Munich-based Siemens, a global energy company and service provider with plans to help build the smart grid, had revenue of $116.6 billion in fiscal 2008 ($22.4 in the U.S.) It has 69,000 employees, and operates in 190 countries. Its products are involved in the generation of a quarter of the world's electricity. It's a serious company, so what's it doing with an electric "chopper"?
Showing off its recycled plug-in technology, that's what. On August 12, the company unveiled the all-electric "Siemens Smart Chopper," which it built with the renowned California-based Orange County Choppers. A family business, OC Choppers builds and sells 150 custom bikes a year, and is regularly featured on the TLC American Chopper show. The Siemens bike will be on the show October 22.
"Building an electric bike from recycled materials was something new for us, but we definitely enjoyed the challenge," said Paul Teutel, Sr., who founded the family run OC Choppers and stars on the often wild and wooly show (inter-generational fights are common). Here's a snippet of the show, featuring the infamous "Jon and Kate," to give you a flavor: "Our environmental portfolio worldwide is 25 percent of total revenue," says Steve Conner, CFO of Siemens Energy Sector. "That's $28 billion, and we think that by 2011 we can get that to $36 billion. We're involved in wind, solar, hydro-electric power, clean coal, nuclear energy and energy-efficient gas turbine technology. The electric bike fits right in, and it showcases what we can do in making the all-electric society a reality."
The low and lean 27-horsepower chopper is low and lean, weighs 650 pounds, and with its instant-torque electric motor, can reach 60 mph in less than six seconds. Top speed is 100 mph, and range is 60 miles. The onboard charger can be plugged into any 110 outlet, and takes four to five hours. The aluminum is recycled, and the efficient LED lighting comes from Siemens subsidiary Osram. "You can get up to 90 percent energy savings with LED lights," Conner said.
More company promotion comes from wheels engineered to look like wind and gas turbine blades (the real wind turbine blades surpass a 747's wingspan). The bike's smart charger can communicate with the local utility to draw power when demand is low, and that supports the company business, too. Siemens smart grid installations are moving electricity through high-voltage cables from West Texas wind installations to population centers in Dallas and Houston.
"The chopper represents our portfolio of environmentally friendly technology," Conner says. Daryl Dulaney, CEO of Siemens Building Technologies, adds, "Green is not marketing hype for us; it is in our DNA."