Electric Motorcycles: The Motorcycle of Tomorrow? By: Eric Everson, BikerAwareness.com
A significant investment by Best Buy Venture Capital into the Brammo motorcycle company has catapulted electric motorcycles to the forefront of the ailing motorcycling industry. As the Brammo company has brought their Enertia single-seat motorcycle model to market in a unique distribution partnership with Best Buy, the electric motorcycle may be available in a store new you.
Could this be the motorcycle of the future? Admittedly I’ve only seen (and have yet to ride) the Brammo Enertia, but at face value this thing seems much more “moped” than motorcycle. Digging deeper into the specifications you’ll also find that this bike has a top speed rating of around 60 MPH, which would make navigating any heavy traffic urban environment more risk than reward. Despite its shortcomings, I’m actually very excited to see this technology introduced into the motorcycle industry.
I know what my regular BikerAwareness.com readers are thinking, “How can this diehard V-Twin guy get excited about a little electric bike that costs upwards of $13K?” The truth of the matter is that while I think the current model is a bit pricy and perhaps a bit fundamentalist in design, I see great upside for this company to collaborate within the motorcycle industry. I’m looking down range here, but imagine a hybrid Harley-Davidson (or insert your favorite motorcycle brand here) that turns your 200+/- mile trip per tank journey into a 400+/- trip and I think you’ll start to see where I’m coming from.
Additionally as my inner nerd emerges, I love the approach of Brammo as they have developed this bike from the forefront with third-party electronics in mind. As Jeff St. John recently noted, “…given features like a built-in Web server and APIs that Brammo is opening to third-party application developers, "What we're selling is a lot closer to consumer electronics than to transportation," he (Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher) said. He envisions add-ons like on-board cameras that can download images to travel blogs.” Again looking down range, I think that you can begin to envision what this represents for the future of motorcycling.
While I’ve focused on Brammo, the truth is that they are one of many startups including companies like Vectrix, Zero Motorcycles, and premium providers such as Mission Motors that are tapping into this emerging niche market. As the future of motorcycling has always been as open as our heart’s desire, I see a great future in this developing market and I look forward to great things to come. I don’t see the rumble of my Harley-Davidson fading into the pages of history, but I see great opportunity for technology integration.
R2L ~ L2R! Ride Safe!
Eric Everson, "The MobileTech"
Ref: St. John, Jeff. 2009. http://seekingalpha.com/article/123364-best-buy-to-sell-brammo-electric-motorcycles