Brammo's electric motorcycle has a carbon-fiber frame.
The future belongs to electric vehicles (EVs), and that includes motorcycles. Italy-based Piaggio, whose brands include popular scooter icon Vespa, is bringing out the Piaggio-badged MP3 Hybrid early next year, and Oregon-based Brammo will have its cool-looking electric Enertia on the road in a couple of months. You can even buy it at Best Buy.
These may not be Easy Rider-style Harley "hogs," but they're capable of getting wind in your face.
Brammo is gearing up, and just added the former brand marketing manager for the Chevy Silverado to its team. (There's a pattern here, because the former brand manager for the Lincoln Town Car now pushes Piaggio's MP3. The Big Three are shedding personnel, and two-wheelers are the richer for it.)
Piaggio's MP3 Plug-in hybrid.
Paolo Timoni, Piaggio Group Americas CEO, says the MP3 will be a plug-in hybrid, with a 125-cc engine and lithium batteries. The $9,000 trike, with two wheels in front (like conventional MP3s) for greater stability, should produce 140 mpg, according to Timoni. Performance should equal a bigger 250-cc bike, but details aren't available yet.
The cool-looking 280-pound Enertia, with a lightweight carbon-fiber frame that doubles as the battery carrier, was supposed to be out in the third quarter of 2008, but Brammo swears it really is imminent now. With lithium-iron phosphate batteries and an 18-horsepower electric motor, the single-speed bike claims almost 300 mpg, though there's no exact equivalent in a battery-powered ride.
Brammo's bike isn't hugely fast. It tops off at 50 mph, so no highway riding, but it accelerates quickly -- zero to 40 takes just over five seconds. It's priced around $12,000. Here's what it's like on the road:
Both bikes are said to recharge in three hours, the Brammo on regular 110 current. And both shift automatically, which should make the learning curve fairly quick. I recently tried out a stock MP3 and had trouble getting it around turns, but that's my fault, not the bike's.
CEO Craig Bramscher says that customers will be able to take the Enertia to Best Buy's Geek Squad for repairs. He said, "What we're selling is a lot closer to consumer electronics than to transportation."
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