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Brammo Empulse

By Matt Simpson - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Electric vehicles are all the rage these days. There are federal tax credits to help consumers buy them. Sure the tax credits don’t actually end up being much unless you carefully setup your taxes the year before. And sure, the government gives the same tax credit for the decidedly non-electric Volt as they do the truly electric Nissan Leaf. They are moving in the right direction, just at the traditional two steps forward; one step back method that our government seems to think is full speed.

The Dream

The dream is simple in vision but grand in scope. There are ways for us to generate electricity at lower cost and with less foreign dependency than we can produce gasoline. We can also generate electricity in ways that produce much less pollution than gasoline. So if we were to switch over from gasoline cars to electric cars, we could same money, the environment, and keep our dollars out of the hands of the very people who are funding international terrorism. It all sounds so good, with super high current charging stations replacing gas stations across the country.

In reality, the rare earth materials that power these vehicles are still controlled mainly by the Chinese. So trading our dollars from Al-Qaeda to Red China may not solve our long term security issues. The ability to generate clean power is there, but it’s much cheaper to generate dirty power. Until some paradigm shift occurs, clean power will remain a fringe at best. The cost of generating clean power remains high as the subsidies involved in power generation are still going to corporations who have little interest in losing their vice like hold over the power generation and transmission monopolies.

Then there’s the cost of the electric cars themselves. 40K for a subcompact economy car says it all. With the economic downturn, not all of are in a situation which allows for a 40K version of a 10K car. Add up all of these things and the time of the electric car just doesn’t seem to be here. That doesn’t even take into account real world charging times, lack of infrastructure for charging on the go, or the degradation of the battery over time or in cold climates.

The Reality

But what if we could take all of that Electric Vehicle technology and scale it down into something that weighed a few hundred pounds instead of a few thousand. We’d need a much smaller motor, contributing far less to the Chinese rare earth supremacy. We’d need much smaller batteries, which wouldn’t cost nearly as much and could be charged by conventional means in a decent amount of time. We’d even have a vehicle that wouldn’t need to cost 40 thousand dollars in its base form.

That’s exactly what a company called Brammo has been doing for years. They’ve been making electric motorcycles that ride like gasoline motorcycles, and sip the electrons like a motorcycle sips gas. They have several models available and have built a reputation for some of the highest quality electric vehicles available. Sure they cost a little more up front than a gasoline powered bike, but the reward in running all day long with zero emissions and being able to charge them at your home without during your garage into an industrial power plant more than makes up for it in my mind.

The Empluse

This is the newest model from Brammo. It looks less like an electric motorcycle than the previous models which is to many a big plus. In fact, it has the aggressive street bike look that is somewhat reminiscent of the Ducati Monster. Not a bad image to evoke at all. It’s available in three models, with the size of the battery pack being the differentiating feature. Most will opt for the Empulse 10.0 which with the largest battery pack gives an estimated full 100 miles of range on a charge. 100 miles of range is about the top end of electric cars and the way we ride motorcycles, this is a much more functional number than 100 miles in a car. Outside of cities, people may drive over a 100 miles in a single trip, while typically motorcycles are used to cruise around or take shorter trips in, making the fear of running out of charge less important.

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