Enertia Electric Motorcycle by Brammo Motorsports

Enertia electric motorcycle by Brammo Motorsports

Enertia electric motorcycle by Brammo MotorsportsElectric motorcycles have been the province of backyard builders for many years and they've been getting a lot closer to everyday practicality with each attempt. Brammo Motorsports, the Oregon company responsible for the Ariel Atom here in the U.S., has introduced the Enertia electric motorcycle and it may very well be the first electric motorcycle that finds more than a very tiny group of buyers.

First, the specifics. Top speed of 50 mph, range of 45 miles, full recharge time from a 110 volt outlet is 3 hours. Direct chain drive with no clutch, just twist and go. It weighs just 275 pounds. Now, here's what you'll want to know, the price. They will start with a limited edition carbon model for $14,995 which you can order online right now for delivery the first quarter of next year. You can also reserve a standard model at $11,995 expected the third quarter of '08. Both bikes can be shipped to your door for about $300.

There are 6 Valence Lithium Phosphate batteries with a nominal voltage of 76.8 volts and a capacity of 3.1kWh. The chassis is carbon fiber. Pirelli tires, Brembo brakes, it seems to be a pretty nice package and it looks good, too.

The Enertia will not replace your standard motorcycle for weekend riding with your buddies where the 50 mph top speed and limited range would leave you all alone by the side of the road, but, as an around town commuter, riding back and forth to work or running out for a few errands, the Enertia will work fine. This is no freeway flyer but a lot of us spend a fair amount of time in town at low speeds and with an average commute of 29 miles you can do it all and never see a gas pump, ... ever.

The Enertia itself is a zero emissions vehicle, any emissions come from the power source generating the electricity. It isn't going to be your only means of transportation unless you live in the sunny south and have limited transportation needs, but it can replace a lot of short range commuting in other vehicles.

The Enertia also has appeal to those who want to be green and want others to know they're being green, which has been shown to be one of the reasons many people buy a Prius instead of other hybrids, the others are invisible while a Prius is visually distinct, the same would apply here. Anyone looking at this knows right away, this isn't your average gas burning motorcycle even if they don't see it going silently down the road.

The price, while not cheap, is certainly low enough that other companies attempting to produce an electric bike will have to rethink their marketing plans. The other plus is Brammo Motorsports, a company with a pretty solid reputation so far and a lot of positive press from the Ariel Atom. Having a reputable crew behind the Enertia can only help get this off the ground.

While batteries are still the limiting factor, I have been amazed at the rapid advances coming in that field. Every time some battery expert expounds on some inherent limitation of a particular design, another battery comes out that lasts longer and costs less. Right now, the demand for good batteries is huge and there are an awful lot of very smart minds working long hours to develop new ones. As electric motorcycles like the Enertia hit the streets you can be sure their performance will constantly improve.

By itself, this is no world changing motorcycle, but I expect they will sell as many as they make. That will be a signal to a lot of other companies around the world that the time may be right to begin producing electric motorcycles in larger numbers which will lead to rapidly advancing technology. We're getting very close to a tipping point in technology where momentum will start to pick up rapidly in this direction. Keep your eye on this one.

Enertia electric motorcycle by Brammo Motorsports

Enertia electric motorcycle by Brammo Motorsports

Enertia electric motorcycle by Brammo Motorsports

Enertia electric motorcycle by Brammo Motorsports

Enertia electric motorcycle by Brammo Motorsports

Link: Enertiabike via gizmag

Link: Brammo Motorsports

Lightning Lithium


  1. Richard says

    I think it looks great, but I wonder why the rear brake disk is larger than the front. Even at such slow speeds, the weight should get trasferred to the front when you stop, so you’d think it should be the other way ’round.

  2. Sean says

    Looks like an older bike, back when steam was a viable alternative. And I like it.

  3. Bryce says

    The brake thing is something I am also curious about.

    I love the look. It would probably be a bit nicer with different panels on the side, or none at all. I also think the seat support would be more attractive as an arch rather than an angle. Still, it’s pretty easy on the eyes.

    I like the fact that it can be recharged in 3 hours. That’s pretty cool. However, my 150cc scooter is faster, lighter, and was about $10,000 cheaper when I bought it 4 years ago. The zero emissions thing is nice, but if your power comes from coal, you might not actually reduce your net emissions.

    I’d also prefer to see belt drive on this bike. It’s cleaner, quieter, and lower maintenance. Regenerative braking would also be a nice feature, and ought to improve range.

    All in all, it’s a good start, and far more reasonable in price than that Triumph based bike.

  4. Sasha says

    About the brakes-I’d think that a bike this light, while being excellent for stoppies, would also have a tendency to endo pretty easily, and that scares some people. A superlight bike like this, you may well need to use the rear brake sometimes.

    Personally, I’m disappointed by any kind of transmission at this price level. I guess it does certainly increase the ease of use and simplicity of maintanence…but still, you have fast and effortless acceleration right up to your top speed of…50MPH.

    I’m still waiting for the *AirBike*. A compressed air motorcycle would kick ass, and it would probably be considerably cheaper than this thing (both in $ and environmentally). Plus could fill up in three minutes not three hours. Let me know when one of those is produced, I will be the first in line at the dealership :)

  5. todd says

    I like this thing, it looks really cool. Too bad my commute is 32 miles each way and this thing would only be legal or fast enough on less than 10% of it. If they added another 20mph and cut the price in half (come on, parts are very inexpensive when sourced out of China) I would consider it in a heart beat.


  6. Michael says

    The pricing is completely out of line.

    Why consider this when I can get a whole shipping container of 20 electric 2500w Vespa-styled scooters shipped from China that’ll do 50mph with up to 35-40 mile range for about the same money as just one limited edition “carbon” Enertia? Or buy ten of them at retail from the local scooter store? (And my Chinese contact says that 3000w scooters will be available very soon.)

    If there was something about the styling or performance that would make this significantly more desirable, I might be able to see paying a price difference, but ten (or twenty) times as much is ridiculous. Full charge in 3 hours instead of six, and a little extra range aren’t worth that much more.

    Sorry Brammo, you aren’t an established premium brand that deserves this kind of price premium. Not even close.

  7. chappy says

    Like the look, definatly one of the best looking electric bikes out there

    Too expensive, you can build the same performance for much less, may not look as polished but $15k is not gonna fly in this market with the exception of a few people with money to blow.

    Also believe it should be belt drive if simplicity and ease of use are as important as they claim (otherwise give us a gearbox so maybe I can get on an interstate or at least a highway)

  8. anon says

    I’m not impressed. It’s FAR too expensive. It can’t keep up with traffic (even for ‘urban’ commuting, most people get well over 50mph) With zero storage and not even a rear rack, it is useless for most errands. It has a narrow ‘ball buster’ seat (compared to any scooter). As for calling it “Zero Emissions”, any truth in advertising would at least phrase this “Remote Emissions” (this complaint applies broadly to electrics, of course).

    Given the [assumed] target audience, trying to make it look like a motorcycle is probably unnecessary at best. Not many ‘motorcyclists’ will take this thing seriously. I’d wager they’d have done much better to build an electric scooter. The typical scooter layout has evolved for useful urban commuting/errands for over 50 years. They ignore that to their peril. It would be far better to go with the classic scooter shape, give it front splash guards and ample under-seat (a wide comfy seat) storage, integrate the batteries into the floor boards, and put the motor on the swingarm (if not integrated into the rear hub).

    Just so I don’t come across as a complete @$$hole, I want the folks at Brammo to know that I love that they’ve brought Ariel to the US, and I desperately want an Atom (although I’m not of sufficient station in life to afford one at the moment). I just hope that efforts like this bike don’t put them out of business before I can afford an Atom, and a house with a garage to put it in…

  9. GenWaylaid says

    I think this bike is a lot more practical than folks here are giving it credit for. Fifty miles an hour is fast enough, in my experience, to handle any road that isn’t a major highway.

    Fifty miles of range means it can handle a twenty-five mile commute just fine. If you can convince your boss to let you charge at work then fifty miles each way is fine. Charging at work is usually not a hard sell. Most companies would consider the potential for positive PR worth the 40 cents a day of electricity you’d be using. Plus, your bike would be charged before lunchtime.

    The layout of the Enertia has some welcome advantages over a scooter layout. It’s narrow, it keeps the c.g. low, and it has full-size tires. I would guess that this bike would feel a lot like a supermoto, especially at the full-power setting.

    Unlike mass-produced Chinese electric scooters, the speed and range claims for the Enertia have some credibility. See the MSN test-ride: http://autos.msn.com/advice/article.aspx?contentid=4024869

    The price is actually reasonable when you stop to consider that this is a low production bike with a hand-made carbon fiber frame. The batteries alone are worth at least $1500, the motor at least $900. If the Enertia was made in significant numbers with less exotic materials, the price would come down considerably.

    As far as the carbon footprint is concerned, large electric plants can make energy much more efficiently than a gas engine can. People have debated this endlessly back and forth over electric cars. Pure coal is the worst case for electric generation, anyway. Coal only accounts for half of the United States’ electricity and the overall mix is cleaner. Plus, if you’re really concerned about carbon footprint just put a couple square meters of solar cells on your roof to offset the increased electricity usage.

    By the way, I think the front and rear brakes are actually the same size. That way they only have to buy one type. These are things to consider when building short production runs.

  10. anon says

    “large electric plants can make energy much more efficiently than a gas engine can”

    A true enough statement, often used by electric vehicle proponents to give a rather less true impression: While gasoline engine efficiency is only about 20% to 35%, and power plant efficiency is about 36% to 45% (the average for the US is at the lower end of the range because most plants are quite old), the truth isn’t that simple. The losses inherent in the transmission of that electricity, and in the battery charging process, and in the electric motor itself are somehow never mentioned. The higher ‘efficiency’ of electric vehicles is a myth.

  11. says

    I agree with GenWaylaid. This is a great looking bike. The fact that it isn’t a scooter is imperative. They can make a scooter as another model down the road.

    When was the last time you saw a motorcycle look this symmetrical? Although asymmetry helps visually in a lot of things, numerous motorcycles typically have a “bad side” aesthetically. Not here.

    It also looks like they have ample room for storage in many parts of this bike – underseat, in the upside-down triangle area above the batteries, and saddlebags are only an accessory away. Added production numbers will lower the price.

    The Kneeslider also raises a good point – battery tech has some brilliant minds working like a “dog-on-a-bone”. The Tesla Supercar ? Wait until there is a 2-wheeled equivalent.

    As much as I love the i-c engine, the writing is getting clearer on the wall – which begs some questions….what will the next hundred years look like for motorcycle brands, particularly HD ?

  12. Richard Taylor says

    Fascinating machine!If Enertia’s engineering team can get up with an engineer by the name of Alan(Allen?) Smith who designed the E-go electric motor bike and manufactured it in Fairhope Al.a good team would be even better.
    Hope I helped,

  13. another Michael says

    Re: energy efficiency. I surfed here from their website, they have numbers claiming to take transmission costs into account.

  14. Timbervolt says

    I am all for going green. I want to go green.. but this bike won’t do it.

    Remember why motorcyclists opt for this mode of transport? It’s not because it’s cheaper. Factor in the more expensive servicing and parts, protective gear and insurance, it becomes more expensive. Plus the extra time before and after a ride to change your clothes does not make it easy transport. Most motorcyclists ride motorcycles because it is fun. This fun outweighs all the above negatives associated with riding.

    I would love to convert to an electric motorcycle…if it can perform better than a car. There are a lot of drivers that make riding the roads dangerous. You thus need performance for both safety and fun. You also need a decent range for those who live a little further than 35km and can’t recharge at work.

    If Tesla Motors can make a car move faster and go further, why can’t motorcycles be made the same?

    As for zero emissions, it is possible if we embrace solar (15% efficient), wind (30% efficient) and hydro (40% efficient, maybe more if the Hoover Dam is tapping into the All-Spark) more. With more use, comes further R&D and increase in efficiency and reduction on dependence on fossil fuels and perhaps less wars.

    I look forward to new developments.

  15. Suman says

    I like it. As far as the rear brake is concerned, if you look closely, that “disk” is actually the sprocket on the left side. The rear brake rotor and caliper on the right side are both small enough to fit within the sprocket’s diameter.

    Last year I switched from a 700 cc bike to a 1.5 kW scooter for commuting, and the only thing I miss are speeds above 30 mph. The scooter is more flickable, more practical with locking hard storage, quieter, cleaner, and cheaper to run, register, and insure. I still have the gas bike for long trips, but I’ve found having an electric bike for commuting works out just fine.

    I’m going to hold off until mid-’08 or so before deciding whether to get one of these or a VentureOne.

  16. Dan Conine says

    As someone who has converted a dirt bike, owns an electrak garden tractor (used daily on a farm), and builds electric farm machinery, I can only quote Kurt Russel “You see that price? That’s TOO F–in’ HIGH!!!” KABOOM!!! (“Used Cars”)

    Too many engineers involved, too many accountants being paid to overevaluate the designs and the build. Electric stuff mostly takes a little common sense, a little math, and a few prototypes to work out the bugs, and you’re in business. You don’t have to build a River Rouge plant to make these things. Same goes for you guys in the wheel motor businesses. Form a group, set some mechanical standards for mounting and wheel diameters, and let’s build some future together instead of trying to re-invent every damn thing that has already been done by Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Skip the cupholders, patents and airbags, people need to get places for cheap, and they will be willing to pay for it. Shoot the lawyers, gag the engineers, and stop lollygaggin’ around the golf course trying to sell carbon fiber to coal miners.

  17. todd says

    Timbervolt said, “Remember why motorcyclists opt for this mode of transport? It’s not because it’s cheaper. ”

    I disagree. It is far cheaper for me to ride my motorcycle every day than a car. Gas, insurance, maintenance/repair, greater reliability, tires, parking, cost of car vs. cost of bike, and shorter commute times. The bike is also about half the cost of public transportation.

    But you’re right, it is fun.


  18. g says

    Surely, the Vectrix outperforms this vehicle in everyway: Its got longer range, it goes faster, and it charges quicker, and its cheaper (slightly)!

    However, its still not going to be a huge seller, because its still way too expensive for what you get!

    min spec for practicality: an electirc motorbike, with 100+ mile range, top speed of 70MPH and recharge(or battery ex-change) points in nearly every petrol station; all that for under $8K.

  19. Ramon says

    when will the off-road version be made ,with nobby tires ,green-camo tiger-stripe paint sceem,for the Hunter, almost forgot rifle scabered.

  20. pabsy says

    this is dead on arrival
    don’t mean to be a naysayer because electric motors are the future however this is not an enuthusiast machine but its an enthusiasts price

    no pillion limits it as a practical commuter and there are many other cheaper more practical more stylish product out there

  21. Michael says

    I like the bike! Very nice. 10 more MPH would be so much nicer. Once day we will have a bike this size which can travel at 75mph constantly for 40 miles!

    I really wish the price was around $5500 – $7500 for this one and I would buy it. Currently it is way over priced and you would NEVER get your money out of it. Why? You cannot drive it far enough in a given day to eliminate your daily driver. Even if you get 15mpg in your car or truck and drive 30 miles per day, at $1.60 it equates to saving $3.20 per day in gas. If you keep the bike for 3 years and sell it for $4000 then the cost of ownership would be roughly $153.75 per month when you consider the total cost less the fuel savings. Not too bad but I like my price range much better.