The military in the UK is testing Sur Ron’s electric motorcycle. Currently being performed by the UK’s 16 Air Assault Brigade, the electric motorcycle has multiple tactical advantages. They are well suited for rugged off-road driving and do not make sounds, unlike gas-powered motorcycles.
Motorcyclist Laura Thomson was in the location where the vehicles were being tested. She shared her experience saying, “The area is abuzz with activity as military vehicles move troops in anticipation of an attack.” Further added, “Just as I wonder what I’ve got myself into, the side of a truck is thrown open and a pair of electric motorcycles – still in civvy spec – peer out, a stark juxtaposition against the rest of the fossil-fuelled fleet. These are Sur-Ron Light Bees, and for the first time in more than a decade, the British Army is experimenting with two wheels.”
She recollects the time during wartime when Royal Enfield was introduced as “Flying Flea”. Enfield was used as a means for airborne and assault troops to transmit messages into occupied Europe. Then adds that the test of Sun-Ron is a brainchild of Captain Dan Lauder, who is responsible for delivering operational capability to 16 Air Assault Brigade. The vehicle is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack and gives 60 miles for a 3.5-hour charge. With a price of £4495, the Sun-Ron has a 6kW compact motor.
Lauder says, “The experiment aims to understand two things. How we could employ bikes tactically (and what advantages do they offer over other vehicles) and what are the implications for supplying them with power and interacting with other in-service vehicles.” The specific application that is needed is air portability. Being a small vehicle it can be easily carried at the back of the helicopter. So “potentially you’d be able to drop it from the back of a plane under a parachute.”
The announcement to try the Sun-Ron comes after two months of the announcement from Assistant Head Plans for Ground Manoeuvre Capability saying they are going to electrify the battlefield. Over a period of 15 years, Colonel Simon Ridgway OBE stated that the battlefield will be having all-electric vehicles. The advantages of using electric motorcycles were highlighted by Lauder. Saying they don’t make much noise or thermal signature. They could be effectively used for communications to pass messages. With around 6 kW (8 hp) of peak power, the bikes reach top speeds of around 40-45 mph (65-72 km/h). They’re built with long-travel suspension and trail tires that make them well-suited for rugged off-road riding.