The new line of 2013 Zero Motorcycles was accompanied by a press release touting the military’s involvement with the development of this unique electric vehicle.
According to Zero, they “made the decision 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.” It should come as no surprise that military big bucks helped in the development of the electric vehicle technology found in the Zero FX electric motorcycle.
Today, what some civilians would consider everyday technology really had its roots in military applications. Consider the Global Positioning System, which is toned down for civilian use to be accurate within 7m, but for the military is accurate to within a few centimeters. Electric vehicles for civilians could probably stand to benefit from the deep pockets of the US defense [offense?] budget in the same way.
Put another way, the US military could stand to benefit from developing electric vehicles for a couple of reasons. First, electric vehicles can be charged instead of fueled, reducing dependence on petroleum-based fuels. Second, electric vehicles are nearly silent, which could be useful in the situations the US military keeps putting itself in.
We all know that necessity is the mother of invention, and armed conflict is probably the father. Personally, I would rather see the US cut the defense budget and reroute some of that capital for the peaceful development of alternative fuels, including electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure. Surely they wouldn’t miss a few billion of their $680 billion annual budget, would they?