from the I'm-sure-I-parked-it-around-here-somewhere dept.
DARPA is developing a hybrid-powered motorcycle to soundlessly penetrate remote areas and execute complex, lightning-fast raids. The idea is to develop a hybrid power system that relies on both electric and gas power, allowing special ops to go off-road and zip past enemy forces with the silence of an electric engine, while also being able to handle extended missions and higher speeds with a supplemental gas tank. "Quieted, all-wheel-drive capability at extended range in a lightweight, rugged, single-track vehicle could support the successful operations of U.S. expeditionary and special forces in extreme terrain conditions and contested environments," says Wade Pulliam of Logos Technologies which was awarded a contract for a preliminary design to see just how viable the project is. "With a growing need to operate small units far from logistical support, the military may increasingly rely on adaptable, efficient technologies like this hybrid-electric motorcycle."
Logos plans to fit its quieted, multifuel hybrid-electric power system with an all-electric bike from San Francisco-based manufacturer BRD Motorcycles that uses an existing (and what BRD calls "barely legal") racing bike, the RedShift MX, a 250-pound all-electric moto that retails for $15,000. The RedShift MX has a two hour range, but will be extended with a gas tank the size of which will be determined by the military in the research period. The focus on the electric element suggests that DARPA is more concerned with the stealthiness of the motorcycle than it is efficiency. "The team is excited to have such a mature, capable system from which to build, allowing an accelerated development cycle that could not be achieved otherwise," says Pulliam.