Yesterday I seized the chance to throw a leg over the incredibly svelte Brammo Enertia--280 pounds of mean, green technology. Powered by six lithium-ion batteries stacked in a patented frame, the Enertia cuts a futuristic profile but it's not merely a prototype: a racing version will take part in this weekend's all-electric TTXGP race, and as of July 5th, anyone with a motorcycle license in Portland, Oregon can walk into Best Buy and purchase one. Try doing that with a Vespa.
First hand, the Enertia is a dramatically different ride from the gas-powered bike I normally ride. The whisper-quiet machine sprang to life with the push of a button and the click of a key, Prius-style. No need whatsoever to warm it up: just get on and go!
Upon the first blurp of the machine's throttle, the corners of my mouth were pinned to my ears. With no audible indication of engine revolutions or exhaust, taking off on the Enertia is a purely physical experience. The feather-light frame flicks easily from side to side, while the engineered drive train pulls power from any point in the throttle's rotation. Comparable in power and size to a 250cc gas-powered machine, with a top speed of 60 mph and a claimed ride time of 45 miles on a single charge, the Enertia is the perfect bike for the urban cowboy in search of his or her steel horse.
Where the silent running may take some getting used to though is on streets as busy as NYC's, where not-so-careful yellow cab drivers now won't be able to hear you coming up behind them.
You can catch a glimpse of Brammo's two-wheeled foray into the electric transportation market in action this Friday: it's a competitor in the first annual TTXGP, an all-electric motorcycle race taking place on the Isle of Man. Check out our photo gallery here for a closer look, and to get a sense for what that might sound like, here's a clip from race-testing the track-ready Enertia. Turn up the sound:
$11,995 (less a 10 percent Federal tax credit) www.brammo.com
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.