Has Brammo made the best E-bike yet with the ‘Empulse’?

RTWW is a fan of electric bikes.  It’s only fitting that motorcycles are the future of personal transport when set against gas guzzling cars and the gridlock they cause.  While there have been many concept machines and some very good e-bikes from the likes of Zero Motorcycles, it seems as if everyone specialised at certain areas but bringing them all together was a problem.  Where a bike had performance it lacked range and vise versa.

However it would seem Brammo’s new ‘Empulse’ has managed to address these problems and have created a great bike that covers all the bases.  With performance relative to a regular 600cc sports bike, and 100+ miles within its reach this could be a game changer.  Three models are to be released varying in their travelling range from 60 miles to 100.  Best of all is the price which if they keep it at the suggested $9,995 for the lowest of the three proposed models, with $13,995 topping out the range the Empulse could be a very big, very affordable hit.

Below is a video advertising the Empluse accompanied by the official press release from Brammo.

The Brammo Official Press Release

Brammo announces the Empulse – a trio of 100+mph electric motorcycles, including one model that can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge. Prices start at $9995.
Ashland, Oregon – July 15th, 2010. Brammo, Inc. announced today it will begin production of an electric sportbike, calling it the “Empulse.” Brammo demonstrated a pre-production prototype today and all three production models of the Empulse will be capable of sustaining 100 mph. The three models will have different battery capacities, all utilizing an innovative proprietary array, the Brammo Power™ battery and vehicle management system. The Empulse is available for immediate order and deliveries will commence in 2011.
Craig Bramscher, Founder and CEO of Brammo said “motorcycle riders have been requesting increased speed and range and I am proud and delighted to reveal these game changing Brammo electric motorcycles. Our customers expect Brammo to design and produce the world’s most exciting (and affordable) electric motorcycles and that’s exactly what we have done.” Bramscher continued, “Today’s announcement promises no more range anxiety for Brammo customers.”

The Empulse Trio
All three models of the Empulse will be freeway capable and will enjoy a top speed in excess of 100mph. Each of the three models will offer customers a different average range from a single charge. The Empulse 6.0 is capable of 60 miles average range, the Empulse 8.0 is capable of 80 miles average range and the top of the line Empulse 10.0 is capable of a travelling 100 miles on a single charge. Range of all three models can be extended by travelling at lower speeds.
The estimated MSRP for the Empulse trio when deliveries start next year are; Empulse 6.0 $9,995, Empulse 8.0 $11,995 and Empluse 10.0 $13,995. All three models will be eligible for Federal and State tax incentives. For example, the Empulse 10.0 may cost as little as $7,000 in certain states after Federal and State incentives.

Empulse Technology
Today’s announcement sees the first application of Brammo’s innovative Brammo Digital Drivetrain™ including the Brammo Power™ battery pack and Brammo Power™ vehicle management system. Brammo’s breakthrough in price/energy density is at the heart of today’s announcement and is unequalled in the electric vehicle industry. The Empulse is also the world’s first production electric motorcycle to have a water cooled motor.
Brian Wismann, Director of Product Development at Brammo and designer of the Empulse said,
“The Empulse reveals the significant price performance that we can deliver using Brammo Power™ technology. Just like it did with the Enertia Powercycle, Brammo has again raised the bar in terms of electrical drivetrain innovation and time to market.”

Empulse Availability
Customers can place their order for an Empulse by visiting the Brammo website http://www.brammo.com . Deliveries are expected to commence in mid-2011 and orders will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Customers placing an order will be expected to place a refundable deposit once their Empulse is within 90 days of delivery. The Brammo range of motorcycles will be available globally through select motorcycle dealerships and participating Best Buy stores during 2011.

Brammo Distribution
Brammo is expanding its dealership network both within the USA and in Europe and Asia. Organizations interested in selling and servicing the Brammo range of motorcycles, which includes the award winning Enertia, can register their interest by visiting http://www.brammo.com/dealerapplication
Adrian Stewart, director of Sales and Marketing at Brammo said “We are always looking for individuals and organizations that want to enter into a long term business partnership with Brammo to sell and service our range of electric vehicles. JCAM, our distributor and dealer in Hong Kong and Singapore is an excellent example of such an organization. ”
Forged in the Heat of Competition
Brammo Power™ technology employed in the Empulse is race proven in the Brammo Empulse RR race bike. You can see the Empulse RR in action at the 2010 Red Bull Grand Prix, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Brammo will race the Empulse RR in the FIM e-Power series which will see 15 electric motorcycle teams from around the world compete on this demanding circuit.
Meet the Empulse
Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher will be unveiling the Empulse at the 2010 Red Bull Grand Prix at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, 11.15am, Saturday July 24th 2010.
Later this year the Empulse will be at EICMA Milan, Italy and at the Macau Grand Prix, China.

About Brammo
Brammo Inc is a leading electric vehicle technology company headquartered in North America. Brammo designs and develops electric vehicles including the award winning Brammo Enertia motorcycle. Brammo is an OEM supplier of it’s innovative Brammo Digital Drivetrain™ systems including the Brammo Power™ battery pack and Brammo Power™ vehicle management system. Brammo has vehicle distribution and marketing operations in North America, Europe and Asia.

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MotoCzysz E1pc Wins Zero Emissions Race at the 2010 Isle of Man TT

Rider Mark Millar on the MotoCzysz E1pc has won the  Zero Emissions Race at the 2010 Isle of Man TT.  A much improved result on last years failure to finish by the electric bike and a dazzling performance, and advance, in the general field of E-bikes.

While it is taking time to pull together all the working elements electric bikes are becoming more and more viable as an alternative to the gas guzzling machines we all love.  Handling and speed as demonstrated by the MotoCzysz E1pc during one of the most trying road races in the world seem to be on par with regular sports bikes now, and is testament to the skills of Millar being at one with his ride.  Range is still the crippling factor for E-bikes and that’s something that can only be solved by better battery technology, which is getting there, but not keeping pace with the rest of the motorcycle technology on show.

Below is a video of the Mark Millar’s press conference after his well deserved win and further below is a more in-depth look at the MotoCzysz E1pc as featured in an article earlier this week from Hell For Leather and Popular Science magazines.

This is the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc, a race bike built by a tiny Oregonian company focused on pushing the limits of electric performance to the absolute max. It packs 10 times the battery capacity of a Toyota Prius and 2.5 times the torque of a Ducati 1198 into a package that looks like something out of a 24th-century Thunderdome……..continued at Popular Science or at Hell For Leather

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A Hybrid Future?

The UK is slightly behind the USA on episodes of ‘American Chopper’ and last night’s new build was the Schneider Electric Hybrid chopper.  The bike was impressive, as all Orange County Chopper bikes are, and joined a growing number of hybrid motorcycles as either proof of concept vehicles or production demos.

The technical spec on the OOC hybrid gives the rider a number of operation modes ranging from battery only, electric motor driving the rear wheel with the V-Twin powering a generator which in turn powers and recharges the batteries, and standard gas only, albeit a very frugal motor to give a decent range.  It’s an innovative package that a lot of people have over-looked with it being caught up in the show’s family drama. (As a side note Paul Sr is ‘the man’ Jr is an arse!)  Having the battery packs stored in the panniers, leaving regular frame space for an engine was a good idea and the linkages between electric motor, V-Twin, and generators are a marvel.

Along with OCC’s efforts other Hybrids doing the rounds are the Tim Cameron designed CAF-E, which looks awesome.

Apparently similar in design to the Toyota Prius, hopefully not where its brakes are concerned, it’s a parallel V-Twin with an electric super charger for extra power.  Electric power comes from a 180 volt Lithium Ion battery pack and it’s all delivered to the rear via a shaft drive.  One of Tim’s other futuristic designs, the V-REX is now in production so there’s hope for the CAF-E

Details on the V-REX can be found here

The most well-known Hybrid to date is probably Yamaha’s effort, the working model having been showcased at the Tokyo Motorshow in late 2009.

Originally called the Gen-Ryu Yamaha’s HV-X, of all the manufacturers, is the closest to going into production.  Honda have mentioned Hybrids on occasion and have also said they will focus on full electric of late, but Honda has been exhaling a lot of hot air over its bikes this last year.

So is Hybrid the way to go for the future?  ZERO Motorcycles’ electric range are fantastic bikes but fall down on, well, range, but they do have a place in the grand scheme of things as sports and commuting machines.  However when it comes to touring Hybrids offer the opportunity of distance for low running costs.  Easier to apply to motorcycles than cars, given the weight the engine has to shift, it would seem the best option to become technology of tomorrow.

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Zero Motorcycles 2010 Product Line Up

Electric motorcycle pioneers ZERO  Motorcycles are showcasing they’re full 2010 range of bikes on their website.

To date ZERO are the only manufacturer to make an attractive and usable E-bike, that’s not a scooter, and are cutting a nice sport and commuter niche for themselves.  Any of their bikes could become your daily commuter with running costs a hell of a lot less than putting fuel in your tank, especially if you’re in the UK. (Hello Gordon Brown, yes, I’m complaining about your taxes)  Then when you’re done with the working week you can hit the trails for an off road blast.  ZERO’s bikes have got rave reviews from anyone who’s been on one and it’s great to see a really innovative product thriving in the bike market in these difficult financial times.  I’m not swayed at all by the fact the Dual Sport version comes in RTWW’s colours….

There has been a startling range of technical innovations in motorcycling over the past year that have filtered down to the regular biker, rather than being restricted to the race track or other specific sport.  The faltering economy has affected people’s spending power, and therefore the fortunes of manufacturers, but once we’ve weathered this storm, a whole new age of motorcycling awaits.

UK Hydrogen Highway, a road to nowhere?..

UK ministers will reveal plans for a network of refuelling stations along the M4, between London and South Wales.  This will allow all the UK’s hydrogen powered vehicle owners to top up their tanks, as long as this is your regular route of course.  For bikers your road weapon of choice will be Suzuki’s Burgman hydrogen fuel cell scooter…

It sounds good from an eco-perspective, but is it a case of the government backing the wrong horse in terms of vehicle technology just to boost their green credentials?  Personally speaking hydrogen is the wrong choice for such a costly investment of public funds.  The energy required to produce it negates any benefit, mostly clean exhaust emissions, from the vehicle and it is hard to get to market and store.  While there are some gains in range over purely electric vehicles this is closing all the time, and battery efficiency is also improving.  The other advantage is that when you charge a battery it will hold it’s power a lot longer than a hydrogen fuel cell.  Fill your fuel cell on a Monday and don’t use it all by the end of the week, and you’ll find it’s gone anyway, as hydrogen leaks through the walls of its container over time, wonderful.

There is a growing acceptance of electric bikes and most major manufacturers are working on one or two concepts with Yamaha’s Gen-Ryu still looking pretty good.

More importantly the infrastructure to charge them exists and it isn’t costly to add a socket, even a high capacity one, to a garage forecourt, work place car park, or pole on the pavement.  Unfortunately the UK government yet again wastes public money on bad green advice rather than taking a more informed long-term look on environmental issues.

Wonder if there’s a minister on the board of the company doing the H2 installations? hmmmm….

Suzuki Goes Green with Hydrogen..

The Tokyo Motor Show is awash with EV concepts this year most of which we've covered here.  Suzuki however are taking a different tack for their eco friendly scooter by using a hydrogen fuel cell.

Developed by UK scientists and engineers at Intelligent Energy, the cell has a light weight air cooled tank with the gas under very high pressure at 10,000psi.

All looked interesting until a few figures got mentioned,

Suzuki says the scooter is capable of a potential 220 miles range, at 20mph, what!?  That may be fine for couriers around town, though I've yet to see a courier going that slow, but what's the range going to be when the speed goes up?

Another flaw is that hydrogen re-fuelling stations aren't exactly easy to come by, so with the range of your new fuel cell scooter, all you could do is circle the garage!

Oh well, nice concept though..

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Honda’s EVE-Neo Electric Scooter..

Jsut a small update on yesterdays Honda EV news, they have also released an image of another scooter concept from the Tokyo Motor Show.  The EVE-Neo is a standard enough looking scooter model powered by a single electirc motor.  Unfortunately that's all the details they released, apart from saying the EVE-Neo “achieves clean and tough performance that only an electric-powered scooter can provide.”

Hardly a big push into the EV market Honda!

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