US special forces eye electric motorcycles for combat missions

One of the aspects of U.S. Special Operations Forces which can make or break a mission is the ability to get in and out of a hot zone quietly.

Having electric vehicles which move nearly silently and rapidly over hostile terrain with a minimal heat signature is one way to do this, and is something electric motorcycle company Zero Motorcycles believes it offers in its new Zero MMX.

The 2013 Zero MMX military motorcycle, according to Zero Motorcycles, was developed under military contract and is currently in use by the U.S. military in what’s described as “full operational testing.” It is built off of the company’s 2013 MX platform, said to be very tough and lightweight, and is propelled by the Z-Force motor. This motor offers up 54 hp and 68 ft-lbs of torque.

image via Zero Motorcycles

The electric motorcycles integrate a modular power pack system available in one or two battery configurations which can quickly be swapped out. Charge times reportedly can be cut down to around an hour using a scalable, quick-charge accessory system or with the CHAdeMO accessory, and when rolling off the throttle, riders can make use of regenerative braking to both modulate speed and extend ride times.

Other key features of this electric motorcycles for the U.S. military include performance characteristics which can be adjusted via Bluetooth when tied to a special mobile app, keyless ignition, wet operational abilities up to one meter in water depth, a switchable headlight and safety override and reserve power capabilities.

For consumers wanting a bit of the military motorcycle action, Zero Motorcycles official Abe Askenazi said the company plans to “incorporate into our 2013 MX, FX and XU retail motorcycles virtually all of the powertrain enhancements associated with satisfying this project’s stringent military requirements.”

Zero is not new to offering up its motorcycles for specialized uses outside of the consumer segment. They are available, for example, for police and private security as well.

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling