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Leno Drives Army’s Original Fuel Efficient Demonstrator

Jay Leno interviewed AMC's GEN Dennis L. Via and CTO Dr. Grace M. Bochenek about the FED Alpha vehicle for his online show "Jay Leno's Garage." (U.S. Army photo by Cherish Washington.) Jay Leno interviewed AMC's GEN Dennis L. Via and CTO Dr. Grace M. Bochenek about the FED Alpha vehicle for his online show "Jay Leno's Garage." (U.S. Army photo by Cherish Washington.)

By TARDEC Communications Staff

The Army has a long-term goal of increasing the fuel efficiency of its entire fleet and the Fuel Efficient Demonstrator (FED) vehicles were built to help accomplish that. Late night talk show host Jay Leno has a goal of exploring all things automotive on his web series “Jay Leno’s Garage.”

Those two objectives came together recently when Leno welcomed Army Materiel Command’s (AMC’s) Commanding General, GEN Dennis L. Via, and AMC Chief Technology Officer Dr. Grace Bochenek to his online program to showcase the FED Alpha — the first of two vehicles TARDEC and teams of industry and academic partners developed to evaluate fuel-saving systems on a military platform.

“This is not a Prius by any means, but for the Army it’s very fuel efficient,” Leno commented on the webcast, which is available at jaylenosgarage.com.

Designed by TARDEC and industry partners, the FED Alpha is an Office of the Secretary of Defense-sponsored project developed to test fuel efficiency technologies that may be integrated into the current combat vehicle fleet.

To prepare for the show, GEN Via and Dr. Bochenek visited Selfridge Air National Guard Base (SANGB) in Southeast Michigan in late January for hands-on experience with the FED vehicle. They were accompanied by TARDEC Director Dr. Paul Rogers and TACOM Life Cycle Management Command CG MG Michael Terry.

General Vai and Jay Leno. Click to enlarge

In the pre-drive session, TARDEC Engineer Rachel Agusti briefed GEN Via on three takeaways about the vehicle.

“There were three objectives with the program: increase fuel efficiency by 30 percent, improve the capabilities of the warfighter, and to be able to provide protection and ergonomics for the vehicle in terms of safety and survivability for our Soldiers,” GEN Via relayed to Leno on the episode.

GEN Via emphasized that partnerships were key to developing the vehicle, which is equipped with fuel-saving technologies developed by the automobile industry and currently in testing on the FED vehicle. FED Alpha could perform the same mission as a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), but with about 70 percent better mpg ratings (in simulated studies). The episode also included a video showing the FED in motion.

Like every vehicle that enters Leno’s garage, the host test drove the vehicle with GEN Via and Bochenek along for the ride on the streets of Los Angeles. Leno commented on the braking power and turn radius.

Increasing fuel efficiency would have life-saving impact because it reduces the amount of fuel convoys — and warfighters’ exposure to the enemy — in the field.

Disclaimer: Reference herein to any specific commercial company, product, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or the Department of the Army (DoA). The opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or the DoA, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.