In recent years a flurry of electrified two-wheeled motorcycles and scooters have emerged from companies like Zero, Brammo, Mission Motors, BRD and Evolve. While some are still in the prototype phase (I’m looking at you BRD!), others have shown rapid advancement to meet rider needs, preferences and performance. Though they’re still light years away from their gas-powered counterparts, the release of Brammo’s 100MPH and 100-mile range electric motorcycles later this year will undoubtedly turn some heads.
Originally announced in July 2010, the Oregon-based startup today announced both pricing and availability for the Empulse and Empulse R. During a demo earlier this month in San Francisco, the changes made from the original Enertia were glaringly apparent to me from two feet away. Having ridden the original Enertia, I can say that it wasn’t the most pleasant riding experience. Not that it was uncomfortable by any means but it didn’t feel like any motorcycle I’d ever been on. Geometry on the Empulse is much more akin to something between a Ducati Monster and a supermoto. In other words, I’d have no problem riding the Empulse on the pothole-riddled streets of Manhattan or in the twisties. And if I really needed to carry a passenger I wouldn’t hesitate to throw one on the pillion either, a first for an electric moto. Though I didn’t get a chance to actually ride the Empulse, I’m looking forward to a bit of seat time later on this year.
Other than seating position, range and top speed, you might be wondering what else makes the Empulse special. That’s easy to answer, too. For starters, it has a six-speed gearbox and regenerative braking (similar to engine braking) like a normal motorcycle. Brammo’s Brian Wismann, Director of Product Development, told me that he hasn’t had to change his riding style in any way, especially when it comes to entering or exiting corners at speed thanks to upgraded parts like brakes and suspension. He rides a BMW S1000RR, so I’m inclined to believe him.
More importantly, the 9.3 kilowatt battery driving the bike can be recharged in 3.5 hours from your standard plug. And the startup process is basically the same as any gas-powered motorcycle.
Priced at $16,995 the baseline Empulse is equipped with an assortment of Italian made components similar to those on the Ducati 848 StreetFighter. The Empulse R fetches an additional $2,000 and includes a plethora of carbon fiber farkles like front and rear fenders, headlight shroud, tank and tail. A limited run of the Empulse R will come off the line in June and based on demand could hit full production in Q3. The Empulse, unfortunately, won’t be ready till Q1 of 2013. Check out Brammo.com for more details.