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Power and Energy Vehicle Environmental Laboratory

The PLS-A1 will be rolled back into the PEVEL and connected to the dynamometers. The PEVEL houses 10 wheeled vehicle dynamometers rated at 160 HP each for testing up to five axle vehicles. Click to enlarge

The Power and Energy Vehicle Environmental Laboratory (PEVEL) is a one-of-a-kind facility employing a dynamometer and environmental combination where engineers can perform full mission-profile testing of Army vehicles — both manned and unmanned, wheeled and tracked — in virtually any environmental condition.

The PEVEL houses 10 wheeled vehicle dynamometers rated at 160 horsepower each for testing up to five axle vehicles. Lateral adjustment for different wheel spacing and equipment translates in and out for different vehicle widths, which enables a broad range of adjustment for wheeled vehicles. Nearly any wheeled vehicle in the Department of Defense's (DoD's) lineup can be tested in the new lab.

With its expansive environmental chamber, the PEVEL can simulate a vast range of temperatures, from minus 60 degrees F to a scorching 160 degrees F, up to 95-percent relative humidity, and winds of up to 60 mph. Its solar simulation capability generates solar loads up to 1,200 watts per square meter across the full solar spectrum as defined by DoD environmental testing standards. The ability to mimic field test conditions in a controlled environment means PEVEL can help the Army develop technology that delivers real-world solutions to Soldiers faster and more efficiently.

GVSET News masthead. This content was excerpted from the May 2012 issue of GVSET News, TARDEC's bimonthly online newsletter. To view the entire issue, please visit http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/b1a0b938

The PEVEL contains an 800-kilowatt power source and load for testing electrified vehicle powertrains and the chamber is rated for testing and storage of hydrogen-fueled vehicles and equipment. It can also capture fuel economy data for most military fuel types — including Jet Propellant 8 (JP-8), diesel, biodiesel and synthetic JP-8 variants — and measures both high-precision and high-speed vehicle exhaust emissions data. These energy measurement devices and alternative fuel capacities allow PEVEL engineers to precisely identify where the key energy production and uses occur in vehicle systems. Engineers can then optimize the system to achieve the best energy efficiency and utility for the end user.

Because it consolidates ground vehicle environmental testing at a single location, the lab also reduces the logistical test burden. It can potentially save taxpayer dollars by delivering more mature solutions to the Army's proving grounds and, ultimately, to the field. We asked the PEVEL Lead Test Engineer Stephen Roberts the following questions concerning the lab's unique capabilities.

What capabilities does this lab provide that weren't previously available?

The PEVEL provides two major capability improvements. First, it gives us the capability to perform full-vehicle testing on multi-axle wheeled vehicles without modification. Prior to GSPEL, we would have to remove the axles and/or modify the chassis to connect dynamometers to the vehicle's transmission. The PEVEL allows us to connect to each wheel station and individually simulate the interaction with the ground. The second major improvement is the dynamic testing capability. Other systems that use belts or rollers cannot re-create the vehicle dynamics as well as directly coupled dynamometers. The PEVEL system can also simulate wheels slipping on mud, ice, snow and other low-traction conditions.

How will your research benefit the Army, and Soldiers in particular?

The key benefit to the Soldier is the quality of products delivered to them as a result of PEVEL testing. Because of the thermal systems and dynamic testing capabilities in the lab, we can more thoroughly evaluate vehicles, correct problems and, ultimately, provide a better tool to the Soldier.

What is the first product that you will test at the new lab?

The first test will be performed on the new Palletized Load System (PLS-A1) truck. This is a new variant in the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck/PLS family that uses some newer components. The purpose of the testing is primarily to evaluate the functionality of the test cell, but we also hope to validate some proving ground testing and learn as much as possible about the vehicle's capabilities. Following the PLS-A1, we will be testing the Ultra-Light Vehicle (ULV) prototype, which will run concurrently with live tests at Aberdeen Proving Ground and the Nevada Automotive Test Center. These tests will leverage the best capabilities of all three test sites to provide a unified view of the ULV concepts, capability and utility for military use.

Availability

This facility's unique capabilities are available for use by Government Agencies, Military installations, academic institutions or private business entities, upon approval and with proper security clearance. To make arrangements to use the Air Filtration Lab, contact the user liaison for this facility. You may also view our list of comprehensive laboratory capabilities to ensure that this facility best suits your needs.

User Liaison

TARDEC Ground Vehicle Gateway
tardec.groundvehiclegateway.com

Related Facilities

The Power and Energy Vehicle Environmental Laboratory is part of TARDEC's Ground Systems Power and Energy Laboratory. Other labs and test facilities within this group include:

Additional Photos

TARDEC PEVEL Engineer Stephen Roberts brings the operating system online prior to the GSPEL Grand Opening on April 11. Once the system is fully integrated, engineers will be able to fully exploit the PEVEL's thermal systems and dynamic test capabilities to thoroughly evaluate individual vehicle systems. Click to enlarge
The PEVEL can simulate a vast range of temperatures, from minus 60 degrees to 160 degrees F, up to 95-percent relative humidity, and winds of up to 60 mph. Additionally, its solar simulation capability generates solar loads up to 1,200 watts per square meter across the full solar spectrum. (U.S. Army TARDEC photos.) Click to enlarge