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Hybrid Off-Road Motorcycle


This topic is eligible for the DARPA Direct to Phase II Pilot Program. Please see section 7.0 of the DARPA instructions for additional information. To be eligible, you must submit documentation which demonstrates Phase I feasibility (as described in PHASE I below). Offerors must choose between submitting a Phase I proposal OR a Direct to Phase II proposal, and may not submit both for the same topic. OBJECTIVE: Develop the required technologies and demonstrate a lightweight two-wheel drive (2WD) hybrid-electric off-road motorcycle for combat troop use powered by heavy fuels, capable of short periods electric-only propulsion, and usable as a portable electric power source for soldiers in the field. DESCRIPTION: This topic is based on four principal motivating factors: (1) Mobility for deployed forces is enhanced by reducing the logistical support requirements for volatile fuels (e.g., gasoline) and utilization of readily-available heavy fuels (e.g., diesel, JP-8) for vehicles and electrical power generation and by reducing the need to carry batteries for electric/electronic equipment. (2) Mobility through harsh unimproved terrain is difficult due to soft soils, narrow, and steep trails. A lightweight approach to effective two-wheel drive in motorcycles is highly desirable. (3) A rapid and stealthy approach toward enemy combatants enhances the element of surprise, but the vehicles used for rapid mobility are generally compromised by vehicular noise. (4) A desire to improve vehicular fuel efficiency. Technologies relevant to this SBIR are being pursued for a variety of mobility applications. Higher power density diesel engines are being developed for aviation, although these tend to be of a larger capacity than desired for motorcycles. While smaller than aviation diesels, auto diesels are typically twice the weight of their equivalent gasoline-fueled counterparts. The US Military had purchased the Hayes M1030M1 diesel-powered motorcycle, but that vehicle is no longer in production. The Dutch EVA Trac T800 is the only heavy-fuel motorcycle currently on the market and it is designed around a purpose-built diesel engine. Heavy fuel fed reformers and fuel cells have been used for stationary power applications. They are starting to see limited market penetration in larger mobility applications. The DARPA Vulture program for example is pursuing fuel cells with an energy density suitable for aircraft applications. Turbines have been used for their heavy fuel capability by a variety of platforms, ranging from tanks to missiles. Unfortunately, they often suffer from comparatively high fuel consumption and noise suppression challenges. Hybrid-electric power has penetrated a wide variety of mobility markets ranging from construction equipment and busses to personal automobiles. Following over 15 years of exploratory work by universities, small start-ups, and major motorcycle companies, hybrid motorcycles are on the verge of reaching the marketplace. A variety of hybrid concepts have appeared at shows including Yamaha"s Gen-Ryu and HV-X, and the Schneider-OCC hybrid electric chopper. The Piaggio MP3 Hybrid 300ie three wheeled scooter reached the market in 2010. These examples, those that have tried and failed, as well as those that are currently under development have been for on-road applications, which can more easily tolerate greater weights. They have also relied on gasoline (Otto-cycle)/generator pairs or in a few instances, hydrogen fuel-cells. All-wheel drive or two-wheel drive motorcycles have been experimented with for nearly a century and have experienced limited commercial success. The long-term American product is the small Rokon Ranger with a mechanically driven front wheel. Newer to the market is Christini Corp"s AWD 450. Other current developments include the hydraulically driven Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac, and KTM"s recent patent for an electric front wheel drive. While the various pieces of interest exist in isolation, nobody has successfully combined heavy fuel capability, 2WD, and hybrid powertrains into a useful off-road motorcycle. This is a very challenging component and system design problem. This SBIR proposes to address the challenge through the innovative application of technology to develop a motorcycle capable of improving support for soldiers operating in remote and harsh environments. Desired characteristics of the vehicle include: Silent electric only mode and low noise (<75 dB) during normal operation Production of supplemental power, e.g., for battery charging Two-wheel-drive in support of extreme terrain operations Heavy fuel compatibility>10% improvement in load-specific fuel consumption as compared to existing fielded motorcycles PHASE I: Develop a preliminary design for the hybrid motorcycle, establish and validate performance goals, and develop a detailed analysis of expected performance. Benchmark expected performance against extant non-hybrid systems. Demonstrate key elements of the hybrid propulsion and energy generation system, such as the engine, generator/alternator, motor, and power control. Deliver a report documenting PHASE I accomplishments. DIRECT TO PHASE II - Offerors interested in submitting a Direct to PHASE II proposal in response to this topic must provide documentation to substantiate that the scientific and technical merit and feasibility described in the PHASE I section of this topic has been met and describes the potential commercial applications. Documentation should include all relevant information including, but not limited to: technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results. Read and follow Section 7.0 of the DARPA Instructions. PHASE II: Further develop the concepts resulting from PHASE I into a complete, detailed, executable design that also addresses operational suitability, safety, manufacturability, maintainability, and operational durability. Produce a prototype motorcycle based on the developed design. Demonstrate the vehicle in operationally representative environments to verify and validate all functions and limitations of the design. Prior to conducting human factors testing, develop and obtain approval for a human use plan. PHASE II deliverables include an operational prototype vehicle and a PHASE II report. PHASE III: The military could be expected to use this vehicle to replace motorcycles such as the M1030M1 currently in service. Marine and Special Forces users will be particularly interested in enhanced mobility and silent running capabilities. Production versions of the resultant hybrid motorcycle would be expected to be purchased by Army and Marine units. Based on public interest in diesel and electric motorcycles, a substantial commercial market is anticipated.

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