Some conventional motorcycles already achieve impressive fuel economy figures (up to 129 mpg is claimed for the Verucci Nitro 50 cc Scooter, for example) so a big switch to electric motorbikes is not going to bring such significant Co2 cuts as will be returned as cars go electric.
However a boom in electric bikes will have a big impact on public opinion, and serve as a very insistent example, as the motorcycle is very much a creature of the urban environment, where an awful lot of people get to see it. Could that (quiet) boom be about to hit our streets?
I’ve been following US electric motorcycle developer Brammo, whose tweets are building to a public relations crescendo. Scarcely a day passes without some fresh endorsement from the trade press, and enthusiastic messages from people have placed an order for the company’s latest model, the Brammo Empulse Electric Motorcycle (100mph/and 100mile range) due to go on sale in summer 2011.
The latest news, all coming to me via Twitter, is that the company has now teamed up with (” made a strategic partnership with”) Singapore manufacturer Flextronics, and hopes to mass-produce the machines and sell them widely.
“Brammo partners with Flextronics to begin march toward global domination” boomed one recent tweet from @BrammoSays. There is more substance to this than the superficial bravado might suggest. In effect, the company has to make such a claim, or an already well-established companies such as Honda is likely to do it (dominate the world’s electric bike manufacture ) anyway. So why not Brammo, who have already made a good start with their existing electric model?
Flextronics, one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world, produces the Zune and XBox360 for Microsoft; digital cameras for Kodak; Hewlett-Packard printers; Motorola phones; RIM phones; Sony-Ericsson phones; components for Apple computers and now, Brammo’s electric motorcycles. It will give Brammo access to a manufacturing and supply chain spanning 30 countries and four continents. Currently quoted prices starts at $9,995 for the 6.0, $11,995 for the 8.0, and $13,995 for the 10.0. The model numbers represent range: the 6.0 has an average range of 60 miles, the 8.0 has a range of 80 miles; the 10.0 will do 100 miles on a full battery.
How soon will they be on sale in the UK? We shall try to find out.