The Motorcycle For Sale at Best Buy

Last Updated May 5, 2009 4:48 PM EDT

Creating a dealer network is a big hurdle for any vehicle startup, so Craig Bramscher, CEO of electric motorcycle maker Brammo, made a smart move: He hooked up with Best Buy.

Later this spring, the first (of three) Brammo EV bikes will go on sale online, but you have other options. "We can confirm that Best Buy will be piloting electric-powered personal transportation products at some of its stores on the west coast later this spring," the terse statement says. "This selection will include Brammo."

The Brammo Enertia is a carbon fiber-based urban commuter bike with a 50-mph top speed and a 40-mile range. It is cool looking, because Bramscher--whose Dream Media company, which created databases for giants like Sony, Warner Brothers and Fox, was acquired in 1997--is a car guy. Before making it big in new media, he was a parts schlepper at Midnight Auto Parts in Kansas City, taking advantage of the employee discount to fix up and sell old cars.

Brammo set out to build a supercar for six-footers, but instead it detoured into importing the Ariel Atom, a British-made race car. "We sold $8 million of them over a couple of years," Bramscher said. "And then we thought about building an electric car, but two things deterred us: the capital intensity, and the time it would take to get a car matched to a set of batteries and on the market. So we decided a motorcycle was the perfect solution to where batteries are today."

Here's what the Enertia looks like on the road:

Brammo's goal is nothing less than being the first profitable pure EV company, and it thinks motorcycles will make that happen. The Enertia is priced at $12,000, and an upscale version (with more carbon fiber) is sold out. A 10 percent federal tax credit will get the price down to $10,000.

"This is a super-efficient motorcycle," Bramscher says. "It can travel 7,500 miles on $50 worth of energy. Existing motorcycles can do, at best, 80 mpg. We are orders of magnitude more efficient--and 10 times as efficient as a Prius, too."
  • jim motavalli

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