Electric motorcycles no longer need be thought of as slow and boring. When the Brammo Empulse, successor to last year's Enertia, goes on sale early next year it'll be capable of reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph with an average range of up to 100 miles.
Click the thumbnails to launch the photogallery
That bests the Enertia's 60 mph ceiling over a range of 45 miles. The key to the performance boost is a new liquid-cooled motor a little bit similar to the one used on the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc, but unlike that futuristic, one-off race bike, this one will be available at Best Buy and will be surprisingly affordable. Prices will run from $9,995 to $13,995, but a raft of electric vehicle tax breaks could bring that more expensive figure as low as $7,000 depending on which state you live in and which breaks you qualify for.
The Empulse puts out 55 HP and 59 Lb-Ft of torque while weighing just 390 Lbs. That should give it performance on par with a 650cc Suzuki Internal Combustion Engine motorcycle, which is to say it'll accelerate faster than most sports cars.
Three models will be offered, with battery pack capacities the only thing separating them:
- Brammo Empulse 6.0: 6kwh battery capacity, 60-mile average range, $9,995
- Brammo Empulse 8.0: 8kWh, 80-mile average range, $11,995
- Brammo Empulse 10.0: 10kWh, 100-mile average range, $13,995
Those ranges have been calculated using an equal mix of city and highway riding. Stick to slower surface streets and the 10.0's range will increase to 130+ miles, while long periods of high-speed cruising could see it shrink to 60-70 miles.
The big technology breakthrough here is the price-to-energy density ratio of the battery packs. While Brammo doesn't plan to say much about the proprietary technology before the Empulse goes on sale early next year, expect some sort of Lithium Polymer chemistry. To put that ratio into perspective, Brammo's biggest competitor, Zero Motorycles, offers bikes with a 4kWh capacity for $9,995.
Unfortunately, that new technology isn't going to do much for recharge times. Using a standard 110v outlet, expect the 10.0 to take between six and eight hours for a full charge. Battery charge times aren't linear though, a quick top-up of a half or three-quarters full battery should only take a couple hours.
Like all other electric motorcycles, the Empulse will be virtually silent and there's no tailpipe to spew harmful emissions.
The bike you see in these photos is actually a pre-production unit fitted with a lower-spec motor. The guy riding it is Brammo's designer Brian Wismann who says, "even with 40 HP, the bike has no problem reaching 100 mph."
"It's not the fastest thing on the road," continues Wismann, "but it is really fun to ride and is plenty fast to get yourself into trouble."
The Empulse isn't just going to be a straight-line performer though. Its stiff aluminum frame and top-drawer suspension mean its designed to go around corners too. Brammo actually plans to unveil the Empulse to the public by racing it against the MotoCzysz at California's Laguna Seca Raceway later this month. It might not win, but it will be the only race bike there you'll see in a Best Buy showroom in six to seven months time.
What guy riding it?
The guy riding it in the photo gallery pictures. :facepalm:
Ahh there it is!
Wonder what the tax break would be in Colorado? Anyone know?
Now if they can just make a Brammo designed electric bike to mimic a Harley Davidson Softail Custom Cruiser I would buy it tomorrow!!! Heck it would be faster than the Harley!
As a rider, this bike seems extremely dangerous. For one, motorcyclists already have a hard time dodging the other vehicles on the road because "I didn't see him". Now with this thing's sound emission or lack thereof, I'd imagine it would be getting run down at an even higher rate than gas-powered bikes because "I didn't hear him".
gizmowiz: why don't you Google it yourself, how would any of us know?
dmcPegaso, you are 100% right. That was the first thing I thought about. I would still love one of these bikes. I plan on buying a new bike in about 2-3 years, hopefully by then they will have even better models. You would think they would make a good bit of noise though. Not as much as a gas powered bike, but electrical motors still make noise. Look at drills or any other electric appliance you have. My blender sure isnt quit. This thing has a lot power and is turning really fast. BUT to play devils advocate. I have read about people arguing straigt headers are safer because they are louder. Their has been no data to back this type of info up. I live in Japan. TONS and TONS of people drive 50cc scooters around. They hardly make a sound, but these people do just find with traffic. I have to tell you, I get in a close call almost EVERY time I get on my bike. Someone thinks they can beat the light, etc. They see me just fine. They don't care. One guy pulled out just feet in front of me. He plain wasn't paying any attention, if I was in a 18 wheeler it wouldn't have made the difference. I pulled next to the guys window one hand laying on the HORN the other hand waving in the air, the guy STILL had no clue I was 3 feet from his face blowing my horn. I don't think a loud or quiet bike will make any difference in the end. As a biker you always have to act as if you are invisible and no one can see you, and everyone is a bad driver, which is true 99% of the time in Japan.
Considering these things are single speed, the concentration you used to apply to the operating of your manual transmission, can be redirected to staying aware of your surroundnings.
This would be a great place to use the new Graphene enhanced Li-ion batteries! With quick charge batteries and an extra set of them ready for swapping on board, this could be a viable alternative in transportation. I have a lot of electric machines I use including a rototiller and a lawnmower. I would love to have an electric car or bike (though I love my Honda 750 Nighthawk), but the long charge times as well as the short range makes them impractical for anyone but the greenest amongst us. Another good alternative might be a hybrid motorcycle that one could fill with gas or alcohol or some other fuel so a road trip or commuting would be highly feasible. This new bike shows a lot of promise.
When I was five years old my father taught me a trick to solve the "I can't hear you" part of riding a bike and made it more fun to ride!
Baseball card in the spokes people, it works! :)
I would imagine the weight of the rider affects range as well. I wonder how they calculated these distances. Also, are these safe to operate in wet conditions?
drmack2000 I agree 100%. From what I am looking at, you would be able to double the range and probably still drop 30-100 lbs in batteries. Hehe... not to mention I could SO see myself trying to wedge an 80kw motor/inverter in there....
And the best part would be a 10 minute recharge.
"Empulse to the public by racing it against the MotoCzysz at California’s Laguna Seca Raceway later this month."
We expect a full report on that one Posci. Even if the MZ bike will win that's not the point, it is 2
competetive leaders in electric bike technology doing their thing, we want to see it! :)
"Considering these things are single speed, the concentration you used to apply to the operating of your manual transmission, can be redirected to staying aware of your surroundnings."
Good point, also do they not make a high pitched sound, if if not louder than ice, the pitch might be more easily to pickup by human ears?
I can hear my helicopter just fine.
dromack and thomas
Yes battery tech is really evolving, range has increased significantly in such a short time.
100 miles is not bad at all, AND it is even getting better...!!! The graphene tech really makes for an exciting first improvement in overall battey tech. However EXPECT even MORE improvements in future, the possibilities is astounding. We might one day call our power sources not batteries anymore because tech could change it completely.
The field is accelerating tremendously!
I own a big 30 volt electric rc helicopter, Let me tell you the power, responsiveness and
reliability of an electric machine wether in air and i can bet from all the research i have done, and experience with my heli, on road is unmatched and addictive.
I do not own an e-bike, but will either own an electric vehicle or electric bike in near future, the technology is here NOW !!!
"Baseball card in the spokes people, it works!"
LOL.....! Sounds like a tractor, you're right when you say it was fun, as a kid i used to do that alot. Pegging the cards with wash line pegs. Hahaha!
dmcPegaso - Well, let's just scrap the whole idea and not move forward. We need to change the way we think and accept new technology or be stuck in the polluting past. I ride a Harley and really like it. I do like revving the engine and hearing the power coming from it. But, if this motorcycle will allow me to better hear what's around me when riding isolated roads and not disturbing others, I'm all for it and hope to get one when they come out.
well I answered my own question since no one else did:
What a deal!
I demand more electric car and bike articles. I'm getting
so lost in all of it's goodness i can't get out......!!!
It's GOOD, O yeah REALL GOODE !! :)
C'mon Popsci.... HIT ME with 'Em !!!!!
Loud pipes don't save lives, they just piss off the non-riding and in my case, riding public. Pipes face rearward and unless the car ahead of you is driving slow with the windows down, the noise you're creating isn't going to affect their bad decision making because they won't hear it until you're beside them. The Southpark episode on Harleys was dead on and some of you guys don't know it, but that episode was about you.
Try a modulating headlight if you want to all but eliminate the biggest threat to a biker which is when a cager (truck and auto driver) pulls out or turns in front of you.
This is a sleek looking machine
So, with 100 mile range (130 if I don't dog it) and another battery pack, I could put one at home, and one at work, and transfer them daily and never worry if I get the wondering spirit and want to take a drive...this begs the question if the battery pack is "easy" to remove and/or replace or if it is put in/on the bike in such a way to make it hard to have a secondary standing by.
We are so very close to breaking our power-density bondage. I'd say in the next ten to fifteen years our batteries will improve to the point to allow us to actually have the type of electric vehicles that give us the endurance which makes us have zero trade off from our internal combustion engines. Sadly we live in a transitional time, not the time in which it is realized. We can dream of taking out quiet electric bikes out on the open road for a nice "long" roadtrip, but then only get near where the true "country" driving begins and have to turn around for fear of the battery giving out.
This power-density thing really is something that holds back so very much advancement...I wish someone would invest in a tech that would not just give us the "next gen" battery but somehow jump a gen or two and give us the battery that was suppose to exist in like 2080 or so. I want an electric bike that can do 300(dare I put "PLUS") miles and recharge in hours...with a battery pack that isn't all the terrible to replace and/or exchange (for a 600 mile drive).
I daily ride 100+ miles on a "quiet" motorcycle that will toast an HD, you will see me coming and see me going but all your loud pipe "power" will not help you. Ride to live, feel the power.
Would love to have one of these though if I could just make it go the full round trip at 80 plus.