Ebikes, or electric bicycles, have a lot going for them. They have a battery powered motor that drives them along. They are quiet, almost noiseless compared to a motorcycle. If, unlike a conventional road legal ebike, speed is unrestricted, and motor size and power is unlimited, then they can be fast, and carry a heavy load. A soldier on an ebike, can carry a great deal more of additional weight than he could do so alone. This weight can be distributed evenly over the ebike rather than the soldier having to struggle with a heavy backpack. It is no wonder that the military in many countries around the world, see the ebike as a great asset to be able to deploy in the field.
Ebikes and the Military
Modern warfare is not all about tanks, ships, and aircraft. Conflicts occasionally arise and decline between different nations all over the world. Much of these are minor, but unfortunately some are not, so most countries in the world have some sort of military or defence forces they can employ in times of such conflict. These forces are tasked to defend a country and its people in the best way they can, and they do this with a variety of equipment, much of which is developed for use in specific roles.
Clandestine reconnaissance, and infiltrating enemy positions, for the purposes of intelligence gathering, and possibly sabotaging vital essential assets of the enemy, like communication links, or air-defence positions, are undertakings that most armies would like to employ in times of conflict. Action like that can reduce the effectiveness of the enemy and lead to less casualties in the event a conflict escalates into a full war-time battle.
The trouble with getting behind enemy lines undetected, though, is that it’s never easy. Employing soldiers to travel on foot may be noiseless and wise, but a soldier on foot can only carry so much, and travel so far. Sound travels at night, so noisy motorized vehicles or motorcycles are out. This is where the quiet and stealthy ebike comes in.
The Silent and Deadly Ebike
Highly trained special forces troops can easily carry a plethora of equipment, undetected, behind enemy lines. They would do so in high powered ebikes, carrying equipment impossible to deploy on foot because of weight or bulk. Equipment such as surveillance cameras for monitoring enemy activity, or explosives for demolishing supply line infrastructure like bridges, or communication towers. Just knowing where the enemy is deployed and what their equipment and numbers are can be a major advantage.
On a high powered ebike, ingress would be silent, and these ebikes have tires and power to traverse over the most difficult of terrains. It is no surprise that many military organizations of the world are already developing and using ebikes. Many others are showing more than just a passing interest in employing them in their own military.
Combat Ebikes are in Demand
“E-bikes tailored for war are on show at the Defence and Security Exhibition International arms fair in London – and machines have already been sold to nations including Denmark and the UAE.” [source]
One of the ebikes shown at the Arms Fair above, was the Jeep/QuietKat Ebike. This particular ebike is kitted out with a rifle holder on the handlebars, and a portable solar panel to charge the battery when on operations. It has five-inch tires and a one-thousand-watt motor giving a range of almost 60 miles.
As well as the US military, countries such as Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, and some NATO members have already purchased ebikes from several manufacturers. New Zealand and Australian forces are trialling ebikes for deployment also.
See also: Are Ebikes Dangerous?
And: Why You Should Buy an Ebike
Will the Military Development of Ebikes Benefit Consumers?
Military spending, especially in the larger countries of the world, tends to be a huge amount of money. Spending a proportion of this budget on the research and development of ebikes, to produce a finished product suitable to equip a country’s special forces with, is bound to have an eventual positive knock-on effect for the consumer.
Armies tend to want the best, most up-to-date technology available. And if what is available at the moment doesn’t make the grade, they will spend money developing something that will. These new positive developments will eventually filter down to what the average consumer can buy at the local electric bicycle shop.
The military always want more – more power, more range, more capability. This could mean a cash boost for the development of better batteries that may result in lighter battery packs giving more power. It may result in the development of more efficient motors that will work harder for less input of power from the battery pack. There are a whole range of ways military spending on ebikes could ultimately benefit the consumer as any newly developed technology will eventually hit the market.
Yes, the Military Use Ebikes, and More Countries are Looking at Ebikes for their Defence Forces
Whatever your view on the military and whatever equipment they develop and use, the military interest in ebikes is probably indirectly a good thing for the average civilian ebike consumer. Military developments eventually lead to new technology and this new technology will sooner or later be available for all.
In a few years’ time, the more efficient greater range ebike you buy may be down to the fact that it was developed first for military use. As ebike development continues, and ebike demand by consumers continues to rise year on year, the future looks good for the ebike.
Acknowledgement: Above photo and the featured photo curtesy CPL Nicole Dorrett, Australian Gov, DoD.
02 Dec 2021