Subaru owners are stereotypically peaceable and good-natured, so what’s one of the company’s boxer engines doing in a military vehicle?
According to Jalopnik, this Ultra Light Vehicle (ULV) prototype is powered by a hybrid powertrain centered around a Subaru turbo diesel engine. It’s teamed with a pair of electric motors and a 1.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
The ULV was designed to solve two problems for the military: fuel consumption, and the need for a more cost-effective and versatile replacement for the Humvee.
It’s undergoing testing by the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), an organization created in 2010 to find a Humvee alternative that can “balance payload, performance, and protection” without breaking the bank.
As far as performance goes, the Subaru diesel engine produces 175 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, but – as in a Chevrolet Volt – the engine is primarily used as a range-extender. Most of the motivation will come from the electric motors, which produce 268 hp and 844 lb-ft each, “peak” power of 269 hp and 1,221 lb-ft is available on demand.
Each motor is attached to an axle and capable of driving the ULV by itself. The Department of Defense says the vehicle will do 74 mph in hybrid mode or travel up to 21 miles on electric power only. Total range is 335 miles at 35 mph on level ground.
In addition to making the ULV more fuel efficient, the electric motors also eliminate the need for driveshafts, allowing engineers to better-shape the underside of the vehicle to deflect explosions.
An armored ULV weighs 13,916 pounds, only a little less than a fully-armored Humvee. However, it still has a payload of 4,284 pounds, and can climb a 60-degree slope.
All of that technology comes with a price tag of $250,000, which seems like good value. A Rolls-Royce might be more comfortable, but it probably won’t do as well against an IED.