Brammo Introduces a New, Fast EV

Gary S. Vasilash

One thing that is certain about electric vehicles (EVs) is that when you’re going zero miles per hour, you pretty quickly get to a much higher speed rather quickly thanks to the nature of an electric motor versus, say, an internal combustion engine.

According to Brammo Inc., its 2014 Empulse motorcycle, which it assembles in a plant in Ashland, Oregon, is “the world’s fastest electric motorcycle in serial production.” It has a top end of 110 mph.

Brammo 1

And it is also, the company claims, “one of the cheapest motorcycles on the planet to refuel.” It is offered with a 3-kW integrated onboard charger that is compatible with Level 2 chargers. It comes standard with a J1772 charge coupler that plugs into a standard household outlet. It uses lithium-ion batteries.

It is powered by a 40-kW permanent magnet motor. It uses an IET 6-speed transmission with a multi-plate, hydraulically activated wet clutch that takes 90 Nm of electric motor torque and leverages it to over 880 Nm at the rear wheel in first gear.

There are a couple of other, perhaps, unexpected characteristics of the Empulse. One is that the headlamp is not LED. While the company acknowledges that LEDs are more energy efficient than halogen or incandescent lamps, and while it does use an LED brake light on the bike, it calculates that an LED headlamp would save about 30 W/hr, which is fairly insignificant in the context of the 9.3-kW/h battery pack.

Brammo 2

The Empulse swing arm is tubular steel, not aluminum. Isn’t lighter better, especially for electric vehicles? Yes. But Brammo points out that whereas the cast aluminum swing arm on the Triumph Street Trip R weighs 13.6 lb., the steel Empulse swing arm weighs 10.5 lb.

Who knew?