The long road—from concept to prototype to finished product—finally ended for the Brammo Empulse electric motorcycle at a swanky club in Los Angeles. With scantily clad models, love music and b-list celebrities milling about, the final production version was unveiled, but more importantly, MSRP and final specifications were also revealed to assembled media and buyers.
The pictures speak for themselves—it’s a stunning design, especially for a market segment that has been dominated by weird-looking, wonky machines. The basic frame and battery pack looks the same as the prototype that toured the country in 2011, but the tailsection and “tank” are abbreviated, and the radiator (the electric motor is liquid-cooled, the first on a production e-moto) is moved down low behind the front wheel. As we stated a few weeks ago in a tech brief, the premium suspension and braking components by Marzocchi, Sachs and Brembo will be retained, as are the 17-inch Marchesini wheels. The look is elegant, minimalist and very European. And the performance—with a promised 100 mph-plus top speed—should be pleasing as well.
The bad news—for me, anyway—is the pricing. It ain’t cheap. The 440-pound Empulse, with a 10 kilowatt-hour battery (good for a 121 mile range at city riding speeds or 56 miles of highway cruising) is priced like a Ducati Panigale at $16,995. An R version, blinged out with carbon-fiber, is $18,995 and will be available this summer—the standard Empulse won’t hit showrooms until 2013.
So it looks like Brammo has priced itself out of the market, doesn’t it? Who’s going to pay 20 big ones for a machine with the power of an EX500 and the range of Lance Armstrong? Not so fast, Mr. Crankypants—Brammo has something like 2000 pre-paid customers ready to buy, and Polaris Industries, which is most definitely not run by idiots, owns an undisclosed chunk of the privately held company. In fact, Brammo is operating a factory in Hungary to satisfy an expected flood of European orders.
Too expensive? Too slow? Range too short? You’re missing the point—this motorcycle has a six-speed gearbox and one of the most powerful electric motors you’ll find on an e-moto, a combination that should really deliver a unique riding experience—at a running cost that’s so cheap it might as well be free. I can’t wait to ride one.
Here is Brammo’s official press release regarding the Empulse and Empulse R:
ASHLAND, Ore. May 8, 2012 – Brammo, Inc., the designer and manufacturer of world leading electric motorcycles, today revealed pricing and production plans for the Empulse and Empulse R while giving motorcycle enthusiasts in Los Angeles a first look at the stunning new design.
At this unique electric vehicle industry event, Brammo has demonstrated to consumers and motorcycle insiders alike the advancements in electric motorcycling and is providing a glimpse of what is to come in the future. The Empulse is the only electric motorcycle to include a 100-mile range and 100-mph top speed as well as a breakthrough battery and powertrain system enabling a great zero-emission experience.
At the launch party, Brammo announced the Empulse and Empulse R will cost $16,995 and $18,995 respectively with financing available from Sheffield Financial. Through this financing, customers will be able to purchase the new Empulse and Empulse R from Brammo dealers as follows:
- Empulse: 8.9% for 72 months at $303, 6.9% financing for 60 month at $334 and 3.9% for 36 months at $499
- Empulse R: 8.9% for 72 months at $339, 6.9% financing for 60 month at $373 and 3.9% for 36 months at $558
Availability of each model will vary based on demand for the Empulse and Empulse R. Production for the Empulse R will take place first with limited availability in June 2012 and in volume by Q3 2012. The Empulse will be available in Q1 2013.
Research conducted by Brammo with both customers and dealers has driven the development of the Empulse and Empulse R. As a result, these motorcycles now come with a water-cooled AC motor and fully integrated IET ™ six speed transmission, seating for two, regenerative braking and on board J1772 Level 2 charging capability. To ensure the highest quality performance and design, Brammo works with internationally renowned manufacturers for superior components of their motorcycles. This close attention to the supply chain ensures the durability, reliability and ultimately future resale value of Brammo products.
“It was important to Brammo to create a great motorcycle and we paid attention to customer feedback to create just that,” said Craig Bramsher CEO and president of Brammo. “From concept to production the Empulse product has evolved quite a bit. We are bringing you a different motorcycle that promises to be more than what our riders expected.”
The two models vary as follows:
- The Empulse body work is all plastic has semi adjustable front suspension and semi adjustable rear suspension.
- The Empulse R uses carbon fiber for headlight shroud, front and rear fenders, top panel and the rear light housing.
Brammo promised that of the first 1000 people who pre ordered an Empulse, one would be selected at random to receive their motorcycle free of charge. Last week from the first 1000 orders six finalists were selected. At the event, Craig Bramscher rolled a dice and chose the lucky winner.
True to Brammo’s devotion to zero tailpipe-emission transportation, the Empulse launch event was carbon-neutral. Brammo has worked with Carbonfund.org to purchase carbon offsets to mitigate the greenhouse emissions generated by transportation, electricity use, and other resource-intensive activities associated with this event.
In additional efforts to reduce travel and carbon intensity of the event, Brammo will stream the launch event live to tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts, who will be able to experience the launch party across the nation and afar in Asia and in Europe .