12 September 2023
Ricardo develops advanced Ranger HEX 6x6 conversion with hybrid electric drivetrain
The new vehicle has been conceived to help improve the sustainability of future defence mobility while retaining the highest performance demanded by the toughest environments.
Ricardo, a global strategic, environmental, and engineering consulting company, has developed the Ranger HEX, a 6x6 vehicle conversion designed to offer a significant improvement in payload of up to 3,800kg over the harshest of terrains. It comes with a hybrid drivetrain to maintain performance and improve fuel consumption.
This new conversion benefits from Ricardo’s expertise and experience in creating high quality, cost effective special vehicles for defence, security and utility applications. The vehicle will benefit from enhanced levels of capability, robustness and availability.
Paul Tarry, Head of Special Vehicles at Ricardo, said: “We’re delighted with this latest conversion. The HEX benefits from an existing proven automotive platform, with added engineering and software enabled features, offering customers a robust, fit-for-purpose solution that is flexible, durable and doesn’t lose any of the characteristics needed to perform in the toughest of environments. The addition of a hybrid electric drivetrain means that this vehicle is helping to fulfil clients’ sustainability objectives, allowing the benefits of future mobility, without loss of performance, and as an added advantage we are able to preserve the existing warranty on the base vehicle.”
The HEX solution differs from conventional conversions as it has been conceived as an overlay bolt-on system that does not require any alteration of the Ford Ranger base vehicle, which is Europe’s number one commercial pick-up platform. This ensures that the base vehicle retains all the robustness and quality of the standard vehicle and allows the system to be removed and re-installed on a different vehicle.
An electric rear drive system has been adopted that uses a production Ford drive unit to provide up to an additional 210kW of power, over and above the class leading 186kW of power from the existing 3.0L V6 diesel engine. The De Dion rear suspension design is not only weight efficient and robust but also provides better wheel control for improved traction and ride. In addition, the De Dion arrangement decouples the suspension and drive systems to allow a range of drive units to be used or deleted for a cost-effective 6x4 variant with maximum payload using an undriven ‘lazy’ axle.
The electric drive is designed as a self-contained through-the-road hybrid system. Braking energy is harvested under deceleration to charge the battery pack. This energy is then used to provide electric torque under acceleration to mitigate the usual drop in performance whist carrying a high payload. A selection of battery capacities are available, depending on customer requirements. All high voltage components are contained within a single integrated enclosure for safety and ease of maintenance and repair.