Warren, Michigan – The U.S. Army has commissioned a heavy-duty multi-axle system to test hybrid vehicles weighing up to 44 tons, according to a report by the Green Car Congress.

The Army has awarded a multi-million-dollar subcontract to Horiba Automotive Test Systems of California to build the system, which will be capable of testing hybrid vehicles for driver, vehicle and terrain simulation at the Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center in Michigan.

The system is expected to be operational in 2011, and will be able to accommodate tracked vehicles weighing up to 44 tons, and ten-wheeled trucks weighing up to 33 tons. It will also be able to measure and calibrate up to 1,000 data signals, and simulate the extreme duty cycles and terrains that military vehicles encounter, from deserts to Arctic terrain.

The report said that the Army uses half a billion gallons of fuel per year, and estimates that fuel makes up about 70 per cent of the logistical tonnage haul in an armored division. Depending on whether it is transported by truck, boat or plane, shipping costs range from US$10 to $400 per gallon.

The Army has targeted a 75 per cent reduction in fuel consumption by 2020.

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