A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

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In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

The first aspect of the proposed vehicles, the two-wheel drive system, is intriguing, as it achieves something similar to the Christini 2WD system, though likely will use an electric hub motor for the front-wheel locomotion.

Making things more interesting, the Logos-BRD vehicle will be driven purely by electricity, though the team’s mutli-fuel internal combustion engine can quietly produced enough power to operate the electric motors and supply any supplemental electricity when necessary (like charging the batteries), not unlike the now-popular Chevy Volt automobile.

“Our advanced yet affordable offering will provide operators the near-silent capability and ease of operation, of an all-electric vehicle along with the adaptable power generation and extended range of a multifuel internal combustion engine,” said Wade Pulliam, Manager of Advanced Concepts at Logos Technologies.

Reading between the lines of the press release, Logos and BRD are likely utilizing a modified diesel engine in their configuration, which can burn the US military’s JP-8 spec fuel, in order to maintain the military’s single-fuel resource requirements.

The advantage of running an internal combustion engine, for its generating power rather than its mechanical power, means that military operators can have the extended range, and refueling capability, of traditional combustion engines, yet also be able to use the silence and superior ride-feel of an electric motor when approaching a target.

The whole concept is an interesting one to come out of military’s DARPA funding efforts, but the civilian possibilities are even more intriguing. Several teams and companies have pondered a hybrid-electric motorcycle, though none have made it off the drawing board yet. Adding two-wheel drive to the pot, well that just sweetens the deal.

Source: BRD Motorcycles