Aluminum played a star role this week in an episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” that featured the U.S. Army’s rugged Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED). The FED sports a low weight aluminum structure, armoring, and underbody blast shield that will give troops an edge. Vehicle capability, mobility, protection and durability are increased, and a significant fuel efficiency increase over the current fleet is realized.
During the segment, found at www.jaylenosgarage.com, Leno examined the vehicle’s design, noting the extensive aluminum use, and conducted a test drive on the streets of Los Angeles.
“The U.S. military has a long history of using aluminum to design vehicles that protect and hold up in the most extreme environments,” said Randall Scheps, chairman of The Aluminum Association’s Transportation Group (ATG), and automotive marketing director for Alcoa, Inc. “The FED not only benefits from aluminum’s safety and durability properties, but also its efficiency: reducing weight with aluminum means these vehicles will need less fuel. And while these benefits are great for military applications, they also apply to consumers whose everyday vehicles are using more and more aluminum.”
The FED program’s goal was to increase fuel efficiency by 30 percent, while meeting the troop protection mission. The vehicle significantly exceeded this goal with a demonstrated 70 percent fuel efficiency improvement driven primarily by integral aluminum armor/frame and powertrain components in place of steel.
In addition to the FED, aluminum is the high-strength, corrosion-resistant, highly crash-absorbent metal of choice for the military’s HMMWV, HEMTT, and Bradley Fighting Vehicle. It is also used in rugged consumer vehicles such as the Toyota Tundra, Ram 1500, and the world’s first all-aluminum SUV, Land Rover’s Range Rover.
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About the Aluminum Association
Through its Aluminum Transportation Group, the Aluminum Association communicates the benefits of aluminum in ground transportation applications to help accelerate its penetration through research programs and related outreach activities. The ATG’s mission is to serve member companies and act as a central resource for the automotive and commercial vehicle industries on aluminum issues. Members of the ATG include: Alcoa Inc., Novelis Inc., Rio Tinto Alcan, Aluminum Precision Products Inc., Kaiser Aluminum Corporation and Sapa Group.