This Diesel-Powered Scooter Packs More Utility Than a Swiss Army Knife

If I started telling you about a new all-wheel-drive, turbodiesel-powered off-roader, you'd probably think I was talking about a 4x4 truck or SUV, right? Wrong. Check out the RNT, a concept from Indian motorcycle company Hero that could be the only back-country survival tool a motorcycle adventurer would ever need.

The scooter's rear wheel is powered by a 150cc turbodiesel engine, while the front wheel spins on an electric motor—that's right, it's an all-wheel-drive hybrid. The diesel engine doubles as an electric generator for camping or off-the-grid work sites, and the LED headlight detaches to become a flashlight. And with package shelves in front of the handlebars, behind the seat, and on either side of the rear wheel, the RNT promises to carry more cargo than any two-wheeler has a right to.

Why such a burly machine? India is a nation that gets around mainly on two wheels, so a workhorse like the RNT, with two-wheel-drive traction for rough terrain and a fuel-efficient diesel engine that can supply electricity when it's not plying the roads makes perfect sense. And the all wheel drive bit is just plain cool; the only other two-wheel-drive motorcycles out there are either poky backwoods tractors or oddball freak machines.

Hero's promotional video shows just how utilitarian they wanted the RNT to be. There's no gleaming showrooms or slick lighting here; this baby's meant to be a motorized mule.

Hero Motors isn't saying how much the RNT would cost, or when it might go into production. Anyway, it's probably not coming to the U.S. We generally like our bikes big, fast, and stylish, not slow and practical.

Still, only a scant handful of companies have ever tried making a diesel motorcycle; fewer have experimented with all-wheel-drive. Put the two together, and add all the other utility features, and you get an utterly unique little motorcycle that seems like it could do just about anything. [Hero Motors via Wired]