Company Developing Hybrid Energy Motorbike For Special Operators
As the nature of warfare changes, it’s likely special operators will need increasingly stealthy ways to penetrate remote, hard-to-reach locations. That is one of the reasons Logos Technologies is developing a hybrid-powered offroad motorbike for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Wade Pulliam, the company’s manager of advanced concepts, stated in an email.
The company received a small business innovation research grant earlier this year to design the bike and expects that DARPA will approve further funding to make a prototype, he said. The vehicle will be lighter and easier to handle than the Kawasaki M1030M1 currently in use.
“It is capable of near-silent operation as well as extended range,” he said. “We believe the bike can easily maintain a range of 100 miles between refuels … sufficient to satisfy an existing military capability gap.”
The motorbike can run on multiple fuels, including JP-8, gasoline or diesel. Logos expects that it will improve on the M1030M1’s fuel efficiency by at least 10 percent, Pulliam said. Its battery can also be used as an auxiliary power supply.
To develop the vehicle, Logos partnered with BRD Motorcycles, which designed a militarized version of its RedShift MX electric motocross bike. It will be powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system that Logos developed for an unmanned aerial vehicle, Pulliam said.
The biggest challenge for the team is integrating the vehicle with the propulsion system.
“What we’re doing is putting [a] multi-fuel hybrid-electric power system on an all-wheel drive motorcycle, something that hasn’t been done before. There is significantly less real estate available on the motorcycle, so finding space for all of the systems that must be added is much more difficult than on a car,” he said.
“Additionally, maintaining the balance of the motorcycle is critical if the system is to operate effectively in off-road missions — further constraining the integration effort,” he added. Front-to-back balance is especially important for the rider “to maintain complete control in complex terrain while driving aggressively.”