2012 Electric Motorcycles from Brammo and Zero Rider Magazine

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Brammo Enertia Plus

2012 Electric Motorcycles Brammo and Zero


May 30, 2012

(This article was in the August 2012 issue of Magazine.)

“Motorcyclists…will welcome a new of electric motorcycle which is introduced, and which, it is claimed, run from 75 to 100 miles on a single charge, start instantly on the of a switch, and run absolutely without

Thus began a news in Popular Mechanics …from Internal combustion motorcycles on the rule to roadways, of course, electric bikes faded obscurity. In recent years, fueled by concerns about and a finite supply of oil, as as advancements in battery and electric technology, electric motorcycles undergone a renaissance.

Although their range and are limited and recharging them can hours, e-bikes offer emissions (even when the power plant that the electricity), higher efficiency, noise and instant torque.

The of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, those found in laptops and portable electronic devices, has an important step in the evolution of motorcycles. Bill Dubé’s KillaCycle, the world’s fastest bike, zapped an impressive quarter-mile in 2007, powered by of the same battery cells in DeWalt cordless power

The brains behind race like KillaCycle or the Moto-Electra (Rider, July 2012) the development of electric motorcycle but they’re often hindered by budgets. Major manufacturers, the exception of KTM’s Freeride E, an version of its Freeride 350 dirt have mostly limited to electric concept bikes. Two start-ups—Zero and Brammo—are leading the way in of producing street-legal motorcycles for the public.

Brammo Enertia Plus

Zero’s brushless permanent-magnet is air-cooled, and Brammo’s is liquid-cooled.

Motorcycles, based in Santa California, has been manufacturing electric bikes since with its S (street), DS (dual-sport) and XU crosser) models. Last we tested a Zero S (Rider, 2011), a fun, lightweight that fell well of its claimed 56-mile range and out at an indicated 74 mph.

Zero’s lineup has been heavily for 2012, featuring air-cooled permanent-magnet motors, 300,000-plus-mile power packs, belt drive, Sport/Eco riding and regenerative braking that recharge the battery when down. Claimed range is now as as 114 miles, and the S is said to be capable of an top speed. All Zero models are now through dealers, with ranging from $7,695 for the 3 kWh XU to (6 kWh) or $13,995 (9 kWh) for the S and DS.

Zero’s 2012 street-legal include the DS, S and XU.

In 2009, Brammo, in Ashland, Oregon, began its Enertia through Best Buy electronics stores. Now it offers the and Enertia Plus through a few and its website. In May, Brammo a world release party for the and Empulse R, which feature kWh battery packs, liquid-cooled, AC motors, Normal/Sport riding regenerative braking and 6-speed

Brammo incorporated a gearbox it felt that shifting was an part of the motorcycle experience, and it helps the bike achieve its top said to exceed 100 mph. range is up to 121 miles. The Empulse R with higher-spec, fully suspension, should be available fall, with the Empulse to follow in early 2013.

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