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

  • paulus

    This is the Holy grail of off-road enduro. What a great bike this would be.
    2WD – there are some good systems out there.
    The best so far the Ohlins hydraulic system (but 10 years ahead of tis time)
    Diesel/Electric – range, range, range.
    I hope it gets to an (affordable) consumer based model.

  • A true off road bike I would say, as Paulus says, I hope there will build a consumer model, perhaps to give some competition to the undying Rokon motorcycles.

  • L2C

    Anybody else see the owl?

    Anybody else see the globe?

    Anybody else see the symbol of the Klingon Empire?

    Anybody else see the Partridge Family?

  • @L2C, I’ve always seen a honey bear, myself, but fear not, the production RedShift is detailed differently.

  • Woodlandrider

    Not sure what L2C is on about myself – must be a US psychedelic thing. If he’s trying to say ‘so what ? . . .then maybe he has a point. I have already developed a hybrid generator for my electric motorcycle so this is nothing new. Size and noise / emissions control from the generator are the main issues – the rest is pretty basic though I have developed an electronic control unit that manages the way the generator kicks in as required. But commercialising this stuff IS new and we have to wait and see if this will be in the shops by . . .ooh . . 2030 per haps ?. . . . . BRD said they’d have their electric production bikes for delivery by 2014 and I don’t see them either. Even their pre-order button now goes to a 404 PAGE NOT FOUND. But they are not on their own with that sort of BS. I for one am getting a little bored by the hype and non-delivery of the Electric Motorcycle market.

    As for 2WD, various reviewers of solutions like Christini have mixed feelings about it. Some love it – most off-road racers dislike it. But for getting across rough terrain, its got to help.

  • @Woodlandrider, believe me the wait for these bikes is far more painful for us than it is for you. I’ve written this before, but the unfortunate nature of startups are that there is an awful lot that is outside of our control especially when it comes to timeline. However, you should know that we are definitely still cranking on the bikes and are moving mountains to get them to you as quickly as possible. We’ve been pretty quiet for the last two years for two reasons: first, is that I’d rather put resources to building than marketing (including an updated website), and second is that the public is so fatigued by unfulfilled claims of performance that we prefer to wait until we can demonstrate performance rather than just talk about it. This DARPA announcement from our partner, Logos, is an exception to that policy, but rules are made to be broken…

    BTW, the pre-order button is still working on our machines. What browser are you using?

  • Woodlandrider

    @Marc. I do understand re. production issues as I’ve been there (and am there again) myself. But, despite the need to pump the PR machine occasionally, I’ll stay well away from offering pre-orders that just can’t be delivered by the quoted timescale. You are just adding to the ‘unfulfilled claims’ of the electric motorcycle market that you quote above. There seems to be several Directors in BRD so there are several avenues of raising finance (personally) if everyone is behind this bike. I also recalled reading that you gained some significant Investment only 3-4 months ago. . . . and I recalled it was for ‘getting into production’, though could be wrong. So I assumed you were further along than perhaps you are.

    Sincere good luck anyway – I admire anyone who throws their hat (and their house) in this ring. Your bike looks good and I understand the commercially fatal desire to want perfection – but there comes a time when you just have to accept that the design is good enough.

    BTW – I’m using Safari . . . .

    This is the page I get to

    and clicking ‘pre-order’ button gives me a 404. . . . . . not a bike :-)

  • Yep…for us non military types: stealth = quite in city.
    Plus the torque of a E-bike with the range of an ICE as well as having either motor as a back up in case one breaks.
    The ICE will be smaller than it would otherwise have to be ( because the power of ICE and Electric can be used together…) and less batteries will be needed ( because a HUGE range as in a convential E-Bike is not needed) so the additional weight of the E-Power setup will not increase the weight (much) above a equivalent pure ICE.
    Lots of modes are possible: ICE only – Electric only – ICE/Electric – ICE only while charging batteries – ICE charging batteries while stationary…
    I wonder if I can build one (for myself) before anyone else?

  • The ICE motor here does not power the wheels directly. Instead, tt acts as a generator for the electric motor. Subtle, but important, difference.

  • And therein lies the little problem because out of 1 kW from an ICE one can only get roughly a little more than half a kW in electric power generated.
    Hence ‘my’ hybrid works differently.
    By using the ICE also as a direct drive the efficiency of the whole system goes up, because there is less loss.
    While still having all the benefits of each system used seperatly (stealth/quiteness, torque, less fuel cost, more enviromentally friendly… – range, charging source…) as well as the advantage of using both together (better torque PLUS range…etc.)…
    This has been my pet subject for a while…I like hybrids.