Australian Defence Force Considering All-Electric Fleet Transition: Report

In the YouTube video, Australian defense force rode Sur Ron's Light Bee X bikes with a 100km range

The Australian government has recently commenced discussions with industry stakeholders. These talks concern the transition of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) vehicle fleet to electric models.

The Defence Connect website reported that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles, Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy and MP Dan Repacholi held discussions this week. The aim was to engage with industry representatives and explore the potential adoption of electric vehicles.

Minister Marles told Defence Connect:

The electrification of our vehicles is critically important; this is the way in which vehicles are going to operate into the future.

There’s a lot more versatility that comes from being able to have electric vehicles. But as the broader economy decarbonise, we’re seeing that within the defence industry.

Source: YouTube/ Australian Army

In 2019, the Australian Army Research Centre proposed the advantages of integrating hybrid and electric vehicles. Moreover, in 2022, the Army released a video titled “Electrification of the Battlefield,” illustrating the benefits of employing nearly noiseless battery-powered vehicles among special forces.

Apart from an electric buggy, operators rode Light Bee X electric trail bikes from the Canadian manufacturer Sur Ron, claiming a range of around 100km.

In the past, the Army exhibited the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment utilizing Stealth E electric bicycles.

In late 2022, the Army introduced an electric armored Bushmaster personnel carrier truck. They assessed the prototype in simulated medical emergencies conducted by the Royal Australian Regiment.

In 2022, the Australian Army introduced an electric armored Bushmaster personnel carrier truck (Source: Australian Defence Ministry)
(Source: Australian Defence Ministry)

Minister Marles added:

The challenge of doing this in a defence context, is to make sure that they are sustainable, they have durability, but robust in a conflict environment. And that’s what’s being developed here and what is so impressive about this technology.

We’ve got one prototype Bushmaster, which is electrified now. And that speaks to the possibility of how we can do this going forward.

Diesel remains the primary fuel source for the ADF’s fleet. However, the Army retains petrol-driven Suzuki DRZ motorcycles, necessitating supply divisions to manage two fuel types.

Transitioning to an entirely electric fleet would reduce the need for transporting volatile fuels. Nevertheless, diesel would probably remain essential for generators.

Exploring the process of transitioning to an electric fleet is critical. It highlights the importance of the ongoing research conducted in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Group within Defence.