Future motorcycles could run on all types of fuels, including electricity, after US government defence contracts have yielded two prototype hybrid motorcycles.
The bikes are the Logos Silent Hawk and LSA Autonomy Nightmare whose engines can run on either spark or compression ignition, which means they can be fuelled by petrol, jet fuel, propane, diesel or any other fuels, including olive oil.
At the flick of a switch they can also run in a quiet “stealth” mode on electric power a bit like a Toyota Prius.
Just as military advances over the years have led to civilian use (think atomic bomb and nuclear power), these motorcycles could point the way to the future.
They are the result of a competition started in 2014 by the US Pentagon’s future research wing, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The agency has funded the development of many technologies which have filtered through to the civilian world. Some even claim that DARPA was instrumental in developing the internet. it also helped develop the first hypertext system, an important precursor to the contemporary ubiquitous graphical user interface.
The Logos Silent Hawk and LSA Autonomy Nightmare are the two finalists for a special forces-spec motorcycle, hence their “stealth” mode.
The hybrid bikes feature an internal combustion engine (ICE) as well as an electric motor powered by a lithium battery. Unlike the Chevrolet Volt which features a small ICE to charge the battery, these bikes can run on either electric or ICE power.
No details of range or power have been supplied.
However, they have both avoided concerns about lithium batteries exploding by making them higher density with active cooling. This is another innovation that could find its way into coming electric motorcycles.
The two DARPA competition finalist bikes are on display at the National Defense Industrial Association’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida.