Have you seen the e-bikes and hybrid motorcycles in which defense powers are increasingly investing?

We may not utilize bikes and ebikes in the U.S. as often as other countries, but that doesn’t mean defense contractors and other manufacturers aren’t exploring this unique form of transport.

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There are a lot of good reasons to start paying more attention as new materials and electronic capabilities are giving rise to what many are calling the super e-bike.

While electric bikes are hardly new, a new era of lightweight, ultra stealthy, and high efficient e-bikes and motorcycles have been made possible through hybrid electric technology and improved fuel cells.

A Defense Built Bike That’s A Class All Its Own
The Trefecta Mobility international engineering team has made the most of the latter with their Trefecta DRT; an ultra high tech e-bike that’s been built to military specifications but may end up being one of the most powerful light transport options for civilians.

Somewhere between a traditional battery assisted electric bike and a full motorcycle, the Trefect DRT has been described as a class of transportation all its own.

Credit: Susan Kerin

Although it was built from the ground up with military ruggedness in mind—which is not surprising considering its $25,000 price tag—the Trefecta DRT probably won’t be used for combat missions but will likely serve as peacekeeping operations transport.

A Rugged Motorcycle Without The Roar
If you’re looking for something more defense-oriented, then the SilentHawk may be a better bet. Built for DARPA by Logo Technologies of Virginia, the hybrid electric motorcycle isn’t for riders who enjoy a fierce roar.

Instead, the fittingly named SilentHawk is a stealth cycle, designed to run nearly silent and on electric, gas, or JP-8. DARPA is now betting that the Marines, Army and Special Forces will be ready to buy the SilentHawk and has recently decided to move it past the prototype phase.


Going Lighter, Stealthier, And Green
Among the key reasons for using ebikes and motorcycles in defense applications lies with their versatility and ability to navigate rough terrain and unpredictable routes. The military has plenty of reasons to go green that have little to do with the eco concerns.

Fuel expenses during operations in Afganistan have been infamously expensive, even as crude prices have remained low for months. Electric and hybrid bikes aren’t the first defense vehicles to rely on fuel cells in addition to gas tanks, and they certainly won’t be the last.

What are you eager to see from e-bike and hybrid motorcycle manufacturers? Do you think DARPA and other organizations will have need for additional military specific light transport like this?

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