Covering a conference like EVS23 can be a bit draining. There is so much to try and capture and post on that by the end of the event, I'm looking forwards to falling asleep in my cramped airplane seat on the way home. The last day of EVS23, though, brought with it a special treat: a chance to test out the Brammo Enertia all-electric motorcycle (see video above). With shadows still long on the parking lot pavement, Brammo's lead engineer, Aaron Bland, guided me through the bike's capabilities and gave me some riding tips. Ever since I crashed a Vespa back in high school, I have trepidations on any two-wheeled device that's not a bicycle, but this thing felt good. Not to spoil the surprise, but I'll admit right at the start that if I were to ever buy a motorcycle, the Enertia would be a serious contender for my wallet's contents.
Anyway, back to the ride. Aaron drove around the parking lot a few times. Of all the people at Brammo (and, indeed, the planet), he said, he's the guy who has put the most miles on the Enertia bikes, which, as you can guess, means he hates his job. Once I filmed a few scenes of the bike in action, it was my own turn at the handlebars.
Aaron warned me that the bike might jump at the start, because its throttle map is one of the key sticking points that needs to be resolved before the production model is unleashed on the world sometime next year. Even with his warning, and me moving my hand ever so slightly, the bike did hop a bit as I started. It wasn't uncomfortable or scary, just a "hup!", and then I was on my way.
More, much more, after the jump.
I wonder when I will have driven or ridden in an electric vehicle enough times that the (comparative) silence of the ride doesn't immediately make me go, "hey, it's quiet out." It's not like I expect my bicycle to sound like I've got an engine strapped to the frame, so it's not that I always equate an engine sound with moving, I just equate that sound with moving fast. When ICEs become less and less common in the coming decades, this is going to be one of those cultural shifts that it will be fun to watch happen. The sound won't truly leave popular culture any time soon - I mean, just look at the sound of a needle coming off of a vinyl record, and how many people even have a record player any more? - but it's coming. I can tell you right now that it didn't happen to me at EVS23: I was totally amazed by my nearly silent zips around the hotel parking lot.
There's obviously only so much you can do in a parking lot, especially when you're worried about wiping out in a unique and expensive vehicle (there are only four of these bikes currently in existence, and the two that Brammo brought to EVS23 have design and technical differences. Check out these pics - 1, 2 - for examples. One obvious difference is that the chain is on opposite sides). Still, I found the longest stretch of straitaway and pushed it up to 25 mph before running out of room. Not that fast, and only about half of the bike's top speed, but enough to tell that when you need to punch it, the Enertia will not disappoint you. There's no question that the Enertia feels good on the road.
You can see the specs of the Enertia in the chart below.
click chart to enlarge
The bike I rode is just a prototype, with carbon-fiber panels and a bunch of guys standing around when watching. What will you get for your $11,995 when the bike is ready for sale next year? Well, the production panels will be aluminum, for one thing (except on the initial 99 bikes), and Brammo might swap the reliable chain out for a quieter belt. All Enertias will have lithium iron phosphate batteries from Valence, but you might be able to upgrade these in the future when technology changes. The bike will also have a WiFi port to communicate with your account on the Brammo website. From there, you can download upgrades, upload where you rode the bike (it has a GPS chip) and calculate how much CO2 you've saved (compared to a car, for example)
Related GalleryBrammo Enertia
The day before my ride, I interviewed Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher on the EVS expo floor (see video below). He said that the reason for making an all-electric motorcycle is that that's what the technology can handle today. Cars, he said, are still a few years off. "If you can ride a bicycle, you can ride this motorcycle," he told me. I can vouch for that, and it's a sweet, sweet upgrade.