Bak Motors & the NATO


Translated from Hungarian

A year ago, we wrote that BAK Motors, the developer of the Kincsem luxury sports car, acquired American defense industry developments. The Ministry of National Defense and the ELI-ALPS Research Institute in Szeged are now involved in the development of the futuristic technology used for hydrogen propulsion. Together with Tibor Bak, the owner-manager of the company, he told vzössö.hu about the program raised to the level of NATO.

How did the Ministry of Defense come into the picture in relation to a basically automotive development? Did they observe the work of Bak Motors and at some point was asked to get involved, or did you offer the unusual technology?

After McLaren Applied’s announcement, it was approached by an officer from the Canadian Ministry of Defense whose job it is to detect industrial technologies that can be used by the military. It was evaluated that the concept of the Kincsem drive chain is the only one from the zero carbon emission sector that can meet the military requirements.

Together, we prepared a preliminary study for a Canadian mechanized brigade, which turned out to be so promising that they expressed their intention to raise it to NATO level.

At a NATO innovation conference, this Canadian officer raised this topic with several actors. The Deputy President of NATO DIANA is a Hungarian Brigadier General who was open to examining the case study.

Thus, the next meeting was already in Budapest, and a common thinking began as to how this subversive technology, which we want to integrate into the development of NATO’s defense capabilities, can be developed in such a way that, with Hungary’s involvement, we can present the country’s capacity as an innovative accelerator.

What exactly can the technology you have acquired do?

We create seven special layers on the foil using a nanolithographic process, on which magnesium hydride absorbs hydrogen atoms during absorption at atmospheric pressure. A chemical bond is created between the hydrogen and the magnesium isotope, after which it does not need to be stored under pressure. A significant logistical advantage can be achieved in terms of storage and transport. The nanofilm is rolled up in the canister, when the system is activated, the hydrogen atoms on the film are unbonded with the help of a laser scanner, so the hydrogen is released and directed into the engine through a mini buffer tank.

This system, coupled with the internal combustion hydrogen hybrid engine, can meet military requirements not only at the tactical level, but also create operational and strategic advantages.

In future conflict zones such as the Arctic or Africa, current logistics methods are not sustainable. For example, in the case of a brigade, 35 percent of its total logistics workload is fuel and 51 percent is water.

With the hydrogen system, 7-8 liters of water can be released from every 1 kilogram of hydrogen stored through the engine. If we make it drinkable during the technical development, not only will the thermal image of the combat vehicle decrease and become less noticeable, but drinking water will also be produced for the soldiers. This reduces the logistical burden to such an extent that the brigade can achieve extreme operational tempo (OPTEMPO).

And in the hinterland, we do not produce and store energy on a critical infrastructure, but we can make it decentralized, since such hydrogen production and storage capacity can be installed next to every wind and solar power island.

Quoting General Eisenhower, we know the thesis that wars are won or lost primarily because of logistics. So our technology can bring advantages to the army at both strategic, operational and tactical levels. And the development is completely in sync with priority number 1 of NATO’s innovation strategy, which is energy resilience.

Ultimately, we are still talking about the invention of an American defense industry company. Didn’t Plasma Kinetics or the American government put obstacles in front of the fact that this will now be studied in depth by the relevant organizations of the Hungarian Defense Forces and even by a civilian research center?

On the contrary. Plasma Kinetics was impressed by the fact that there will be a NATO DIANA test center (Zalazone) in Hungary and that the ELI-ALPS Research Institute in Szeged, built with 300 million euros, has a world-class development infrastructure.

Plasma Kinetics has confirmed its partnership intention, obviously the Pentagon’s consent is required for the final contracts, but the Hungarian Defense Forces have a very strong esteem and reputation there. Thus, a Hungarian-American-British defense industrial development cooperation is taking shape, which can only be supported at sea from here and beyond.

According to them, Bak Motors will bring hydrogen technology to the cooperation, but what will the national defense and the laser center add to all this, what will be the direction of joint development?

The Defense Innovation Research Institute of the Ministry of National Defense plays a coordinating role, preparing the project to become suitable for success in the NATO DIANA program. To do this, it organizes the country’s resources, research partners, civil sector partners due to the use of dual-purpose technology, NATO-compatible test and simulation conditions and the laser center.

A significant part of the technology is the laser system that releases hydrogen molecules, the requirements of which in the current prototype phase can only be fulfilled by a very expensive, special military laser, so it is necessary to develop a laser that can be produced cost-effectively in series production.

I think the latter will be the task of the laser center in Szeged…

Among other things, this is included in the plans.

Who gains what from this collaboration? Will the Kincsem project receive a working, tried-and-tested technology for production, and the Honvédség a new, green drive technology for future vehicle developments?

Our technology can also make other sectors stronger. Hypercar developers are often asked about what they do for society, and they usually struggle to articulate the answer. In our case, the fact that we have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the defense capability of our country and our allies is a huge thing and an opportunity. With the involvement of officers and companies from several countries at the NATO level, the Hungarian Defense Forces can demonstrate the defense industry accelerator potential built up in Hungary, which is truly amazing.

The current development can provide answers to future challenges for which there is currently no solution, and if the development is successful, these solutions will be created in Hungary within NATO, which will further raise our reputation within the alliance and increase the chances of success in future conflicts.

Last but not least, when can we go to Goodwood to see the first Kincsem hypercar on the asphalt, where are the developments now?

We are making good progress in the digital space and will soon start building static prototypes. We will present it at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July 2024.

What is also sensational is that the Goodwood management allowed us to raise the Hungarian flag next to the car, and prospective buyers and Hungarian citizens will have the opportunity to see the Kincsem statue displayed in the castle.

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