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Brammo calls Empulse 'an electric motorcycle without excuses'

December 09, 2011|By Susan Carpenter
  • The $9,995 6.0 version is capable of traveling 60 miles per charge, the $11,995 8.0 version 80 miles and the $13,995 10.0 version 100 miles.
The $9,995 6.0 version is capable of traveling 60 miles per charge, the $11,995… (Brammo )

Brammo will bring its all-electric Empulse sportbike to market in 2012, but a preproduction version of the 100-mph, 100-mile-per-charge machine is making its debut in Long Beach this weekend.

"Our goal in the long term is to create a bike that is bike of the year, not just electric bike of the year," said Craig Bramscher, founder of Ashland, Ore., motorcycle maker Brammo.

Based on looks alone, it's getting there. The Brammo Empulse is the closest an electric motorcycle has come to delivering decent aesthetics, with its suspended tail, pinstriped rims, carbon fiber fender and aggressive silhouette.

Dressed in black, with a stack of yellow lithium-ion batteries caged inside an exoskeleton designed to prevent damage should the bike go down, the production incarnation of the Empulse will be upgraded with the same Marzocchi fork and Brembo brakes as the Ducati 848.

The single-speed direct drive will be replaced with a six-speed gearbox and clutch because, while the single-speed "has some strong benefits in pure power from 30 to 90 mph, from 0 to 30, it's lacking," Bramscher said.

The AC permanent magnet motor on the preproduction version is also being tweaked and will likely increase its 54-horsepower output. The 9.7-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack will rate between 9.5 and 10 in the production version, Bramscher said.

Since receiving a $28-million investment from Polaris this year, Bramscher said he's been working with the Minnesota manufacturer to figure out how to best leverage Brammo's distribution, financing and globalization positions. When Brammo's bikes come to market next year, they will be sold at some Polaris and Victory dealers, 'but that's not our only distribution channel," Bramscher said, "We'll develop our own dealers as well."

"We're getting to an electric motorcycle without excuses," Bramscher said. "From the beginning, [the company's first bike] the Enertia had its caveats in terms of its top speed and how far it could travel per charge. We're slowly knocking the excuses off." 

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