Future motorcycles could run on all types of fuels, including electricity, after US government defense contracts have yielded two prototype hybrid motorcycles. The motorcycles are the Logos Silent Hawk and LSA Autonomy Nightmare, whose engines can run on either electricity or compression ignition, which means they can be fueled by petrol, jet fuel, propane, diesel or any other fuels, including regular cooking oil.
At the flick of a switch they can also run in a quiet ‘stealth’ mode on electric power a bit like hybrid cars do.
Just as military advances over the years have led to civilian use, 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 the 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 motorcycles feature an internal combustion engine as well as an electric motor powered by a lithium battery. No details of range or power have been given.
However, they have both avoided the concerns about lithium batteries exploding by making them higher density with active cooling. This is another innovation that could find its way into future electric motorcycles.
American forces currently use a Kawasaki KLX650 which is converted to run either diesel or J8 (jet fuel). See The Kawasaki KLX650 Diesel or M103M1.