(Ann Arbor, MI, Oct. 13, 2009) A pair of riders set off from Ann Arbor, MI this week on a ride to the nation's capital to promote electric transportation as well as a battery powered motorcycle. Brian Wismann, product development director for Brammo Inc. and Dave Schiff, creative director and VP of Crispin Porter Bugosky are riding a pair of Enertia power-cycles over a route approximating the one followed by auto industry CEO's in December 2008.
Instead of corporate jets or hybrid cars, Wismann and Schiff are on lithium ion battery powered two-wheelers. Development of the Enertia began in 2007 with sales starting this fall.
The 324 pound Enertia uses six lithium ion battery modules sourced from Valence Technologies to provide a total capacity of 3.1 kWh. The modules are mounted above and below the main frame rail in the center of the bike. Propulsion comes from a 13 kW electric motor that sits at the base of the frame just behind the foot pegs. The 29.5 lb-ft of torque from zero speed mean the bike needs no gearbox or clutch. There is a simple direct chain drive to the rear wheel.
The bike accelerates briskly up to its top speed of 60 mph. Brammo is also working on a sport version of the bike with a 95 mph top speed. A prototype of that version was raced in the TTXGP race for electric bikes on the Isle of Man earlier this year.
Stopping power is provided by Brembo hydraulic brakes. The drivetrain is capable of doing regenerative braking but Wissman explained that they preferred to let the rider have control of the braking power and the front to rear distribution. Since the Enertia is rear wheel drive, it's not practical to use too much regen because it would cause instability.
The Enertia has a range of about 42 miles after which it needs a recharge. Replenishing the batteries takes about 4 hours from a standard 110 V outlet.
Brammo is using a number of paths to sell the Enertia and their future products. In addition to direct sales, the company has formed a partnership with electronics retailer Best Buy. The big-box store is hoping to expand into sales of electric vehicles starting with the Enertia. Two Oregon stores are currently selling the bikes and plans are afoot to expand availability to other outlets.
Like other electric vehicles, aside from the limited range, the biggest issue for this bike is the cost. The price of the Enertia is currently set at $11,995 which is definitely high for a machine with this performance level. However, the company hopes to drive the cost down over time as volumes rise and the cost of batteries and other components drops.
For this trip, Wismann and Schiff are covering over 520 miles which means plenty of stops including their opening day visit to the Green Fuels Forecast offices. Along the way they will be making plenty of stops to rest and recharge their bikes, counting on the people they visit for a cup of electrons. The entire journey is being chronicled on a special web-site called shockingbarack.com.