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The Military Transportation

DARPA Develops Stealth Motorcycle For US Special Forces 93

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Allen McDuffee reports that 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. Logos Technologies 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 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."
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DARPA Develops Stealth Motorcycle For US Special Forces

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  • Efficiency (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @05:57AM (#46847061) Homepage
    The focus on the electric element suggests that DARPA is more concerned with the stealthiness of the motorcycle than it is efficiency

    Wha? Electric motors are way more efficient than IC engines (90%+ vs. 25%), so having an electric drive makes this more efficient. Stealthiness also follows from efficiency - sound is energy, so a lot of sound is an indication of an unnecessary waste of energy.
  • Hm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @06:07AM (#46847081) Homepage Journal

    Not very stealthy against a fishing line on the ground, anyway.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @06:59AM (#46847163)
    I ride down a hill every day coming home from work. I pull the clutch and coast out of gear. I've passed within 10 feet of pedestrians before they notice me. ~35 mph, no noticable chain noise. The loudest thing to me is the wind noise, but I'm on it, so I don't expect that I'm hearing what a pedestrian would hear.

    The tire noise is elevated when cornering (smooth tread when upright, deepening tread when leaned over, close to silent going straight, but I can hear it when I lean into a corner). And yes, the idling engine is still one of the noisiest parts of the bike. The only time I hear the chain is when it's long overdue for an adjustment. A chain, in practice, is as quiet as a shaft or belt. Not like a bicycle.

    Based on your comments, I presume you ride a bicycle and are guessing. Well, that and you don't maintain your own bike (because you are incompetent/lazy), and aren't very good at riding it. When I was riding 100+ miles a week, I maintained my own bicycle, and I'd adjust the chain/shifters daily. There was not much noise from the chain. That only happens with cheap chains, worn gears, and poor shifters. And that points to a lazy and ignorant owner.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @07:35AM (#46847209) Journal
    A serial hybrid motorcycle could be very efficient. A simple 4 or 5 HP gas engine tuned for efficiency turning a generator to charge medium sized battery. A pure electric drive train, motor probably built into the hub of the rear wheel eliminating drive chains/shaft. Some over night charging off the grid. Pure electric range probably not much. This configuration can be optimized for fuel efficiency.

    But the higher cost of such a vehicle cuts into possible savings due to fuel efficiency. Places where fuel costs are high, say India, capital to buy more expensive motorcycles is scarce. Still I expect this configuration come out of China, India, and other scooter/ motorcycle/ moped dominated markets of South Asia. Not DARPA.

    I heard about an innovative financing of solar panels for such capital scarce regions. Instead of trying to sell the panels to the customers, they try to rent it or sell only the electricity to the customers. So people look at it as so many nyra/rupee/dinar per month instead of total cost to buy it out right. It was an NPR report from couple of years ago. Not much news about it since. So it must have died soon after the report.

    It is so illogical and insane it is so frustrating. The world capital markets are sloshing around with some 2 or 3 trillion dollars in cash. They don't find opportunities worth investing. At the same time converting free solar energy into usable form of electricity is deemed unviable because the capital costs are high. The only cost for solar and wind energy is the amortization and debt service. There is no more recurring expenses like buying coal or natural gas.

    If you believe in free markets, Adam Smith and invisible hand of the markets, at least a few billion dollars will flow from these capital market to projects of solar energy and efficient hybrid motor cycles and pure electric mopeds. But the pundits of Wall Street keep saying the investment is not worth it. Mostly people are comparing the average cost of electricity production by solar with that of natural gas or coal. But Solar energy production peak comes close to peak electricity demand and peak spot price of electricity. Still it is not worth it?

    May be if we link the western grid with the eastern grid and couple peak demand of eastern seaboard demand at 4 to 6 pm with peak production in Arizona may be it would become more profitable? Don't know.

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @08:25AM (#46847283)

    The Saltville PD in SW Virginia has just started using a fully electric motorcycle to patrol areas where miscreants are likely to hear traditional vehicles approaching, in order to better apprehend them.

    Saltville PD running electric motorcycle [swvatoday.com]

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