Ricardo North America is a subsidiary of flagship Ricardo plc, a global engineering, strategic and environmental consultancy headquartered in Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex, England and listed on the London Stock Exchange. Specializing in traditional transportation technologies, with a focus on enabling the evolution to advanced mobility solutions, our expertise includes passenger car, commercial vehicle, off-highway, motorcycle, rail, defense, motorsport, energy and environment.
Founded by Sir Harry Ricardo in 1915, Ricardo has a lengthy history in North America, starting with cooperation between Sir Harry Ricardo and Henry Ford in the 1920s, and Harley-Davidson applying Ricardo’s engine technology in the 1930s. Today, known worldwide for innovative engine designs and technical advances, the organization boasts a client roster that includes vehicle manufacturers, system and subsystem suppliers, energy companies and government agencies.
In the early 1980s, Ricardo was commissioned by GM to support engine designs, utilizing the company’s famous Comet cylinder head and injection technology that resulted in class-leading engines used in multiple applications, including the Hummer H1 that continued in series production until 2000.
Ricardo opened its first U.S. based operation in 1989 in Chicago, to focus on heavy duty commercial vehicle and off-highway clients. Shortly after, Ricardo established its Michigan office in Novi and expanded rapidly, notably acquiring Ferguson Formula Developments (FFD), the revolutionary developer of allwheel- drive technology for cars and light commercial vehicles. FFD-Ricardo developed a brand-new automatic transmission for the Ferrari 456 GTA in the U.S. market, which drew excellent reviews, including “…One of the best auto setups on any fast GT” from Car magazine.
The ‘90s brought huge gains for Ricardo North America, which culminated with the opening of the Detroit Technical Center (DTC) in Belleville, Michigan – a stateof- the-art vehicle engineering and test facility – and developing a new engine program for DaimlerChrysler.
In the past few decades, Ricardo North America has been at the forefront of the way military vehicles are conceived, designed and built, harnessing advanced developments to maximize productivity and effectiveness. Engineering breakthroughs have led to performance and efficiency improvements for the U.S. Department of Defense Fuel Efficiency Demonstrator (FED) program – targeted to develop the next generation of military vehicles to replace the Humvee. Ricardo North America far exceeded the target 60% fuel economy improvement, leading the way to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selecting Ricardo to stage the FANG Challenge – a series of competitions designed to produce the Fast, Adaptable, Next Generation amphibious fighting vehicles.
A short list of fruitful Ricardo North America projects in the 21st century includes the Hummer H2 (GM, AM General and EDAG); the 6.1 HEMI (Chrysler); the Global V6 (GM); the Ford GT transmission; the Toyota fuel cell and the Future Tactical Truck System (Navistar).
Adhering to Sir Harry’s ethos, Ricardo has continued at the forefront of technical developments driving the push into electrification of the powertrain, focusing on the design, integration and thermal management of batteries, e-machines and power electronics.
To capitalize on the technological innovations sprouting from California’s Silicon Valley, Ricardo established the Santa Clara Technical Center in 2014 and an additional West Coast Technical Center in San Diego in 2020. The objective: Support our clients as the industry moves towards “New Mobility at Scale” – a world of zero carbon mobility and autonomous vehicles where software has become the dominant technology. To propel the industry forward and enable production scale deployment of the next generation electrified, connected and automated driving vehicles, Ricardo is leveraging its legacy in vehicle system integration to deliver a holistic approach to intelligent connectivity, robust data collection and standards-based architectures for advanced embedded systems.
“Ricardo’s proud legacy is more than 100 years of transportation and propulsion innovation,” says Patrick McLeod, Ricardo North America Vice President of Technical Operations. “This heritage is the foundation for driving aggressively into the future, balancing our partners’ near-term internal combustion needs with long-term electrification and autonomy realities.
“Today’s Ricardo is designed to reflect the future by supporting a transportation industry in transition. With our rich internal combustion engine and mechanical design tradition, combined with software and emerging technology know-how, we successfully meet our customers’ near- and long-term business, technology and innovation objectives.”
Global Managing Director, Automotive and Industrial
Chrysler, Wind River/Intel
President, Ricardo North America
Global Financial Director
Verimatrix, Fit Pay
Sun Microsystems, Wind River/Intel
Benteler Automotive, Oxford Automotive
Our clients require a nimble organization that can easily move from mechanical to software operations, so we’ve assembled an experienced management team that understands the interplay of new and old technologies. The team boasts a cross-section of skills honed from a variety of industries and work experiences, diversity that’s crucial as we support a transportation industry in transition.
Customers have, and will, count on Ricardo to design the next wave of cleaner mobility and propulsion technology—from internal combustion engines and farm equipment to electrified motorcycles, victorious Formula E race cars and autonomous earth movers.