After Brammo investor Polaris acquired the struggling company, they were pretty quick to split the business into two units: a powertrain developer and the Empulse manufacturing unit, which moved to Polaris manufacturing HQ in Iowa.
Shortly afterwards rumors began to trickle out about an electric product from Polaris under the Victory brand. Brammo under the Victory banner raced the TT Zero at Isle of Man and did quite well for a first TT Zero appearance, turning in a 111 mph average lap. And now we see the final piece: Victory has just launched the Empulse TT as the first 100+ mile production electric from an established manufacturer.
Harley-Davidson dropped a small bomb on the world Wednesday: they have an electric bike in the works. Not a dirt or minibike like KTM or Yamaha, not a scooter like BMW or Honda. A no-bullshit full size motorcycle, like Brammo and Zero have been building for a few years. Welcome to the party.
When production EVs were first introduced in 2008-2012, the primary concern was limited range. Low-power AC charging was fine for local travel, but typically inadequate for trips exceeding one or two hundred miles in length.
Rapidly-expanding DC quick-charging networks are beginning to mitigate range concerns along selected travel corridors. CHAdeMO, J1772 DC, and Tesla’s Supercharger offer charge rates between 50-135 kW, typically providing an 80% charge within 30 minutes.
However, what happens to the grid when hundreds or thousands of DC quick chargers come online, and EV fleets increase by one or two orders of magnitude?
S&C Electric Co in the UK has just announced the country’s largest battery grid storage project for storing renewable energy in the grid. The UK has huge amounts of offshore and onshore wind energy; grid energy storage accommodates mismatches between grid power supply and demand.
The grid battery can store 10 MWh of energy, with provisions to expand up to 18 MWh. Storage batteries are typically discharged at relatively slow rates; the battery can supply up to 6 MW to the grid. The project is claimed to cost 18.7 million pounds, or $28M ($4.7/W).
Now let’s compare the decentralized approach – EV grid storage.
Laguna Seca has effectively been the premier electric motorcycle grand prix since TTXGP started the North America races in 2010. The entrant list for 2013 is both larger and smaller than it has been in past years.
That’s the implication from Wired’s recent XL1 drive report.
Because once you’re there [60 mph], it takes a scant 8.3 horsepower to maintain that speed — one-third that of a Jetta — and you can cruise along there all day while getting the equivalent of 261 mpg.
Let’s put on our math hat and work out the numbers.
Apologies to Brammo. I’ve previously argued that the closest analog to Tesla’s superior technology in the two-wheeled realm is Mission.. with the obvious exception that Mission is not a pioneer in getting bikes into people’s hands.
Mission may change the last bit about getting bikes into people’s hands soon. At least, the new company Mission Motorcycles, who licenses technology from Mission Motors, of 2011 TTXGP Laguna Seca fame.