain technologies and vehicle design processes. These include the Ricardo 'total vehicle fuel economy process' through which engineering teams quantify and address the energy losses in every vehicle system and deploy the most fuel-efficient vehicle and sub-system solutions. Moreover, advanced diagnostics and prognostics solutions will enable Ricardo customers to implement condition-based maintenance processes which underscore mission assuredness while offering potentially significant logistics and total cost of ownership savings.

On display at the Defence Systems & Equipment International Exhibition is an example of the work of Ricardo Defence Systems & Technologies: a military hybrid systems demonstrator vehicle that provides operational flexibility, high efficiency and low whole life costs, while also offering the option of a quiet mode for stealth operations. Independent hub motors provide improved traction control and stability, survivability and increased ground clearance, resulting in enhanced vehicle mobility. In addition, an on-board generator – capable of delivering more than 100KW of electrical power – has the potential to replace trailer-based generators for functions such as communications. Also on display at the exhibition will be the Ricardo Torque VectoringTM module, which can significantly improve steering response and stability in slippery and difficult terrain, thus improving vehicle safety and enhancing dynamics for drivers of all skill levels.

Commenting on the formation of the Ricardo Defence Systems & Technologies strategic business unit, Paul Tarry, operations director of Ricardo Special Vehicles Ltd, said:

"The new Ricardo Defence Systems & Technologies strategic business unit will enable us to improve significantly the level of service provided to our defence sector customers. It will provide a central focus enabling the team to access some of the very latest automotive innovations and technologies and apply them in the context of advanced military vehicle design and development. We look forward to working with our customers to develop the next generation of high performing, fuel-efficient, safe, reliable, cost-efficient – but most of all effective – defence and peace keeping vehicles."

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